Alcohol and Antibiotics - Garden State Treatment Center

Almost everyone wonders if they can drink alcohol while taking antibiotics. As health experts, we say no. We often get questions about using levofloxacin and alcohol together, while some inquiries concern Levaquin and alcohol. Neither drug interacts well with alcohol, leaving you to deal with the consequences. We understand you need to use antibiotics sometimes for UTIs or other bacterial infections. However, taking them when you drink an amount of alcohol can create problems you do not want.

Alcohol and Antibiotics

At Garden State Treatment Center, we always tell you the straight truth. If you keep reading, you can see that we rely on facts. You can count on us to tell you the best things to do for your health. Our honesty and knowledge require us to tell you the things not to do also.


Some of the unpleasant effects you get from alcohol may occur from antibiotics, too. When you combine them, you get a double dose of side effects. Levaquin and alcohol can upset your stomach and make you dizzy or drowsy. The same thing happens when you use levofloxacin and alcohol. While these two drugs may not produce a dangerous reaction, many other antibiotics can create a potentially serious condition.

Package labels warn you not to use either drug with alcohol, and you take a risk when you ignore them. In addition, the combination of either drug or both with alcohol can cause memory loss and confusion. Disturbances in attention can make it unsafe for you to drive, operate machinery, or accept responsibilities for the welfare of others.


There are hundreds of different types of antibiotics, but most of it are classified into six groups of common antibiotics, according to the National Health Service (NHS).

  1. Penicillins – this is frequently used to treat a number of illnesses, including skin infections, chest infections, and urinary tract infections. Examples of penicillins include penicillin, amoxicillin, co-amoxiclav, flucloxacillin, and phenoxymethylpenicillin.
  2. Aminoglycosides (such as gentamicin and tobramycin)- Since they can have major adverse effects like hearing loss and kidney damage, they are often only used in hospitals to treat very serious illnesses like sepsis. They are typically administered by injection but may also be administered as drops for specific ear or eye infections.
  3. Cephalosporins (such as cefalexin) – are used to treat various illnesses, but some of them are particularly useful for treating more severe infections, like sepsis and meningitis.
  4. Tetracyclines (such as tetracycline, doxycycline, and lymecycline) – can be used to treat a variety of infections, although they’re most frequently used to treat rosacea and acne.
  5. Fluoroquinolones (such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin) – are broad-spectrum antibiotics that were originally used to treat a variety of illnesses, including respiratory and urinary tract infections; these antibiotics are no longer regularly used due to the potential for major adverse effects.
  6. Macrolides (such as azithromycin, erythromycin, and clarithromycin) – can be very helpful for treating lung and chest infections, or as a replacement for penicillin for those who have an allergy to it, or for treating germs that are resistant to it.

Other antibiotics include nitrofurantoin and trimethoprim (used for urinary tract infections), fusidic acid (used for skin and eye infections), and doctors prescribing metronidazole drugs for skin infections, leg ulcers, pressure sores, and vaginal or oral infections. 

Aside from that, there is tinidazole, an antibiotic that is occasionally used to treat many of the same infections as metronidazole which also aids in the elimination of the gut bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), and chloramphenicol (used for eye and ear infections).


We understand that you may want a drink when you have a UTI, but it defeats the purpose of healing medicine. Alcohol can make it take longer to get rid of the infection, leaving you in extreme discomfort for longer than you need otherwise. In addition, antibiotics can lose their strength when you drink alcohol. So, not only does it take longer to heal, but the quality of your recovery suffers, too.

As your body processes alcohol, it produces reactions that can cause nausea. When you take antibiotics, you may already feel some digestive side effects. Unfortunately, the feelings of nausea can increase when you drink alcohol.

While you probably know that drinking alcohol causes liver damage or liver disease, you may not realize it can also affect your immune system as well. When your body tries to rid itself of an infection, it needs help from you to avoid making things worse. Medical advice is a must.


Drinking too much makes your body subject to attack by disease. Chronic drinkers face a greater risk of getting pneumonia or tuberculosis than those who drink less. However, as you try to recover from a UTI attack, alcohol makes it more difficult. Drinking a lot on even one occasion to take a break from the discomfort you feel may make it tricky for you to defend against infections. Depending on how much you drink to relieve the pain of an infection, it can take 24 hours for the effects to stop interfering with getting well.


You may temporarily relieve stress when you drink, but nothing else in your body benefits from it. The damage seems to accumulate over time, but you can see an immediate reaction in your organs. So, when you see the impact of alcohol on your body, it makes sense that antibiotics make it harder for them to do their job.


Alcohol affects the way your brain works. Changes to the communication pathways affect your mood, behavior, movement, and ability to think clearly.


Drinking too much on any one occasion can damage your heart, depending on how much time passes. It can stretch your heart muscle and make it droop. As a result, you can get an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, or even a stroke.


