Can I drink alcohol if I take antibiotics?

Before starting to talk about whether it is a good idea to mix the antibiotic that the doctor has prescribed with a couple of wines afterwork you have to make a couple of important clarifications. The first is that when we talk about drinking alcohol in this report we propose a low risk or low dose consumption (and always remembering that any dose of alcohol can produce toxic effects). Therefore here we will evaluate, with the help of the doctor Miguel Marcos Martín, of the Alcohol and Alcoholism Working Group of the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine (SEMI)What happens if we combine two beers or two glasses of wine (and only two) with the antibiotics that are fighting bacteria in our body.

On the other hand, the fact that a drug does not interact with alcohol or that the risk of possible interaction between both is small does not allow, in any case, give wide intake to that intake while we are medicating. That is, there are medications that do not interact with alcohol (such as Eutirox, which is used in hypothyroidism), but it is still not possible to say that this is why “there is no danger”, because alcohol, in itself, is a dangerous substance for the organism and we take it too often. We do not say it, says WHO: according to its latest data each Spanish over 15 years of age drinks 10 alcoholic beverages per year in Spain (when the European average is 9.8).

An unnecessary risk

Some antibiotics interact severely with minimal doses of alcohol.

Alcohol can cause drug interactions, that is, mixing both substances alters the effect that produce. “This interaction can cause the appearance of side effects, a decrease in the therapeutic effect of the drug or a greater toxic effect of alcohol. The interactions of alcohol with drugs are potentially very dangerous and can cause serious illness or even death, "says the expert.

In addition, it turns out impossible to set a "safe" limit of alcohol consumption because any consumption can produce toxic effects. "It is very important to influence the fact that some interactions are not related to high doses of alcohol and can appear even with a glass of wine or a beer, ”says the dr. Miguel Marcos Martín.

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So what happens if I mix antibiotics and alcohol?

With certain antibiotics, such as metronidazole (which is usually prescribed for mouth and vaginal infections), there is a risk of potentially serious side effects even when ingesting a minimal dose. Do not drink a drop because the drug interferes with the ability of the body to remove alcohol from the sandre and ends up accumulating in the body.

Other antibiotics suffer a decrease in their effect (this is the case of doxycycline, which is used in skin conditions) or an increased risk of liver toxicity (as is the case with antituberculous).

Instead, a very consumed antibiotic like the amoxicillin does not interact with alcohol … although if amoxicillin and alcohol are combined, irritation of the gastrointestinal mucosa may occur. Given the potential serious effect Of some of these interactions, it is safest to consult with the doctor about what antibiotic you are prescribing and what undesirable effects it can cause us if, in the end, we decide that we cannot give up a glass of wine at dinner.

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