You caught a nasty cold, but you got yourself back on your feet thanks to some medicine and now you wouldn’t mind having a drink with friends after work. But how healthy is it to mix drinks and antibiotics? We asked ourselves this very question and here is the answer.
Are you thinking that a glass of wine or a cold beer on a hot summer day would not completely mess you up health wise? Maybe sometimes you try to rationalize these things, by saying that if you can drive after you’ve had a beer or a glass of wine (Of course, we do not recommend you do that. At all), why should it be any different with antibiotics?
The answer to your quandaries is a bit more complicated than that. It roughly summarizes as “it depends”, according to nhs.uk.
Mixing drinks and antibiotics can be a big deal
The risks you’re taking when you mix drinks and antibiotics depend a lot on the type of medicine you were prescribed by your doctor.
There are some types of antibiotics which can ruin your drink with friends way more than the cold you are treating or your other possible afflictions.
Compounds like metronidazole, tinidazole, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are in the highest risk category. They should never be mixed with even a drop of alcohol because you can have very unpleasant reactions. Among these: head crushing headache, flushing, a much too rapid heartbeat, nausea worse than seasickness, and even vomiting.
With these drugs, you should be careful even what cold medicine you’re taking, because some of them contain alcohol. To be completely on the safe side, just trust your doctor and only take what he or she recommends.
Drinks can amplify side effects
When it comes to the other antibiotics, you can maybe sip a bit of alcohol – and a light type at that – while you’re on antibiotics, but some unlucky individuals will find that the usual side effects of the drugs are amplified when drinking. And we’re talking about an upset stomach, dizziness, and drowsiness.
Your doctor will probably warn you against mixing drinks and antibiotics, because usually when it comes to drinking, the part of your brain that paces itself can be temporarily suspended. A lot of the times, you would just keep drinking, forgetting that it’s against medical orders. Too much alcohol can take a toll on your immune system and exhaust your body, leaving you dehydrated.
That means that drinking sort of negates the purpose of antibiotics: instead on becoming healthier fast, you might be stuck sick for a long while.