Is It OK to Drink Alcohol While Taking Antibiotics?

Reviewed on 9/15/2021
is it OK to drink alcohol while taking antibiotics
Drinking alcohol while on antibiotics can increase the risk of side effects, such as stomach upset, nausea, and drowsiness

Alcohol and antibiotics can cause similar side effects, such as stomach upset, nausea, and drowsiness. Not only does drinking alcohol while on antibiotics increase the risk of these side effects, but it may also cause adverse reactions.

Which antibiotics interact with alcohol?

Some antibiotics cause severe reactions when taken along with alcohol, including:

In general, it’s recommended to avoid alcohol for 48 hours after you stop taking metronidazole and 72 hours after you stop taking tinidazole.

What are the side effects of taking alcohol with antibiotics?

When combined with antibiotics, alcohol can result in a range of side effects, including:

If you have alcohol while on antibiotic treatment, you may end up damaging your vital organs, including your liver and kidney, due to complex reactions between the two substances.

Some antibiotics can make you drowsy, and taking alcohol with these medications can be extremely risky, resulting in accidents while driving or operating machinery. Ask your doctor if you are on any medication that has drowsiness as one of its side effects.

What precautions should you take with alcohol and antibiotics?

Remember to read warning labels on your medications, since they will usually contain information regarding whether you can take alcohol with the medication. If you are unsure about a certain medication, ask your doctor. They will tell you if an occasional drink can be OK. And if they say no, ask them how long you should wait to drink before or after taking the antibiotic. 

You should ideally avoid any alcohol whenever you are sick, regardless of whether you are on antibiotics or not. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated, and having alcohol can dehydrate you, interfere with your sleep, and delay the recovery process.

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References
Mayo Clinic. What Are the Effects of Drinking Alcohol While Taking Antibiotics? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/antibiotics-and-alcohol/faq-20057946

Alcohol Alert. Alcohol-Medication Interactions. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa27.htm

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