Metronidazole (Flagyl) and Alcohol: Read This Before Mixing

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metronidazole and alcohol

Metronidazole a common antibiotic is commonly sold under the brand name Flagyl. Also, it’s available as a generic drug. It’s often prescribed as an oral tablet, but it’s also prescribed as a vaginal suppository and a tropical cream. It is commonly used to treat a variety of bacterial infections.

Is alcohol a stimulant or a depressant? Doctors and pharmacists advise you should avoid drinking alcohol while taking metronidazole in any form because it can be hazardous. A 1996 case study reports the death of a 31-year-old woman who combined alcohol with metronidazole.

Serious Concerns with Alcohol

Metronidazole when used on its own causes the following side effects:

  • Discolored urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Tingling hands and feet

These are unpleasant, but drinking alcohol within three days of using metronidazole can cause other unwanted effects, too. Face flushing (warmth and redness) is the most common, but other unwanted side effects include:

  • Cramps
  • Abdominal pains
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting

Further, combining metronidazole with alcohol can cause severe side effects which include rapid heart rate, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and even liver damage. Thus, when taking antibiotics, such as metronidazole you should watch your alcohol abstinence timeline carefully.

More About Metronidazole

Metronidazole can treat various bacterial infections. These include bacterial infections of the:

  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Reproductive system
  • Vagina
  • Skin

Typically, you take metronidazole up to three times per day for 10 days depending on the type of bacterial infection.

It’s common for people taking antibiotics to feel better before they’ve taken all the medication.

However, it’s essential to take all of your antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor. Failing to finish your antibiotic medication as prescribed can lead to bacterial resistance making the drug less effective. So, don’t stop taking metronidazole early so that you can drink.

If you experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms while taking your metronidazole medication, don’t be afraid to tell your doctor about your experience. Withdrawal symptoms can also occur during tweaking.

Additional Considerations for Using Metronidazole Safely

mixing alcohol and metronidazole

Tell your doctor about all of the medications you take, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements; this way you’ll be safe. Also, tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

Apart from alcohol, there are other precautions to take when using metronidazole:

Use of Blood Thinners

Metronidazole can boost the efficiency of blood thinners like Warfarin which can increase your risk of abnormal bleeding. Thus, if you take a blood thinner, your doctor may need to decrease its dose while you take metronidazole.

Existing Kidney or Liver Disease

This drug can be hard on your liver or kidney. Thus, taking it if you have kidney or liver disease may worsen these diseases. In this case, your doctor may reduce your dose or give prescribe you a different drug.

Existing Crohn’s Disease

Taking this drug can complicate Crohn’s disease. If you have Crohn’s disease your doctor will limit your dose of metronidazole or give you a different drug.

Sun Exposure

Using metronidazole can make your skin sensitive to the sun. So, while taking this drug ensure you limit sun exposure. You can do this by applying sunscreen, wearing hats, and long-sleeved clothing when going outside.

Final Thoughts

When taking metronidazole, it’s important to avoid alcohol. Because mixing metronidazole with alcohol can cause further reactions in addition to the regular side effects of this drug. Some of the reactions may be severe. The common duration of treatment with metronidazole is only 10 days; however, it’s essential to wait at least three more days after your last dose before drinking. Typically, metronidazole treatment is short. And waiting a couple of days before drinking will save you a lot of trouble.

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