Is mixing antibiotics with beer bad for you? What happens?

The use of antibiotic drugs is indicated to treat infectious conditions caused by bacteria. It is a type of medication that can only be purchased and administered with medical advice, in order to avoid complications.

An example is bacterial resistance : once the medicine is used unnecessarily (or in the wrong way), the body gets used to its effect and will not respond adequately to the action of the antibiotic when necessary.

However, in addition, the doctor will also make considerations regarding essential care during treatment with this medication.

A very common recommendation is not to mix antibiotics with alcoholic beverages, such as beer. But why? Check and understand better about it:


Why can’t you drink while taking antibiotics?

Contrary to what some people think, mixing alcohol with the antibiotic does not cut the effect of the medication. However, it causes changes in the way the medicine acts in the body and can potentiate side effects, as well as cause other complications.

Dr. Francielle Mathias, the pharmacist responsible for the portal Consulta Remédios , explains that this is because alcohol and antibiotics are metabolized in the liver. So that by using both substances at the same time, this organ can be overloaded.

This can cause liver failure and symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, for example.

When drinking alcohol, there is also the possibility of compromising the action of the medication, which can be potentiated and cause intoxication to the body or be reduced, causing changes in the effect of the therapy.

Among these options, the most recurrent is that alcohol decreases the action of the antibiotic, since it contributes to the early elimination of the medication. This is because the drink acts on the lymphatic and digestive systems – responsible for the excretion of many medicines.

Thus, since the antibiotic does not remain in the body for as long as necessary, the treatment may be ineffective. That is, even if alcohol alone does not cut the effect, it can impact the action and the therapeutic results of the medication.

Which antibiotics do not indicate alcohol consumption?

In general, the association of alcohol with any antibiotic is not recommended. However, some in particular bring guidance in the package insert regarding the interaction that can occur when mixing the two substances.

As an example, the following antibiotic drugs can be mentioned:

  • Metronidazole – indicated for the treatment of amebiasis, giardiasis, vaginitis;
  • Tinidazole – indicated for cases of infection of scars and those involving the respiratory tract, the skin, abscesses, among others;
  • Ketoconazole – indicated for systemic fungal infections in cases of ineffectiveness in the treatment performed with other therapies;
  • Nitrofurantoin – indicated for the treatment of urinary tract infections;
  • Isoniazid – indicated for therapy in cases of tuberculosis caused by bacteria sensitive to the action of this drug substance.

Among the side effects that can occur from the consumption of alcohol and antibiotics, there is the “ disulfiram ” reaction . This is characterized by the appearance of symptoms such as headache , abdominal discomfort, tachycardia, redness of the skin and vomiting.

In addition, as mentioned, this association can also cause impairment of the liver and its functions, as well as directly impacting the action of the medicine in the body.

It is worth mentioning that these are just a few examples of antibiotics that contraindicate alcoholic beverages during treatment. Therefore, it is essential to resolve all doubts in advance with the doctor and follow the appropriate recommendations.

What happens if I mix Amoxicillin with beer?

Amoxicillin is one of the antibiotics that does not contain guidance on the interaction with alcohol in the package insert. However, Dr. Francielle reinforces that this does not mean that this association is released in the case of this medication.

One reason is because, among the most common side effects of Amoxicillin, are reactions such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea . So, when mixing the medicine with alcoholic beverages, these adversities can intensify and cause greater complications to the patient, since ethanol is irritating to the gastric mucosa.

Therefore, when this antibiotic is mixed with drinks such as beer, it can aggravate or favor such effects. In addition to the impacts already listed, such as changes in treatment effectiveness.

Despite these factors, some experts indicate that consumption of 1 glass (or 1 can) of beer or wine, for example, may not significantly affect therapy. So, in some cases, the doctor may consider this to be a non-harmful amount.

But this factor should vary according to each case, so it is essential to talk to the professional in advance, in order not to harm the treatment and health.

Regardless, the ideal is still not to perform the association of substances.

Can you drink while taking antibiotics for urinary tract infection?

It is not recommended to drink while taking antibiotics, regardless of what condition is being treated. Some medications contain information on the package insert referring to the dangers of interaction with alcohol, such as Nitrofurantoin.

However, other antibiotics used to treat urinary tract infections do not have this indication in the package insert – this is what happens with Amoxicillin and Azithromycin, for example.

In such cases, the ideal is to not drink and follow medical recommendations regarding treatment. Considering that, in some cases, alcohol withdrawal should last up to a few days after the end of therapy.

This is because some drugs take longer than others to be eliminated from the body. So, even after you stop taking them, they are still active for a few more days in the body. So, consuming alcohol in this period can harm the treatment.

Can you drink zero alcohol beer while taking antibiotics?

-Yeah . Since zero alcohol beer does not have ethanol in its composition, there is no harm in its consumption in conjunction with medications (even antibiotics).

Considering that the danger of associating alcoholic beverages and antibiotics is linked to the overload of the liver due to the metabolism of the two substances, in addition to the potentiation of the adverse effects of both, this risk is non-existent for non-alcoholic beverages.

In this case, beer with zero ethanol content will not damage the effectiveness of the treatment, the action of the medicine in the body or other complications to the health of the patient.