Potential Ciprofloxacin and Alcohol Interactions

Cipro and alcohol can be a dangerous combination in some instances.

Ciprofloxacin, commonly called cipro, is a type of fluoroquinolone antibiotic prescribed for bacterial infections. Alcohol interacts quite poorly with some medications. A few key points are outlined below to help patients make the appropriate decision as to whether or not ciprofloxacin and alcohol should be consumed simultaneously.

Ciprofloxacin comes in a variety of forms such as solids and liquids which are taken orally and intravenous infusions. Infusions are typically used only in hospital or possibly home health scenarios. The brand name and generic forms of this medication are available. This antibiotic is used widely to treat a variety of bacteria that negatively affect the gastrointestinal, urinary and respiratory systems of adults.

Diseases that are treated include pneumonia, bronchitis, cellulitis, kidney infection and a host of others. Children may also have it prescribed, especially for cystic fibrosis.

Side effects of ciprofloxacin are generally mild with complaints of nausea and diarrhea being the most common.

However, if any new symptoms arise or if the individual has any questions or concerns, he should be advised to call his doctor immediately. Some examples of these rarer side effects are confusion, visual or auditory changes and shortness of breath. A complete list of side effects can be found at any pharmacy. Of course, the patient should always tell his physician about any other medications or food supplements which he takes as well as any other medical conditions from which he suffers.

Cipro may be less effective if it is taken with certain foods or drinks. Dairy products such as milk and yogurt reduce the absorption of the medication in the intestines. Certain over the counter medications that contain calcium, magnesium or aluminum such as antacids can create these same negative effects.

Most people wish to know if any interactions exist between ciprofloxacin and alcohol. There are several differing opinions regarding this. Government agencies state that social drinking should not produce any unwanted effects. Social drinking is defined as fewer than two drinks each day. However, if the individual already suffers from liver problems or liver failure, he should notify his doctor who can prescribe a different medication. Alcohol does have a small effect on the rate of absorption of cipro; therefore, only a small amount should be consumed. Alcohol may exacerbate other side effects. For instance, drowsiness may become more pronounced. If confusion, hallucinations, extreme dizziness, excessive bleeding or fainting occur, alcohol consumption should be immediately discontinued and emergency medical assistance should be obtained.

Since side effects can become more pronounced or the medication may not be as effective, it is always safer to refrain from a cipro and alcohol combination. Just like all other drugs, the individual should be vigilant in watching for any uncommon symptoms; these could be physical, mental or emotional symptoms. When used appropriately and according to the prescription, ciprofloxacin is quite effective against numerous bacterial infections.