Does Alcohol Make Antibiotics Ineffective?
Doctors usually recommend that patients who are taking antibiotics avoid alcohol for the duration of their dosage. Alcohol does not reduce the antibiotics’ effectiveness, but may increase negative side effects.
Though alcohol will not reduce a medicine’s effectiveness, it might increase its negative side effects. These could include dizziness, stomach nausea and drowsiness. Alcohol on its own causes these side effects, so combining could double the influence.
According to Dr. James Steckelberg, chronic alcohol use or binge drinking “may cause changes in the way some drugs, including antibiotics such as doxycycline (Vibramycin, Doryx), are metabolized.” This means a higher dosage of antibiotics might be required to achieve the same effect.
These antibiotics are more dangerous than others when combined with alcohol: metronidazole, tinidazole and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. These result in more severe side effects such as vomiting and fever. Metronidazole, for example, is one of the chemicals used in drugs that alcoholics take to feel nausea when drinking.