What Happens If I Drink Alcohol When Taking Metronidazole

Alcohol and Prescription Medication
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid alcohol completely when on metronidazole antibiotics, abstain totally from consuming alcohol as it can cause disulfiram-like reactions leading to severe headache, nausea and vomiting.
  • Combining metronidazole and alcohol can cause a potential risk of reduced medication effectiveness. It’s important to prioritize your health and stay compliant with the prescribed regimen.
  • Seek medical attention from your healthcare provider for accurate guidance regarding your metronidazole dosage, duration and alcohol consumption.

Anastrozole ( Arimidex-1mg ) belongs to the drug class non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor. It is a drug that works by boosting testosterone and decreasing estrogen levels in men causing diverse actions. In men, anastrozole is also used to treat conditions related to excess estrogen production, primarily in the context of hormone therapy for certain types of hormone-sensitive cancers or medical conditions.

Let’s discuss a bit about its usage options as well as its side effects.

Cheers or jeers? Metronidazole (Flagyl) antibiotic with alcohol is, no doubt, a risky mix. Let’s explore the potential dangers of combining alcohol with the commonly prescribed antibiotic metronidazole along with the medical advice on this intriguing medical conundrum. Not everyone will face the same adverse effects but it’s better to stay on the safer side and understand what actually happens when we mix them together.

Metronidazole is the commonly prescribed (mostly prescribed in 500mg tablet) antibiotic for different bacterial, parasitic infections, skin infections, rosacea (a long-term inflammatory skin condition), bacterial vaginosis and pelvic inflammatory diseases. It is also available in different dosage forms including metronidazole vaginal gels and sustained-release capsules to treat infections.

Alcohol, commonly known as an alcoholic beverage, is a diverse category of drinks that contains ethanol as an active intoxicating ingredient. Alcohol consumption may have some potential health benefits (e.g: red wine’s association with heart health) but excessive and long-term alcohol use can lead to numerous health risks, such as addiction, liver damage, increased risk of certain cancers, impaired judgment, and a higher likelihood of accidents

It is also said that metronidazole 500mg tablets with alcohol doesn’t cause any side effects which definitely is a myth. Mixing both of these together may present a set of discomforting yet serious symptoms. Let’s discuss what is likely to happen.

Can I take metronidazole with alcohol?

No. When metronidazole is prescribed, it usually is with the caution of not taking it while consuming alcohol. It’s good to stay on the safer side by avoiding them. Metronidazole combined with alcohol shows a disulfiram-like serious reaction when combined with alcohol, such as nausea, and extreme headache.

What should I avoid while taking metronidazole? Ask an Online Doctor

Is having 1 or 2 drinks OK?

No, neither 1 nor 2 drinks are okay with medications. Moderate alcohol consumption is fine normally with no medications but it’s better to avoid drinking while treating any infection by using metronidazole. Alcohol often disrupts the mechanism of action of metronidazole by reversing its action and infection in your body which will present itself with concurrent fever and lethargy.

Metronidazole won’t stay in your body for long. The half-life of metronidazole is typically around 8 to 10 hours in healthy individuals. This means that after one half-life, half of the medication has been cleared from your system, and after two half-lives, approximately 75% of the drug is eliminated. Extreme headache is one of the most common symptoms that shows itself when you take both together.

Side Effects Of Combining Metronidazole and Alcohol

Combining metronidazole and alcohol can result in a range of side effects, some of which can be common and mild, while others can be more serious.

Here is a list of both common and serious side effects that may occur when metronidazole is taken with alcohol.

Common side effects of combining metronidazole with alcohol

  1. Nausea and Vomiting: These are the common symptoms you will be observing when on any antibiotic and they can also present themselves when alcohol is added. While getting the treatment for any antibiotic, especially Nitroimidazoles ( Metronidazole drug class), it’s better to never combine alcohol consumption for rapid healing.
  2. Headaches: Headaches are one of the common side effects of drinking in hangovers. However, they can get pretty serious and worse when combined with antibiotics like metronidazole.
  3. Upset Stomach: Antibiotics cause stomach upset in most cases including diarrhea and cramps, however, alcohol consumption while taking metronidazole antibiotics can worsen the upsetting symptoms.
  4. Dizziness: Both substances can cause dizziness or lightheadedness. Combining them may increase the feeling of being dizzy or unconscious.

