Flagyl, also known as Metronidazole, is an antibiotic that is used to treat a host of different bacterial and parasitic infections including bacterial vaginosis, trichomonas, anal fistulas and Giardia infections affecting the digestive system.
It is also used in conjunction with other antibiotics to treat abscesses within various body areas. Unfortunately for the broad range of people who must at some time in life complete a course of this medication, using Flagyl and alcohol together can have serious and even dangerous consequences.
There are several common side effects that people experience when drinking alcohol while taking metronidazole. One of the first symptoms to arise is digestive upset which can range from mild abdominal pain to severe abdominal cramping. This can be followed by nausea, flushing and even vomiting.
While numerous clinical studies have failed to show a definite interaction between Flagyl and alcohol, several uncomfortable side effects of this combination have been widely report. So much so, in fact, that nearly all metronidazole prescriptions are issued with a warning against using Flagyl and alcohol together.
This common warning typically comes as part of all other drug information but is also likely to be noted on a visible area of the prescription bottle, such as on the front of the bottle, to ensure that patients avoid this highly reactive combination.
Patients are commonly warned against using both Flagyl and alcohol together during any point in their treatment plans. Most recommendations advise that treated individuals wait a minimum of three days after their last dose has been taken, before consuming any alcohol whatsoever.
It is generally understood that the more Flagyl that is present in an individual’s system when alcohol is consumed, the more volatile the ensuing reaction will be.
Given the large number of inconclusive studies on the relationship between alcohol use when taking Flagyl and adverse reactions, the developing belief is that interactions between Flagyl and alcohol are not likely to cause unpleasant side effects. As a result of this, there are increasing differences in the information that is provided when metronidazole is prescribed. Many medical health professionals continue to issue health warnings against drinking while undergoing Flagyl therapy. This is done to avoid any legal issues that might arise as the result of not providing such a warning.
It is imperative that individuals who are taking Flagyl remember to avoid alcohol containing foods or products that might not be noticed in addition to typical alcoholic beverages. These would include over-the-counter cough syrups and other medicines. Many of these contain substantial enough amounts to potentially cause an adverse reaction in patients who are using metronidazole therapy for the treatment of an infection. There are also numerous herbal extractions that are prepared using grain alcohol, which might serve to impact a Flagyl therapy as well. Thus, while taking metronidazole in any of its many forms, it is imperative to avoid alcoholic beverages, foods and other drugs or medications throughout the entire course of treatment and three full days after.