Drug interactions with alcohol are an important factor to consider when taking any prescription drug, including Levaquin.
Many drugs should not be taken with alcohol because of the wide range of harmful interactions that are possible with a depressant such as alcohol. To understand how Levaquin and alcohol interact together, it is important to understand how Levaquin and alcohol interact respectively with the body alone.
The most basic interaction that alcohol has with the human body is to act as a depressant. Psychoactive drugs that have a depressant effect on the body work by suppressing activity in the central nervous system. When a person has consumed a large amount of alcohol and has begun metabolizing it, they may experience impairment of the senses and loss of coordination and balance. A very large amount of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning. In acute alcohol poisoning, the brain stem and hindbrain are depressed so severely that they cease to function.
This causes basic life functions such as breathing and a heartbeat to stop, resulting in death.
A less life-threatening but nonetheless significant side effect of alcohol is dehydration. Alcohol works to suppress naturally occurring anti-diuretic hormones in the bloodstream.
Anti-diuretics keep the body hydrated by preventing excessive loss of fluids. With the loss of these hormones, the body begins to lose water at a more rapid rate than it is consumed. A person who is drinking heavily may experience the need to urinate frequently, but because they are drinking alcohol, they do not realize that they are not replenishing fluids. Drinking more alcohol serves only to exacerbate the problem by dehydrating the body further.
Levaquin is a quinolone antibiotic that is used to combat infections that are caused by specific families of bacteria. A very common side effect of Levaquin is lightheadedness or dizziness. For this reason it is very important to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery during a course of this antibiotic. Additionally, it frequently causes mild dehydration through diarrhea and vomiting. While the diarrhea is frequently mild, sometimes a more severe form known as pseudomembranous colitis can occur, which requires immediate medical attention.
While Levaquin and alcohol are not known to interact directly, their serious side effects coincide, which can be hard on the body. Taking any psychoactive drug, including alcohol, that acts as a depressant at the same time as taking an antibiotic drug causing drowsiness will exacerbate the feeling of tiredness and may make it impossible to stay functional until one of the drugs wears off. Additionally, Levaquin causes vomiting and diarrhea while alcohol works as a diuretic while suppressing natural anti-diuretics. Experiencing any level of dehydration while fluid loss is already occurring can cause serious damage to the body, especially over an extended length of time. For this reason, Levaquin and alcohol should not be taken together.