Serious side effects of combining metronidazole with alcohol

  1. Disulfiram-like reaction: This is the most important concern when combining metronidazole and alcohol. A disulfiram-like reaction can cause severe nausea, antiperistalsis (Vomiting), abnormal heart rate, flushing, sweating, and low blood pressure.
  2. Central nervous system: Dizziness and lightheadedness are the central nervous system side effects and they can get worse if the alcohol consumption increases.
  3. Liver toxicity: Both alcohol and metronidazole can affect the liver. Combining metronidazole and alcohol may increase the risk of liver damage.
  4. Reduced effectiveness of antibiotics: Alcohol can intervene with the metabolism of metronidazole antibiotics, potentially decreasing its effectiveness in treating the infection it was prescribed for.
  5. Cardiac issues: In rare cases, the combination of metronidazole and alcohol may lead to heart-related problems, such as rapid or irregular heartbeat (tachycardia), chest pain, or palpitations.
  6. Vision disturbances: Sometimes combining metronidazole and alcohol might lead to visual disturbances, such as blurred vision or changes in color perception.
How do I know if metronidazole is working? Speak with Online Doctor

How long should you wait before drinking again?

It is beneficial to wait 48 hours after metronidazole dose consumption before drinking alcohol again. The length of time you should wait before drinking alcohol again after taking metronidazole depends on various factors, including the dosage, duration of treatment, and your body’s ability to metabolize the medication.

To be on the safer side, it’s best to refrain from alcohol drinking during the course of metronidazole treatment and for at least 48 hours after completing the medication. This will allow your body ample time to fully metabolize the drug and reduce the risk of adverse effects.

Consult a Doctor

It’s good to consult a doctor or your healthcare provider if you have accidentally drunk alcohol while taking metronidazole and are now facing symptoms it’s good to seek medical attention as they can provide personalized and valuable advice based on your specific medication history, the dosage of metronidazole you were prescribed, and your overall health condition.

FAQs About Alcohol and Metronidazole

Is Metronidazole addictive?

No, it’s not addictive. It’s an antibiotic that is prescribed for certain bacterial and parasitic infections.

When can I start drinking again after my last dose of Metronidazole?

It’s good to wait 48 hours after the last dose of metronidazole to consume alcohol again. It will give ample time for the body to metabolize metronidazole antibiotics and cause lesser to near zero side effects. It’s also crucial to not start alcohol within 12 hours of taking metronidazole.

How do I get help if I have an alcohol addiction and I am prescribed Metronidazole?

If you have an alcohol addiction and you got metronidazole prescribed it’s good to seek medical consultation as soon as you realize it because combining them can cause severe to crucial effects on your body.

Can I drink alcohol after finishing a course of metronidazole?

Yes, you can, if you have already waited for 48 hours after the last dosage of metronidazole. If not, wait for them to pass and you can consume alcohol again.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Mergenhagen KA, Wattengel BA, Skelly MK, Clark CM, Russo TA. Fact versus Fiction: a Review of the Evidence behind Alcohol and Antibiotic Interactions. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2020 Feb 21;64(3):e02167-19. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02167-19. PMID: 31871085; PMCID: PMC7038249.
  • Medline Plus. Metronidazole
  • Alonzo MM, Lewis TV, Miller JL. Disulfiram-like Reaction With Metronidazole: An Unsuspected Culprit. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Sep-Oct;24(5):445-449. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-24.5.445. PMID: 31598109; PMCID: PMC6782120.
  • Steel, B., Wharton, C. (2020, August 14). Metronidazole and alcohol. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-2012-x
  • Drugs.com. What happens if you drink alcohol with metronidazole?
  • Medscape. Alcohol and Metronidazole Interaction: Real or Fake?

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