Monthly Archives: September 2013

Metronidazole and Alcohol – Why They Should Never Be Mixed

Metronidazole is an antibiotic medication that is used for a multitude of bacterial, protozoan, and amoeba-related infection.  This type of antibiotic belongs to a class known as nitromidazoles.  Its main function is inhibiting bacterial and protozoan growth to treat the infection.  Metronidazole is only effective against bacteria and protozoans and will not work against viral infections like cold and flu.  If you are unsure of the condition you have, it is advised not to take metronidazole unnecessarily because its effect may greatly decrease as any bacteria within you may develop resistance against the drug and pass on this trait to any new bacterial infection.

When taking the medication, it is highly advised never to take both metronidazole and alcohol at the same time or within a span of 48 hours.  The reason is not because metronidazole and alcohol do not mix, but because the presence of metronidazole within the body prevents the body’s breaking down of the alcohol that has been consumed.  This condition leads to the buildup of the substance “acetaldehyde” within the bloodstream.  In theory, once you have ingested metronidazole, such buildup may occur within only 10 minutes upon the ingesting of alcohol.  The problem is this condition may last several hours.

The mixing of metronidazole and alcohol is said to result in a condition that can be characterized by headache, shortness of breath, elevated heart rate or irregular heart rate, decreased blood pressure, intense flushing, nausea, and/or vomiting.  The reaction of metronidazole and alcohol with each person may differ which is why the reaction is treated as dangerous because of its unpredictability and that resulting conditions may be very severe in nature.

To date, there are very little published documentation on pharmacological evidence so as to back up the claims on the interaction between metronidazole and alcohol.  However, between 1969-1982 there are reports of such having happened which included 8 patients with 4 being serious and 1 death.  In essence, the interaction or reaction between metronidazole and alcohol cannot truly be established as the condition resulting in such can be considered as very rare or even coincidental occurrences.  Nevertheless, it may be best to simply avoid alcohol while taking metronidazole to be on the safe side.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

When taking metronidazole, in order to get the most out of your treatment, it is highly advised never to take metronidazole and alcohol together, even after a span of 48 hours upon the consumption of metronidazole.  The intake of alcohol has the capacity to make your feel sick and possibly cause you certain unpleasant effects.  Before starting any metronidazole treatment, it may be wise to read the printed information regarding the treatment.  Once you start your treatment, make sure you follow exactly the directions given to you by your doctor, strictly following the dosage given as well as the intervals.  Even if you feel like you are already well, make sure that you finish the course of metronidazole antibiotics given to you by your doctor.