One of the most common questions pharmacists receive is "Can I drink alcohol while taking my medication?"
As a general rule, most pharmacists will tell patients to avoid alcohol while taking antibiotics. This is because it can inhibit the body's natural ability to fight off an infection, plus it can help promote dehydration. Drinking alcohol with most antibiotics may not cause you much harm, but there are certain antibiotics where drinking alcohol can lead to serious side effects.
Patients should not drink alcohol with the following antibiotics:
- Flagyl (metronidazole)
- Tindamax (tinidazole)
- Cefobid (cefoperazone)
- Cefotan (cefotetan)
- Bactrim or Septra (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole)
Taking these antibiotics with alcohol can cause a potentially serious disulfiram-like reaction. Patients may experience severe flushing, fast heart rate, and low blood pressure. Patients may also experience nausea and vomiting. It is best to avoid alcohol for at 3 days after you stop taking these medications. Furthermore, it is recommended to avoid alcohol until you finish your antibiotics and are feeling better.
As with any medication, make sure you ask your pharmacist or physician any question you may have.