Why you shouldn’t drink when taking antibiotics

For people who don’t have a PID, you often need a far shorter course of antibiotics than those who do have one. This is because your own immune system really helps the drugs do their job. However, if you have a PID a 2-4 week course of antibiotics is relatively normal. It’s the Christmas/my birthday/new year period for me and I’m currently taking a 2 week course of Clarithromycin which is my least favourite of all antibiotics I’ve ever taken (and I’ve had a lot!).

Over the holiday season, it’s normal for people to enjoy a drink, but when you’re on antibiotics this is not advisable!

Alcohol often does not actually prevent the antibiotics from working, but can intensify the side effects you feel from both drugs. Antibiotics that specifically instruct not to drink whilst taking them (as some don’t) generally further intensify all of these symptoms. 

These can include:

  • Nausea
  • A racing heart
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Other digestive problems

Also, alcohol can lengthen the time you need to recover, as it dehydrates your body and acts as a depressant, making you feel more tired and listless.

Furthermore, when on any kind of tablet for a long period of time it can cause some damage to your liver (often characterised as jaundice). It is a commonly known fact that alcohol is processed by the liver; and also, when consumed in excess can cause liver damage. Therefore, when ingesting both antibiotics and alcohol you are putting your liver under even greater strain.

Obviously if you are feeling really ill (usually at the time when you are just starting your course of antibiotics), you won’t want a drink. However, 2 weeks in you may be feeling quite well and up for a good time, but is it really worth jeopardizing feeling better for?

I would say it’s just not worth it..

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