Antibiotics and alcohol

Average inhabitant of any country in the world has ever bought and used antibiotic drugs to cure various diseases. These drugs are needed for treatment of some fungal and most of bacterial infections.

There are many myths about alcohol and antibiotics interactions. Terrible stories were told about combined use of antibiotics and alcohol after the World War II. Some of them are still told in different interpretations nowadays. You may find them online, some are trustworthy, the others just funny.

In the end of 20th and the beginning of 21st century, a number of studies on alcohol and antibiotics compatibility were conducted. The laboratory tests proved that alcohol (ethanol) has affected some types of antibiotics slightly. In most cases, alcoholic beverages caused significant deviations in the mechanism of medicines action and affect:

  • The absorption rate in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Distribution all over the body and excretion of their decay products
  • Changes in pharmacological and other properties

Probably, not every type of antibiotic drugs accessible on market will interact with alcohol in a particular patient. However, people should keep in mind that antibiotics are used to treat different diseases, especially the severe ones. Alcohol reduces the immune system and when combined with antibiotics may cause one or more side effects:

  • Abnormal heart rate;
  • Severe pain in the head area;
  • Shortness of breath or heavy breathing;
  • Indigestion, diarrhea and vomiting;
  • Irritated skin on the chest, neck or face;
  • Seizures of the upper or lower limbs.

These are not all side effects that may occur when patients use alcohol and antibiotics together. If a patient desperately wants to have an alcoholic drink, he must think twice before buying any and remember about the consequences. Adverse reactions depend on the type of used antibiotics, a patient’s overall health and the amount of alcohol in the blood plasma.

Often, antibiotics alone cause side effects, while large doses of alcohol can worsen them significantly. Sometimes, mixing alcohol with antibacterial drugs may cause an overdose and hospitalization.

Despite all “positive” properties, alcohol is still a “poison” for human body and, sometimes the body uses the last reserves to neutralize it (for instance, in a long-term disease). During the treatment of any disease, using antibiotic drugs, people should not poison themselves with ethyl alcohol. The fact is that wasting the body potential to dehydrate ethanol may greatly increase the recovery period and cause more harm to the immune system.

The effect of alcohol and antibiotics on the liver and the whole body.

Some people are somehow aware about negative impact of alcohol and antibiotics on liver. People must keep in mind another thing: both alcohol and antibiotics cause damage to the liver even when they are used separately. But when they are used together, they cause an inhibitory effect in the liver.

Most people have no idea about side effects in the brain caused by combination of antibiotics and alcohol. Large doses of ethyl alcohol first stimulate, and then sharply slow down the processes in the central nervous system. Antibiotics can penetrate into the brain tissues and interact with cells, which biochemical properties were changed by alcohol.

The effect of antibiotic drugs and alcohol on pancreas gland can be dangerous. Mainly, this refers to people, who eat a great amount of fatty food. It was proved that cells of pancreas are as sensitive to alcohol, as liver cells. The major part of chronic diseases of pancreas is caused by overuse of alcoholic beverages.

Treatment efficiency.

The consequences of combined use of alcoholic drinks along with antibiotics can be moderate or severe. It depends on chemical compound of antibiotic pills (or solution for injections) and the metabolism of an active substance:

  • Most antibiotic drugs, paired with alcoholic beverages, usually become less effective, but can accumulate in the body causing intoxication.
  • Alcohol alone is an extra stress for the body, but when combined with antibiotics – becomes a dangerous mixture that is very difficult to neutralize.
  • Ethanol reduces the efficiency of antibiotics; therefore, it is hard to get a desired therapeutic effect of antibiotic drugs.

Certain types of antibiotics can be ordered online without prescription. It does not matter which way you buy antibiotics, there must be instructions in the pack with indications for use and drug interactions, including interactions with ethyl alcohol. You may also consult a doctor and find out about mixing of a certain antibiotic and alcohol.

Unfortunately, there is no such information on a label of alcoholic beverage. Any adult person can buy an alcoholic beverage and drink it in any amounts. The efficiency of drugs based on antibacterial substances may change regardless of the type of alcoholic drink. These drugs interact to ethyl, the great amount of which is found even in low-alcohol drinks.

Thus, people should always remember about smart and proper usage of antibiotics or any other drugs. A complete refusal of alcohol is not necessary condition even if you use potent antibiotics. The best way is to consult your therapist or a pharmacist and keep moderation in alcohol consumption.