Antibiotics and Alcohol: Who is at the Greatest Risk?

 When it comes to the problem of simultaneous consumption of antibiotics and alcohol, we must not forget the fact that the scope of this issue also covers thousands of other prescription drugs which do not fall in the category of antibiotics. Statistics suggest that no less than 70 percent of the adult population in the United States is consuming alcohol from time to while, while about 10 percent of adults regularly drink everyday. If those 10 percent people do not interrupt the habit of daily consumption, then surely they will end up with an instance of simultaneous consumption of antibiotics and alcohol, apart from other prescription drugs.

However, among all the demographic groups, the population segment under the greatest threat of the ill effects of the simultaneous use of antibiotics and alcohol is concerned, are the elderly, especially those above the age 65, who consume just about a third of all the prescription drugs. Since the greatest risk of the consumption of antibiotics and alcohol together is the prolonging or aggravation of the side effects of the drug being used, the older people are more likely to get affected from it than any other people.

Physicians do keep in mind such risks and strictly instruct the patients to avoid the use of alcohol. Consuming antibiotics and alcohol does not really prove lethal, but of course that depends on the kind of interaction of both the drugs that takes place in a particular case, the risk and intensity increase with the age group. Therefore, seniors should especially take care that they avoid the consumption of antibiotics and alcohol, since it could become life threatening in some cases. Better safe than sorry.

Antibiotics and Alcohol: What to Do?

If you love to drink but have been prescribed antibiotics for a particular medical condition recently, then surely you would be encountering the dilemma of whether you should use antibiotics and alcohol together or not. There certainly are some potentially dangerous and even life-threatening effects of the consumption of antibiotics and alcohol simultaneously. But there are some drugs that you should strictly take care of not to take while you consume alcohol. There are just a few groups to keep in mind in this regard, during the use of which the use of alcohol should be strictly avoided.

Among the antibiotics during which the intake of alcohol should be completely avoided are Atabrine or Antimalarial Quinacrine, Furazolidone or Furoxone, Griseofulvin or Grisactin, Tinidazole and Metronidazole. The use of alcohol with these drugs could possibly cause various side effects, such as headache, nausea and vomiting, racy heartbeat, shortness of breath, palpitations and low blood pressure.

Of course, the adverse effects of the simultaneous use of drugs with alcohol are not only confined to antibiotics, but to several other drugs as well. You should avoid using alcohol while taking anesthetics, antidepressants, anticoagulants, antihistamines and drugs taken by people suffering from cardiovascular diseases. There are a number of chemicals which could react with the body in such a way that it could give rise to complications due to the simultaneous consumption of alcohol with these drugs.

It is always the best idea to consult your physician and get a clear advice over the use and risks of antibiotics and alcohol together and you should avoid experimenting with these drugs yourself at all costs.

Antibiotics and Alcohol: The Connection

So have you ever considered the fact that there could be any connection in development of complications if you consume alcohol while you are on antibiotics? The answer to that is yes, but not in a simple way. There can simply be no way that anyone could make a sweeping statement about this issue. The reason for that is the fact that there are a lot of antibiotics, actually various groups of antibiotics, and each and every one of them has a different mechanism of action in the human body. But there is a popular notion that the use of alcohol could affect the effectiveness of the antibiotics.

The reason why some people are concerned about using alcohol and some of the antibiotics at the same time, is because there could possibly be a clash in the way both these chemicals work in the body. Medical experts suggest that with the simultaneous presence of antibiotics and alcohol in the body, both the chemicals compete in how they are neutralized by particular metabolic enzymes in the host body, which could affect the way they work. The consequence of this depends on the medical condition of the person, the requirement and urgency of the antibiotics, the possible side-effects of the antibiotics and the susceptibility of the person to get affected by them.

The truth is that the risks are just not confined to antibiotics and alcohol, but to a number of other drugs as well.

Antibiotics and Alcohol: The Mechanism of Interaction

Antibiotics and alcohol are both drugs, and these chemicals interact with your body as you take them. However, there are a lot of question marks to the effects of both antibiotics and alcohol, when they are consumed together, and the following brief explanation could offer you the answers you are looking for.

