All truth about alcohol and antibiotics mix

antibiotics250812Till today, people discussing alcohol and drugs interaction and can’t come to the right decision. But one thing should be remembered for sure - drinking alcohol while taking medication often leads to life-threatening consequences. The reaction of this combination is different: in some cases, the medicine increases their effect, in others – this effect is weakened, and sometimes - completely distorted. The reaction of the organism to drugs taken in combination with alcohol is often simply impossible to predict.

In order to start research on antibiotics and alcohol interaction, let’s, specify the main drugs groups. As we know, the most popular drugs among people are still being antibiotics, which kill or slow bacteria growth. They include anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic drugs.

Classes of antibiotics include:


  • Amikacin
  • Gentamicin
  • Kanamycin
  • Neomycin
  • Netilmicin
  • Streptomycin
  • Tobramycin


  • Loracarbef


  • Ertapenem
  • Imipenem/Cilastatin
  • Meropenem


  • Cefadroxil
  • Cefazolin
  • Cephalexin
  • Cefamandole
  • Cefoxitin
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Cefepime


  • Teicoplanin
  • Vancomycin


  • Azithromycin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Dirithromycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Troleandomycin


  • Aztreonam


  • Amoxicillin
  • Ampicillin
  • Azlocillin
  • Carbenicillin
  • Cloxacillin
  • Dicloxacillin
  • Flucloxacillin
  • Mezlocillin
  • Nafcillin
  • Penicillin
  • Piperacillin
  • Ticarcillin


  • Bacitracin
  • Colistin
  • Polymyxin B


  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Enoxacin
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Trovafloxacin


  • Mafenide
  • Prontosil (archaic)
  • Sulfacetamide
  • Sulfamethizole
  • Sulfanilimide (archaic)
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Sulfisoxazole
  • Trimethoprim


The most common consequences after taking alcohol and antibiotics are injury, increased risk of illness and sometimes death.

Today, the drug market is oversaturated with the great variety of possible medications. Annually, in the USA healthcares prescribe more than 14 billion meds to the patients. Thus, 70% of adults sometimes take alcohol while treating with the drugs, 10% used to drink every day, in spite of treatment with meds.

The elder the person, the more risk it has during mixing alcohol and drugs. But it doesn’t mean, if you are young you can drink and intake meds and will live healthy and long. Every case is individual. You never know what will be then.

In order to clarify possible side effects after such “therapy” with alcohol and drugs, let’s see the interaction processes.

The effects after combining antibiotics and alcohol can vary. It’s all depending upon antibiotics specific.

Researches approved, that alcohol doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of most antibiotics but their mix can cause common side effects, like stomach upset, dizziness and drowsiness and if you still continue alcohol and drugs intake these side effects may increase.

Sometimes, alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of some antibiotics. For instance, doxycycline (Vibramycin, Doryx).

Be attentive when taking Flagyl, Tindamax, Bactrim and alcohol as their combination may cause more severe reaction with such side effects as flushing, headache, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath. Keep in mind that some cold medicines and mouthwashes also contain alcohol, try to avoid such products when treating with these antibiotics.

The common side effects after combining alcohol and antibiotics: nausea, vomiting, convulsions, abdominal cramps, headaches, fast heart rate and flushing.

Don’t forget that alcohol can reduce your energy and delay your recovery from illness. So, it may be best to avoid alcohol until you have finished your antibiotics therapy and feel better.

Remember these antibiotics and never mix them with the alcohol: Antimalarial Quinacrine (Atabrine), Furazolidone (Furoxone), Metronidazole and Tinidazole (side-effects include flushing, breathlessness, headache, increased or irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, nausea and vomiting), Griseofulvin (Grisactin).

As it has been said below, alcohol can interact not only with antibiotics, but with other groups of widespread meds:

  • Anesthetics – pain killers, especially after or before surgery.
  • Anti-diabetic medications – help to reduce blood glucose in diabetic patients. Interaction of this class drugs lead to nausea and headache.
  • Antidepressants – one of the ways to get rid off depression. Usually, people used to treat with these drugs and alcohol, but they probably don’t know possible consequences, as in this case, the may be fatal.
  • Antihistamines – treat allergic symptoms and insomnia.
  • Anticoagulants (Warfarin) help to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger in your blood and blood vessels. Alcohol intake reduces the drug effect.
  • Cardiovascular medications (Nitroglycerin, Reserpine, Methyldopa, Hydralazine, and Guanethidine) – usually treat angina and high blood pressure. Alcohol intake with these meds causes dizziness and potentially reduces drugs’ therapeutic effects.

Thus, the use of alcohol with drugs can lead to sad consequences. Moreover, the alcohol itself is the cause of the defeat of all organs and systems and the development of alcohol addicting. The changes in the body, which are caused by alcohol, sometimes are untreatable, even after treatment of alcoholism.

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