How Long After Taking Antibiotics Can You Drink Alcohol

November 20, 2022 0 Comments

How Long After Taking Antibiotics Can You Drink Alcohol – We’ve all been told to avoid mixing alcohol and antibiotics, but whether that was noticed is another story.

But why is this? Except, of course, getting drunk and forgetting to take medicine. Does drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics make you sick? Does it change the effectiveness of the drugs we take, for better or for worse? Is it really that important?

How Long After Taking Antibiotics Can You Drink Alcohol

How Long After Taking Antibiotics Can You Drink Alcohol

In general, alcohols are a group of organic compounds that have one or more hydroxyl groups attached to a hydrocarbon chain. It’s kind of weird chemistry, but a hydrocarbon chain only has carbon and hydrogen atoms – think of the carbon atoms as metallic bonds on a bracelet with branched hydrogen atoms like talismans.

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A hydroxyl group is a hydrogen atom bonded to an oxygen atom bonded to a carbon atom in a hydrocarbon chain.

Alcohol is used in solvents, hand sanitizers and cosmetics, but the specific alcohol in the drinks we consume is called ethanol or ethyl alcohol, meaning it contains only two carbons in the hydrocarbon chain. Ethanol is made by fermenting sugars, usually from grains, fruits, and vegetables, by single-celled organisms called yeast.

When you drink alcohol, a small amount is quickly broken down or converted into acetaldehyde in your stomach. But most of the rest of the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and upper small intestine and first reaches the liver.

Only a small amount of alcohol is metabolized on arrival, the rest leaves the liver, enters the general circulation and is distributed in the tissues of the body. This is called the “first metabolism”.

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The remaining alcohol then returns to your liver to carry out the second and final metabolism, thanks to a series of enzymes and proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions, the most important of which are alcohol, dehydrogenase and cytochrome P450.

These and other enzymes will eventually break down the alcohol and leave carbon dioxide and water in your body.

Antibiotics are substances used to treat bacterial infections by killing bacteria or preventing their reproduction. In the body, antibiotics are eliminated in active form by the kidneys or metabolized by the liver.

How Long After Taking Antibiotics Can You Drink Alcohol

A 2020 review of all the scientific evidence behind alcohol-antibiotic interactions in 87 studies to identify the evidence behind alcohol warnings for many common antibiotics. However, they found that drinking while taking various common antibiotics did not cause problems.

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Available data support that specific, specific antibiotics, and some more broadly selected classes of antibiotics, do not show adverse interactions when co-administered with alcohol.

Examples: oral penicillins, the antibiotics cefdinir and cefpodoxime (belongs to the cephalosporin antibiotic group), the broad class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, and the antibiotics azithromycin and tetracycline.

Alcohol can interact with drugs in two different ways. Drug interactions occur when alcohol interferes with drug metabolism or when drugs interfere with alcohol metabolism.

This usually happens in the liver, where both alcohol and some antibiotics are metabolized—sometimes even by the same enzyme.

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An example of this is the leading anti-tuberculosis antibiotic isoniazid. Isoniazid alone can cause acute liver damage and alcohol exacerbates this condition.

In infrequent drinkers, a component of Cytochrome P450 metabolizes only a small portion of the alcohol ingested, but its efficacy may increase 10-fold in chronic heavy drinkers who consume 3 to 4 standard drinks per day.

While sober, this increased activity can accelerate antibiotic degradation, while binge drinking competes for antibiotic metabolism and slows antibiotic degradation.

How Long After Taking Antibiotics Can You Drink Alcohol

The antibiotic erythromycin is used to treat many types of bacterial infections. But it increases gastric contractility and accelerates gastric emptying, which means it can reduce first-pass alcohol metabolism and lead to faster absorption of alcohol in the small intestine.

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In fact, maximum alcohol levels were higher after administration of erythromycin, with an average increase of 40%. Unfortunately, alcohol also reduces the effectiveness of erythromycin.

Disulfiram is a treatment for excessive alcohol use. It inhibits an enzyme important for alcohol metabolism, leading to the rapid accumulation of a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism in the blood. This causes unpleasant effects such as flushing, nausea, headache, vomiting, chest pain, dizziness, sweating, thirst, blurred vision and low blood pressure.

Unfortunately, the reaction occurs with uncertain frequency and varies in intensity between different antibiotics, so it is not as simple as eliminating one or more antibiotics widely.

At the end of the day, as with all medications, it’s important to talk openly with your own medical professional about the potential effects of mixing alcohol with antibiotics.

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Imma Perfetto Imma Perfetto is a science reporter at Cosmos. She holds a Bachelor of Science Honors in Science Communication from the University of Adelaide.

There has never been a more important time to clarify the facts, evaluate evidence-based information, and showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering achievements. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with science. Financial contributions, large or small, help us provide access to reliable scientific information at a time the world needs it most. Support us by donating or purchasing a subscription today. Most people will stop taking antibiotics at some point in their adult lives, so we believe it’s important to understand them. A question we often hear about antibiotics is whether it’s safe to drink alcohol while taking them. In general, we encourage people to talk to their doctors about the specific medications they are taking, but there are some general guidelines that everyone should try to understand.

Alcohol can interact with some antibiotics and cause unpleasant or dangerous side effects. Symptoms can vary with the use of different antibiotics, and each has its own interactions.

How Long After Taking Antibiotics Can You Drink Alcohol

The two most important examples are metronidazole and tinidazole. Both antibiotics can cause pain, dizziness, drowsiness, feeling sick, and other symptoms when taken with alcohol. They will need several days to pass through the body after the treatment period and it is best to avoid alcohol during this time.

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Other antibiotics may have their own interactions with alcohol, but these are usually less severe. They’re extremely irritating and potentially dangerous, so it’s best to avoid them while taking antibiotics unless your doctor specifically says they’re safe.

Beverages are not the only source of alcohol. It is a fairly common ingredient in over-the-counter medicines and mouthwashes. Concentrations are usually fairly low, but in some cases high enough to be medically significant. It is very easy to expose yourself to alcohol while taking these drugs without checking for interactions. Therefore, when prescribing a treatment, it is important to make sure your doctor knows all the medications you are taking and not to add new ones without consulting a specialist.

The human body relies on a specific set of enzymes to break down alcohol. The same enzymes metabolize some antibiotics as well. Drinking alcohol can inhibit these enzymes, preventing them from being properly metabolized so that the antibiotic can do its job. It can increase your risk of developing side effects.

Additional effects can also be an issue. It happens when alcohol and antibiotics have side effects. This usually happens with antibiotics such as metronidazole, inhibitory alcohol, or any antibiotic that causes stomach upset. Mixing the two makes the effects even more powerful. When coordination is disrupted, it can lead to serious accidents, and even simple nausea is very irritating.

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We generally encourage people to avoid alcohol when they feel unwell, but it’s especially important to check for potential problems while taking antibiotics or other medications. The best way to stay safe is to consult a medical professional and follow their advice. A white circle with a black border around an upward-facing V shape. It says ‘Click here to go back to the beginning’.

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How Long After Taking Antibiotics Can You Drink Alcohol

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