There is little doubt that there is an interaction between the simultaneous consumption of antibiotics and alcohol. Drugs work in more or less the similar manner and they compete for the same space in your bloodstream when they are taken together. However, every drug has a different site of action, where it intends to attack in the body.

While the drug could perform the necessary and desired function in the site of action, the problem with simultaneous consumption rises when the action of digestive enzymes, which are supposed to neutralize and breakdown the drug to get rid of it from the body, is delayed and does not work on a particular drug.

Consuming antibiotics and alcohol result in alcohol taking up the digestive enzymes which are supposed to get rid of the antibiotics in the due time, resulting in the prolonged presence of the drug in the bloodstream, exaggerating its effect and resulting in possible side effects over an increased period of time than normal.

But even if these drugs are not taken simultaneously, habitual drinkers may have a greater resistance to antibiotics due to the conditioning of metabolic enzymes in the body, and are therefore prescribed higher dosage. Not every antibiotic or some other prescription drug could result in having an adverse effect with the use of alcohol, but there are a few which could result in aggravating or producing a number of uncomfortable side effects like headache, nausea, racy heartbeat and low blood pressure.

Antibiotics and Alcohol - Is it Safe to Use Both Together?

Is it alright to take alcohol while you are on antibiotics? This is a question which is asked by a number of people who are taking antibiotics for some reason, most probably for the treatment of infections. To answer that question, let us simply consider the fact that both antibiotics and alcohol are drugs, and both affect certain functions in the body. But of course, the point of interest in this question is whether these two drugs interfere with each other or not or whether they cause any harmful physical effect.

There have been a lot of myths around about the consumption of alcohol while a person has taken antibiotics, but that does not mean that you should not recognize the threats that are associated with it. The notion that taking antibiotics and alcohol is suicidal is not correct, but the risks really depend on the type of antibiotics taken, the condition of the patient, the age of the patient and the kind of side effects that could result out of the interaction of both the drugs. It would be extremely careless not to consider the possible risks that could result out of doing so and could lead to deterioration in health and depending on the severity of the situation, even life-threatening.

The complication out of the use of alcohol and antibiotics may or may arise due to taking the drugs simultaneously, since people with habitual alcoholism could also encounter problems with antibiotics, usually requiring higher doses. The possible and the most commonly encountered side effects out of the use of antibiotics and alcohol include headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fast heartbeat, convulsions and flushing. You should not forget that many antibiotics have a lot of severe side effects anyway, and consuming alcohol with them only intensifies the effect.

Myths & Facts of mixing Antibiotics and Alcohol

Many fear that consuming antibiotics and alcohol together can impair the functioning of antibiotics. However, it's not true! We are not aiming to promote alcohol consumption, but rather clear the myth and answer why antibiotics and alcohol should not be consumed together. There are many antibiotics that carry the warning “Do not consume alcohol while using this drug”, while many don't.

Basically, alcohol does not interfere with the antibiotics. The problem is, antibiotics are typically for killing microbes that cause an infection. During this process, they also kill the friendly bacteria in the digestive system and thus cause stomach irritation, stomach upset or acidity. Alcohol also disrupts the digestive system, so with antibiotics and alcohol combined, the outcome is unbearable!

Not only that, alcohol consumption makes a person tired and weak. When antibiotics and alcohol are consumed together, the illness takes longer time to heal as the energy level is considerably low. Elderly people suffer more if both are combined, however with younger people the outcome is often not obvious. Scientifically, antibiotics and alcohol together were not a problem except in the case of metronidazole, where it's fatal. However, with both combined, the other associated problems with antibiotic usage like stomach upset or vomiting only increased.

There are various antibiotics that react when combined with alcohol. Using these antibiotics and alcohol can result in illness, fatigue, nausea, headache,cramps and can lead to death in few cases. So it's better to avoid consuming both together, to avoid complications and also to speedup the healing process.