Let’s first be clear that we are not doctors and medical professionals and you should always listen to your doctor’s instructions. That being said, it can be helpful to understand the reasoning behind some those instructions! That’s why we’re going to take a closer look at a question most of us have asked at some point in our lives: is it ok to drink on antibiotics?

Short answer–it depends on the type of medication and the type of infection that you are fighting.  Remember, different antibiotics actually are designed to target different strains of bacteria. That means that while you might be able to get away with a drink one one kind of antibiotics, you won’t on another. It’s important to know what kind of medication you are taking.

To really understand why it’s usually a bad idea to drink when taking antibiotics you have to first understand what the most common side effects from antibiotics are. Of course those side effects vary depending on what kind you are taking, but the most common are:

  • Nausea
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Rashes
  • Shortness of breath
  • White patches on your tongue

Now, not everyone will experience those side effects. If you do experience any of those side effects you 100% should not be drinking. Why? Because while some antibiotics will react poorly with alcohol, virtually all antibiotics will have significantly worse side effects if you combine them with alcohol.

Combining alcohol with antibiotics can worsen the normal side effects, but it can also bring in a whole slew of different side effects, including:

  • Headaches
  • Chest pains
  • Skin flushing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Breathlessness

If you do decide to drink while on antibiotics, be sure to stop immediately and seek medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms we listed above. There are some antibiotics that simply should never be mixed with alcohol because of the way they react. These include co-trimoxazole, linezolid, doxycycline and erythromycin.

So if you are taking antibiotics, you need to do your research before you decide to have a drink. The consequences are to dire not too. However, most of the time, drinking in moderation should be ok. Of course, the final word will always come from your doctor—always listen to their medical advice.

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