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Does alcohol affect antibiotics?

Related Topics: Antibiotic

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Internal Medicine
Emory University
131 Answers
108,752 Helpful Votes

Usually, no. Alcohol doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of most antibiotics. However, alcohol can worsen side effects caused by some antibiotics, like dizziness or an upset stomach.

You should definitely avoid drinking alcohol while taking metronidazole (Flagyl), as this combination can cause severe nausea and vomiting.

There have been a few isolated reports of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) causing a similar reaction with alcohol. However, given the millions of doses of the drug taken yearly, this reaction is probably rare. The packaging insert for Bactrim has no warning against drinking alcohol while taking the drug.

Heavy daily alcohol use can impair the function of the liver, which can reduce its ability to metabolize some antibiotics.

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