Alcohol and antibiotics: why you can't combine them


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Is it possible to combine alcohol and antibiotics? Even doctors do not give an exact answer to this popular question. And if some are categorically against such duets, others believe that it is important to take into account what kind of alcohol you use and how much. There is also a third opinion that a competent approach to the issue can be successfully treated while maintaining social activity.


Is it really necessary to abstain from alcohol in combination with a course of antibiotics? Let's get this straight.


Much depends on the active substance of the drug. Some types of antibiotics with alcohol are not friends at all, while others can interact normally. Of course, you should not mix alcohol with pills after reading this article. However, knowing certain things will help you not to panic, but to properly understand the issue if, for some reason, you still drank alcohol during antibiotic therapy.


Antibiotics and alcohol: myths and legends


There is a version that frightening stories that you can not combine alcohol and antibiotics, began to spread after the Second World War. The first legend says that during this period, venereological clinics in Europe and the USSR were simply overcrowded. The patients are soldiers and officers who have fully tasted the" charms " of martial law. The medical staff specifically intimidated patients, telling them about the severe consequences of a combination of alcohol and antibiotics, because after drinking, patients could again go all out, and the result of such "feats" could well be a new sexual infection.

Another legend says that because of the complexity of obtaining penicillin, it was evaporated from the urine of treated soldiers. For this reason, the soldiers were forbidden to drink beer during therapy.

The danger of drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics is in the air and modern people prefer to avoid such mixes. But what does evidence-based medicine think about this?


What does the research say?


At the beginning of the twenty-first century, studies were conducted on the effects of ethanol on various types of antibiotics. In the course of experiments on laboratory animals and human volunteers, it was proved that most types of antibiotics are not affected by alcohol intake.


So, in the experimental and control groups, the studied antibiotics were equally effective. Significant deviations in the mechanisms of absorption, distribution throughout the body, as well as the elimination of decomposition products, were not detected.


By the way, there is a hypothesis that the intake of alcoholic beverages increases the adverse effect of antibiotics on the liver. In the medical literature, such cases are described little because of their rare occurrence (up to 10 cases per 100,000). At the same time, no additional studies have been conducted in this regard. Are all the fears unfounded?



What antibiotics can not be combined with alcohol


No, the fears are not unfounded: there are a number of antibiotics that, when in contact with alcohol, give extremely unpleasant symptoms - the so-called disulfiram-like reaction. The reaction occurs when the chemical interaction of ethanol with some specific molecules of antibiotics, as a result, changes the exchange of ethyl alcohol in the body. In particular, there is an accumulation of an intermediate substance - acetaldehyde. Intoxication with this substance gives the following symptoms:

  • - severe headache

  • - nausea and vomiting

  • - increased heart rate

  • - redness of the face, neck, chest area, "heat" in them

  • - short, heavy breathing

  • - convulsions of the extremities


With large doses of alcohol, a fatal outcome is possible!


These symptoms are very difficult to bear, often causing fear of suffocation or death. The disulfiram-like reaction is used in clinics in the treatment of alcoholism ("coding").


The symbiosis of alcohol and antibiotics can lead to serious consequences


Antibiotics that can cause these symptoms:

  • - metronidazole (can also be produced under the TM "Metrogil", "Metroxan", "Klion", "Rosameth" and others)

  • - ketoconazole (prescribed for thrush, for example, candles "Livarol")

  • - furazolidone (prescribed for food poisoning or diarrhea of unspecified nature)

  • - levomycetin (toxic, rarely used: for infections of the urinary tract, bile ducts, and some other diseases)

  • - co-trimoxazole (can be prescribed for infections of the respiratory tract, kidneys, and ureters, prostatitis)

  • - cefotetan (used to treat bacterial infections of the respiratory and ENT organs, kidneys, urinary tract, etc.)

  • - tinidazole (often prescribed for infection with the bacterium Helicobacter Pylori, which causes stomach ulcers)

  • - cefamandol (injection infections of unspecified nature)

  • - cefoperazone (available in injection, treat respiratory tract, including pneumonia, bacterial diseases of the genitourinary system and other diseases)\

  • - moxalactam (a broad-spectrum antibiotic, prescribed for severe conditions, including fever, if there is a suspicion of a bacterial infection)


When using these drugs (both oral medications and candles or eye drops), it is necessary to avoid drinking alcohol!

To be sure that your antibiotic is not included in the group of drugs that are prohibited from being combined with alcoholic beverages, check this with your doctor, and also carefully read the instructions for the drug.


A reasonable solution


In the treatment of any disease with antibiotics, in any case, you should not overload your body with alcoholic beverages. After all, like any toxic substance, ethanol requires "neutralization" in the body. To fight the poison, the body throws additional reserves, often the last, especially if the disease is prolonged. Spending energy on cleansing the body can damage the immune system and significantly increase the recovery period.

In addition, research and medical practice confirm that both alcohol and antibiotics have a depressing effect on the liver.


Despite the fact that the opinion of experts regarding the compatibility of alcoholic beverages and antibacterial agents is divided (with the exception of those drugs for which restrictions are categorical), most of them are inclined to believe that during the course of antibiotic therapy, it is better to refuse alcoholic beverages. You should also know: if you still drank a glass of wine during therapy, you should not refuse to take another antibiotic (of course, if this is a drug for which there is no contraindication for alcohol).

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