Antibiotics and Alcohol Use

When examining the effects of antibiotics and alcohol it is important to learn how they both affect the body. Once this is understood then it is easier to understand how they work in conjunction with each other. When trying to make a decision about mixing alcohol and antibiotics this will then make it possible to know the dangers.

Antibiotics travel through the blood stream to the infected area where they work to cure the infection in the organ or the tissue. The antibiotics are eventually metabolized by enzymes and then eliminated from the body.   Alcohol also travels through the blood stream, which delivers it to the brain where it can cause intoxication. Alcohol is metabolized mainly by the liver and then eliminated from the body. When antibiotics and alcohol are mixed together in the blood stream the alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotics so that by the time it reaches the infected area it will no longer have the healing power necessary for curing the affliction.

Adding alcohol can result in the risk of the illness becoming progressively worse, even while continuing antibiotics. Alcohol doesn’t always interact poorly with antibiotics, but circumstances are very unlikely to act with any positive effects. In the case of a dangerous disease, this may result in a serious outcome. Not all antibiotics however are equal, have different compositions, and will interact with alcohol in a different way. There are several types, which should never be mixed with alcohol because they have other serious side effects besides reducing the effectiveness of the drug to heal.  Some of these side effects are an increase in an irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, vomiting, lack of breath and headaches. When taking antibiotics it is wise to seek the counsel of a doctor regarding any possible side effects that the antibiotics and alcohol might have if mixed in the blood stream.

Alcohol by itself will reduce the body’s natural healing power so this is another good reason for not drinking while you are sick. Drinking can reduce the white blood cells as well as the body’s energy resulting in a delay in the healing process. When sick it is usually better to wait until you are feeling better before starting to drink.

The effect alcohol and antibiotics have on a person will also vary from person to person as everyone’s individual metabolism is different. There are reports of people who have mixed the two for a minor problem, such as an infected cut, and felt no negative effects at all. They also reported that it seemed the drug quickly helped to cure the infection. Others though have reported suffering from an enormous headache and nausea the following day. Usually it is better to be safe than sorry and not to drink anything even if a doctor says there may be no bad side effects resulting from mixing the two.

The general consensus of professionals regarding the mixing of antibiotics and alcohol is that it is best not done. Even for antibiotics, which are considered safe to take while drinking there are many variables involved and no real guarantees can be given about a positive outcome. Some antibiotic drugs are known to have bad side effects and these should never be taken while drinking alcohol.