Is it harmful to drink alcohol while taking antibiotics?

Antibiotics and alcohol can cause some of the same side effects. These include stomach upset, dizziness and drowsiness. Mixing antibiotics and alcohol can make these side effects worse.

A few antibiotics should not be mixed with any amount of alcohol. These include metronidazole (Flagyl), tinidazole (Tindamax) and sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra). Drinking alcohol with these medicines can cause side effects such as flushing, headache, nausea and vomiting, and fast heart rate.

Also, the antibiotic linezolid (Zyvox) interacts with some alcoholic drinks, including red wine and tap beer. Drinking these with this medicine can cause a harmful rise in blood pressure.

Keep in mind that some cold medicines and mouthwashes also have alcohol. So check the label. Don't use such products while taking these antibiotics.

Modest alcohol use doesn't affect most antibiotics. But drinking alcohol can lower your energy and slow how fast you get better from illness. So it's a good idea not to drink alcohol until you finish your antibiotics and are feeling better.


Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips, current health topics, and expertise on managing health. Click here for an email preview.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

June 06, 2024 See more Expert Answers