As the organ that processes the alcohol you drink, it can become inflamed or fatty in response. Fibrosis and cirrhosis commonly result from heavy drinking.


Alcohol makes your pancreas produce toxins that eventually prevent it from helping you digest food.


While not a pleasant thought to consider, research shows that the more you drink, the more your risk of cancer increases. The effects accumulate and get worse over time.


We know that you may find it confusing to think about how your body reacts to alcohol and drugs. Our board-certified physician in Family Medicine wants to ensure you have the information you need to make good decisions. Our experienced staff of expert healthcare providers places your welfare as the top priority. We can assist you through any issues concerning Levaquin and alcohol, levofloxacin and alcohol, or any other treatment matters.

The antibiotics you take can achieve the effect you need by traveling through your bloodstream to the site of the infection. Then, it makes the changes you need. The effects of medication become less as your body processes and eliminate them. An antibiotic’s effect when it reaches the infection depends on retaining its healing availability. Unfortunately, alcohol can change its availability. It competes with the drug for processing and can make the drug more likely to produce side effects.


About 70 percent of American adults drink alcohol at least once in a while, and research suggests that 10 percent drink daily. About twice as many men as women have had at least one adverse life event related to alcohol. An event may not amount to more than an argument with a family member, but many results in more serious outcomes.

The potential for interaction problems becomes greater when considering the wide use of drugs in the country. Americans have access to more than 2,800 drugs that require a prescription. In addition to them, anyone can buy 2,000 medicines that do not need a doctor’s order. As a result, physicians write about 14 billion prescriptions each year.

When you match alcohol use with the availability of prescription drugs, it seems clear that concurrent use may happen pretty often. However, researchers find that the elderly population seems more likely to have medication interaction side effects than younger people. The Centers for Disease Control notes that 1 out of 5 visits to the emergency room for medicine-related problems result from a reaction to antibiotics.


Levofloxacin and alcohol or Levaquin and alcohol can change the effects of alcohol, medicine, or both. The interaction can happen even with moderate drinking and produce adverse health effects. Either they prevent the antibiotic from working or make the drug more powerful. Both types of interactions may occur at the same time.

After reading about mixing antibiotics or drugs that treat UTIs with alcohol, you know you can get some unpleasant side effects. Drowsiness and dizziness may occur with an upset stomach as they prevent the medicine from doing its job. However, some other antibiotics can cause more serious side effects.

Three antibiotics that we recommend you avoid include Flagyl, Tindamax, and Bactrim. A severe reaction can occur if you drink any alcohol while you take these drugs. Responses may include flushing and a rapid heart rate. A headache with nausea and vomiting can make you feel terrible. In addition, Zyvox can interact with red wine, tap beer, and other alcoholic beverages to create a dangerous increase in your blood pressure.

Also, wine, beer, sherry, and lager are examples of undistilled (fermented) alcoholic beverages that may interact with the medication linezolid. Furthermore, doxycycline may be less effective in patients with a history of heavy drinking since alcohol consumption can decrease this medication’s effectiveness.


Because antibiotics and alcohol have certain things in common, you may wonder what makes them different from each other. First, both have addictive substances that can harm your body. Second, age provides the only restriction against buying an alcoholic beverage, while drugs require a prescription. Third, your body can absorb only a few of the various kinds of alcohol because the others produce toxicity. However, your body can absorb drugs that treat specific conditions if you do not take too much.

Some drugs may produce allergic reactions, including itching, rashes, fever, watery eyes, and swelling. Anaphylaxis, a hazardous condition, causes low blood pressure and other symptoms. Alcohol allergies present some of the same symptoms. They may show up as a headache, nausea, vomiting, or rapid heartbeat. Alcohol allergies can create anaphylaxis, too, and it may take nothing more than a sip of wine or beer to start a reaction.


When you think of how alcohol helps you relax and forget about worries, you may start to think of it as a good friend. Always available and ready to help, it can seem like the best friend you ever had. However, it stops acting like a pal when it starts making demands that harm you. Most friendships have a give-and-take relationship, where everyone gets what they want part of the time. Alcohol does not behave like that.

Even when you know that mixing levofloxacin and alcohol or Levaquin and alcohol can cause harm, your body may still want you to drink. By then, you may understand that alcohol has become a threat to your well-being and not a friend. When you realize that you have no choice in the matter, we can help you regain control of your life and decisions.


We believe everyone can change and choose a path to fulfillment and enjoyable life. Unlike other treatment programs, we know everyone who comes to us has a unique life experience.

Therefore, we treat you as an individual with your own set of circumstances. At Garden State Treatment Center, you can find an outpatient treatment that suits you perfectly. Let us hear from you on our Live Chat feature online, or call us today.


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Published on: 2024-05-13
Updated on: 2024-05-13

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