Antibiotics and alcohol – the forbidden combination

A female face shot from below the eyes to the chin with her mouth open and her hand in front of her holding a white pill.

Are they really incompatible? But all of them?

Taking antibiotics is incompatible with alcohol, this has been known for a long time, but to this day it raises questions: How dangerous can it be? Do doctors just not re-insure themselves? Does it apply to all types of antibiotics? What will happen if one ignores the ban? We answer in order:

In the 1960s, this problem began to concern people, with the application of the then-new antibiotic metronidazole (Flagyl, for the treatment of inflammatory diseases) and with the increase in antibiotic treatment worldwide.

Alcoholic drink in a glass with a grapefruit slice next to it
Photo: Unsplash

Side Effects

When the antibiotic is taken in parallel with alcoholic beverages, patients may develop unpleasant symptoms: nausea, stomach upset, sweating, skin redness and other allergic reactions like rapid pulse, headache. Even if it doesn’t happen once, you wouldn’t want to take a chance and try it until experiencing such side effects, right?

There is no doubt that both alcohol and drugs are toxic to the human body and can damage the liver. It filters the blood and all poisonous substances, and the disruption of these functions is quite a serious problem.

The researchers also found side effects when taking other antibiotics in combination with alcohol: tinidazole, cephalosporins (cefotan, cefazolin, etc. – a broad-spectrum group of antibiotics similar to penicillins), sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, doxycycline, linezolid…

Are there antibiotics that are safe to drink alcohol with?

No. It is not safe to combine alcohol with almost all types of antibiotics, as well as other medicines. Especially if you have chronic diseases. Even if the drug leaflets do not mention anything about the relationship between them and the negative side effects, you should not risk it. Alcohol may not affect the effectiveness of drugs, but in combination, their reaction does not manifest well. It is also possible to develop antibiotic resistance, so it is wisest to listen to the doctor’s advice.

A glass of clear liquid and a lemon slice, shot from above, next to it is a kitchen board with lemon slices, a sprig of greens and a gray tea towel.
Photo: Unsplash


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