Amoxicillin and Alcohol

Taking amoxicillin and drinking alcohol is not a very good idea. This antibiotic has a warning label on it that says, “Do not take in combination with alcohol.”

Due to the significant number of warnings that appear on drug labels these days, patients commonly ask whether this particular warning is a legitimate concern or not. Unfortunately, the answer is “yes,” and it will cause some somewhat uncomfortable side effects.

In particular, because antibiotics are for infections that produce cold-like symptoms, patients should carefully read the over-the-counter medicines’ labels to ensure they don’t include any alcohol.

  • Drinking alcohol while taking any antibiotic decreases the therapeutic, antibiotic, effectiveness of this antibiotic in treating infections.
  • It is unlikely to be life-threatening, but it will increase the time it takes for you to recover from the infection.

The decrease in effectiveness is due to the same enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH)) break down both penicillin-based drugs and alcohol in the liver. Therefore, when alcohol is in the bloodstream, it inhibits those enzymes and slowing down the penicillin derivatives.

  • Doctors generally agree that any amount of alcohol, even as little as a single glass of wine, is too much while you are on antibiotics, including amoxicillin.

Side effects

Dehydration and nausea kick as soon as any amount of alcohol enters the system. These two side effects take a toll on the body and heal. The most common side effects of mixing these two drugs include:

  • Vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Flushed skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathng
  • Chest pain

Besides the unpleasant feelings, these side effects strain the body. Furthermore, it hinders the healing process by forcing the body to spend resources dealing with these side effects rather than healing the infection.

And for the roughly 5% of patients in the United States that are active alcoholics, the best way to avoid problems is to inform your doctor of any alcohol issues.