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But Really, Can I Drink Alcohol on Antibiotics?

Most people will end up taking antibiotics at some point during their adult lives, which is why we believe it is important to understand them. One of the most common questions that we hear about antibiotics is if it is safe to drink alcohol while taking them. We generally encourage people to talk to their doctor about the specific medication they are taking, but there are some general rules about it that everyone should try to understand.

Can Alcohol Interact with Antibiotics?

Alcohol can interact with some antibiotics, which can cause unpleasant or dangerous side effects. Those symptoms can vary because there are many different antibiotics in use, and each one has its own interactions.

The two most important examples are metronidazole and tinidazole. Both of those antibiotics can cause pain, dizziness, drowsiness, a general feeling of illness and other symptoms when they encounter alcohol. They will need several days to work their way through the body after the course of treatment ends, and it is best to avoid alcohol during that time.

Other antibiotics can have their own interactions with alcohol, but they are generally less serious. They remain deeply unpleasant and do have some danger, so it is best to abstain from drinking while on antibiotics unless a doctor specifically says that it is safe.

Common Sources of Alcohol

Drinking isn’t the only source of alcohol. It is a fairly common ingredient in over-the-counter medications and mouthwashes. The concentration is usually fairly low, but there is still enough to be medically relevant in some cases. It is all too easy to expose yourself to alcohol by taking these medications without checking for interactions. That is why it is so important to make sure that your doctor knows about all of the medications that you are taking while prescribing the treatment and that you do not add new medications without discussing it with a professional.