Meet Dr Natasha Dole, our resident doc. She’s here to answer your health-related questions.
It’s time to bust another medical myth with #AskADoc!
What’s the deal with drinking while taking antibiotics?
Short answer: it’s probably not a good idea. Some antibiotics cause nausea and vomiting, and this may get worse when you add alcohol to the mix.
Drinking alcohol when you’re unwell is likely to make you feel worse and can be harmful. There are a select few antibiotics that should never be mixed with alcohol. Most doctors and pharmacists will make you aware of these particular antibiotics. If you’re unsure, don’t risk it and rather ask.
The best thing to do is avoid alcohol completely when taking antibiotics. In general, drinking any amount of alcohol while fighting an infection isn’t the smartest thing to do as it can mess with the effectiveness of the antibiotics. Drinking can interrupt normal sleep and that’s essential to you getting better.
Your body will take ages to heal if you drink with your meds
It can also hinder the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Alcohol is a central-nervous-system depressant, and when combined with certain antibiotics you can get the opposite effect and react pretty badly with some serious consequences.
Alcohol is broken down in the liver by specific enzymes (protein molecules) and, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, these enzymes can change how the antibiotics are absorbed and broken down in your body. In other words, drinking on antibiotics can prolong the healing process.
Drinking also causes greater drug toxicity. With antibiotic levels being reduced due to alcohol consumption, you can develop a resistance to the antibiotic. The desired effect can’t be achieved, causing more serious problems.
Just wait it out!
Seizures, dangerously elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and psychotic episodes have also been reported when alcohol is combined with certain antibiotics.
I know we all love our red wine, but think of it this way – most antibiotic courses are only seven days or less, so use that time to heal responsibly.
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