What the Yuck: Can I drink on antibiotics?
February 12th, 2012
08:57 AM ET

What the Yuck: Can I drink on antibiotics?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: Is it bad to drink alcohol if I’m on antibiotics?

A: You shouldn’t drink at all while on certain antibiotics - like Flagyl (metronidazole), Tindamax (tinidazole), or Bactrim or Septra (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) - because you can get unpleasant side effects like nausea and headaches.

Otherwise, a glass of wine probably won’t hurt, though you might experience worse potential side effects (upset stomach, dizziness, drowsiness) than usual from the drug and the alcohol.

If you’re sick enough to need antibiotics, however, I’d say skip happy hour and give your body time to fight the infection.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Learn how to Live Cancer Free

    The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.

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    The new findings “were against our expectations,” said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years.

    “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”

    source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729.html

    In 1992, a study released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that alcohol is by far the leading cause of drug-related traffic accidents, while marijuana poses a negligible danger, except when combined with alcohol. In an analysis of blood samples from 1,882 drivers killed in vehicular accidents in seven states, alcohol was found in over 51%. Marijuana was a distant second to alcohol, at just 6.7%. Because two-thirds of those deceased marijuana users were also under the influence of alcohol at the time of death, the actual number of drivers who tested positive for cannabis was 2.2%, the exact number determined by the NTSB in 1988. The US government’s 1992 NHTSA research, considered the most comprehensive study of cannabis use among driving fatalities, was suppressed for almost two years because it contradicted America’s “just say no” anti-pot propaganda.

    February 12, 2012 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sam

      Thank god,Finally the show the biggest killer in the world ALCOHOL good,Hammer all alcohol users tax them More than SMOKING like $ 2.00 per can,bottle,Shot,Mug,mixed to pay for that $ 280 Billion a year in all the DAMAGE IT CAUSES like accidents including deaths,injuries,hundreds of health issues and the 900% ENDDANGERMENT TO OTHERS,,,,,,Get em GOOD

      February 13, 2012 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • MashaSobaka

      Uh...you clearly haven't read the most recent research on marijuana and automobile accidents. Go back and try again.

      February 13, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Maybe... but how is any of that related to this story about alcohol and antibiotics?

      February 13, 2012 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      However some studies are now showing that marajuana smoke kills healthy lung cells.

      February 13, 2012 at 21:47 | Report abuse |
    • Tanya

      I have multiple sclerosis and I smoke weed everyday. It keeps me alive. Good to know it's not giving me lung cancer. I certainly don't drive on it.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
  2. MashaSobaka

    Here's an idea: Stop drinking. Find another way to unwind and stop contributing to the production of a drug that takes the heaviest toll – financially, morally, socially – on our country.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      Moderate social drinking has been shown to be healthier than abstaining from alcohol. Drinking eases tension in social situations and reduces stress significantly. Since we as humans stress most about social situations, the benefits start to make sense. Of course moderation is key.

      February 14, 2012 at 00:15 | Report abuse |
  3. erich2112x

    Too late.

    February 13, 2012 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Katie

    Women should consider the extra problem of yeast infections. They might be easier to get if you drink wine while on antibiotics.

    February 13, 2012 at 21:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      That is not how you get a yeast infection. Not by a long shot. Actually the more antibiotics you take the better your chances of a yeast infection. The antibiotics kill of the natural flora of the body which keeps the yeast in check.

      February 14, 2012 at 00:18 | Report abuse |
  5. Sara

    Antibiotics are hazardous to your health. Try to avoid them as much as possible. If you must take them, take a probiotic so that the crucial healthy flora destroyed by the antibiotic which sets you up for more infections can be replenished and prevent such a vicious cycle.

    February 14, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ksboston

    Did the author of the artical even TALK to someone with knowledge in the field, or did they just assume the usual alcohol related side-effects were all that were relevant?

    Alcohol causes your kidneys and liver to work overtime. As a result, it helps break down and flush the antibiotic out of your system faster. SO the antibiotics are less effective. If you have an infection, you probably want to maximize the effect of the medicine. A drink here or there won't hurt you much, but do it in extreme moderation if you are on antibiotics (or other meds, for that matter.)

    February 14, 2012 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Do Visit

    Medical articles like yours should be read by everyone in existence. Currently, I fear that the trend of prescribing antibiotics for almost all common ailments like sinus infections will definitely result in pathogens growing resistant to these medicines, and growing into a super bug. Just cannot imagine this type of a scenario.

    February 6, 2013 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Monn

      "Simple" sinus infections can kill you...

      March 28, 2015 at 04:36 | Report abuse |
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