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Is it safe to mix antibiotics with alcohol?

Admin - Aug 16, 2023

In case, you’ve been prescribed an antibiotic for an infection, you might be wondering if it’s safe to drink alcohol.

Well, the short answer is that it is safe to withdraw from alcohol while you are taking an antibiotic.

This will give your body the most resources to fight against infection and avoid the risk of experiencing side effects.

It is essential to avoid alcohol while you are taking some particular types of antibiotics.

Nevertheless, drinking heavily is not only bad for your health but can be riskier when taken with an antibiotic. 

Antibiotics are medicines that target bacteria to treat and prevent infections in the body. There are several types of oral antibiotics.

Can you mix antibiotics with alcohol?

It is important to know that not all prescribed antibiotics interact with alcohol.

Depending upon the type of antibiotic you take, doctors might suggest restricting or avoiding alcohol consumption.

With alcohol, it is not safe to mix certain types of antibiotics like nitroimidazoles and tetracyclines.

This can lead to dangerous side effects or make your antibiotics less effective in treating bacteria.

Antibiotics frequently cause nausea as a side effect, and for some people, alcohol consumption makes this feeling worse.

Even while nausea is a typical side effect of alcohol and antibiotics, not everyone gets it.

You need to know that the risks of drinking alcohol are reduced with some types of antibiotics.

Nevertheless, drinking any amount of alcohol still put risks to some people who take antibiotics.

During treatment, avoiding alcohol completely will aid a person to avoid discomfort and other serious results.

How alcohol affects your infections and healing?

For a few seconds, simply put antibiotics aside and concentrate only on alcohol.

Taking only a few glasses of alcohol can make it easy for you to get sick and difficult to get well.

Alcohol is responsible for changing your blood sugar levels which will slow your healing process and recovery time.

While long-term alcohol consumption weakens your immune system and even increases the risk of suffering from another infection.

Mixing antibiotics and alcohol: What are its side effects?

You might be wondering what’s a big deal in mixing antibiotics with alcohol.

Will antibiotics not work if you drink alcohol or are there any other risks linked with it?

Well, there are a few problems when antibiotics are mixed with alcohol.

Depending on an antibiotic, alcohol intake might alter the way your antibiotic works and make it less effective.

Sometimes antibiotics interact with alcohol and cause side effects more severe than antibiotics would on their own.

Following are a few negative effects of combining alcohol and antibiotics:


The tetracycline class of antibiotics includes minocycline and doxycycline. This class treats several bacterial infections.

When taking doxycycline, it is suggested to avoid or limit alcohol consumption strictly.

Alcohol is responsible for affecting this antibiotic and can be less effective for people with alcohol use disorder.

Liver toxicity is an uncommon side effect of taking minocycline as alcohol has negative effects on the liver.

To avoid suffering from liver toxicity, make sure to not mix alcohol with minocycline.


Linezolid belongs to a class of antibiotics known as oxazolidinone and treats skin, abdominal, and lung infections.

The antibacterial effects of Linezolid are responsible for decreasing the action of enzymes called monoamine oxidase-A and monoamine oxidase-B.

Monoamine oxidases break down tyramine which is a substance present in red wine and other products.

When people consume red wine and tap beers with linezolid, the amount of tyramine in the blood can rise.

They might experience side effects due to raised tyramine levels, rather than alcohol.

Taking alcohol with oxazolidinones can make you suffer from mild, moderate, or serious side effects.

If you are taking linezolid to treat bacterial infections then avoid taking red wine and tap beers.

Also, avoid food items that contain tyramine like smoked meats and strong cheeses.


Patients suffering from abdominal, urinary, and respiratory infections are often recommended sulfonamide by doctors.

This type of antibiotic includes the combination drug trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, which is also called Septra.

Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole can affect your metabolism of folic acid in bacteria.

In rare cases, this antibiotic even affects the metabolism of folic acid present in human cells.

People lacking in folic acid might be at risk of further decreasing their folic acid levels when taking trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

When alcohol is taken regularly, you will start having low levels of folic acid. So, taking trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole with caution is necessary.

Though an occasional drink is safe with sulfonamides, but doctors must exercise caution when prescribing trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.


Mixing alcohol with fluoroquinolones antibiotics like ciprofloxacin can increase the risk of mental health side effects.

In rare cases, some people can experience seizures during fluoroquinolone treatment. People with seizures are at more risk.

As alcohol lowers the seizure threshold, doctors advise people with a history of seizures to avoid a combination of alcohol and fluoroquinolones.

An occasional drink with fluoroquinolone can be safe, but drinking alcohol regularly can cause central nervous system side effects.

When taken with alcohol, fluoroquinolone can also cause you some mental health side effects like:

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Disturbances in attention
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Nervousness

In some people, even less alcohol consumption can decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics.

This further decreases your energy and delays your recovery time from an illness or ailment.

Thus, it’s better to avoid alcohol intake until you finish antibiotic treatment and feel better.

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