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Augmentin and Alcohol Interaction: Can You Drink Alcohol with Augmentin?


Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 8/12/2022

Augmentin, which is a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium, is a penicillin-type antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. It will not work for viral infections (cold or flu) but it’s effective for ear and lung infections caused by bacteria.

Augmentin is available as extended-release tablets, immediate-release tablets, and liquid. The dosage varies based on the infection being treated but some of the most common dosage is 500mg every 8-12 hours. The general treatment length is between 3 and 7 days.

What are the Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Augmentin?

Augmentin is a safe medication to take. It treats a handful of ailments and works well with some other medications. However, it does have side effects. Some of the most common side effects of Augmentin are below.

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

These three side effects are also side effects of alcohol intoxication. If you are mixing alcohol with augmentin, these side effects may be amplified, making it difficult to determine which drug is causing them.

Some more serious side effects are found below.

  • Dark urine
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Severe stomach or abdominal pain
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Unusual tiredness

Most of these symptoms are also warning signs of a more serious underlying problem. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact a healthcare professional or seek medical attention immediately.

There is also a risk of developing Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). C. difficile is a bacteria that causes infection of the large intestine (colon) and presents many different ways. While some people may only experience diarrhea, it has the potential to develop into life-threatening damage to the colon. Due this infection, dehydration also becomes a major risk factor.

Is There any Research that Shows the Risks of Augmentin and Alcohol Interaction?

There is some research that shows the risks of augmentin and alcohol interaction. Most research focuses on whether or not alcohol negates the effectiveness of antibiotics. One such article that discusses this topic is “Fact versus Fiction: a Review of the Evidence behind Alcohol and Antibiotic Interactions,” by Kari A. Mergenhagen et al.

In Kari’s article, she discusses the ways in which amoxicillin (a major element of augmentin) has a delayed absorption rate when mixed with alcohol. Therefore, alcohol delays Augmentin’s release in the body.

Does Augmentin Affect the Taste of Alcohol?

There is no evidence to suggest that the tablets of augmentin have any effect on the taste of alcohol. The oral liquid, however, may leave an aftertaste in your mouth. When this aftertaste happens, it takes a few minutes for it to go away.

Overall, you shouldn’t notice a significant difference in taste when drinking alcohol and taking Augmentin.

Can Mixture of Alcohol and Augmentin Lead to Death?

It is unlikely but, yes, it’s possible for the mixture of alcohol and Augmentin to lead to death. Overdose is possible with this combination and may appear as the following symptoms listed below.

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • hyperactivity

If you are experiencing any of these serious side effects, please contact a healthcare professional or emergency medical services. Otherwise, alcohol-related death is likely.

Who should not Take Alcohol and Augmentin?

While no one should be taking alcohol and augmentin, there are some people who are at a higher risk for more serious side effects or complications. These groups vary but the most common include people who are allergic to antibiotics, people over the age of 65, and women who are pregnant. In fact, women who are pregnant shouldn’t consume alcohol at all.

Keep in mind that these are only some of the higher at-risk groups and if you intend to mix alcohol and augmentin you should speak to your doctor first. The mixture of augmentin and alcohol has the possibility to cause serious side effects for anyone.

Are All Types of Alcohol Harmful with Augmentin?

No, all types of alcohol are not necessarily harmful with augmentin as long as they are consumed in moderation. As there is a significant risk for liver and kidney damage when mixing alcohol and augmentin, you are putting your liver and kidneys under an additional stress when mixing the two, so practicing moderation becomes imperative.

The daily recommended amount of alcohol intake is 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men. One alcoholic drink is considered to be either 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Please keep in mind that the interaction between alcohol and augmentin has the possibility to result in adverse side effects or overdose if misused or abused. Additionally, if you fall into one of the at-risk categories, any amount of alcohol can be dangerous with augmentin.

How Much Augmentin Can be Dangerous to Take with alcohol?

There are no specific warnings against drinking alcohol with augmentin, as long as alcohol is consumed in moderation and augmentin is taken as directed. However, those with pre-existing medical conditions, especially liver or kidney disease, are at a higher risk for side effects from the combination of augmentin and alcohol.

That said, even low doses of Augmentin are dangerous to mix with alcohol if someone has an allergy. Therefore, it’s necessary to consult with your doctor before mixing 500 mg doses with Augmentin. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

How Long Should You Wait to Drink Alcohol after Taking Augmentin?

There is no strict warning against consuming alcohol while taking augmentin. That said, we recommend waiting 48-72 hours after finishing your course of augmentin to drink alcohol. Waiting ensures that all of the Augmentin is out of your system, which makes it safer to consume alcohol.

It’s also important to note that the length of treatment plays a role in when you can drink again. Longer treatment cycles require longer waiting periods.

Does Alcohol Affect How Well Augmentin will Work?

There is no evidence to suggest that alcohol impacts the effectiveness of augmentin (directly). However, as alcohol lowers your immune system, it is possible that it may take a longer time for you to recover from the illness. There is evidence, as well, that alcohol affects the rate at which augmentin is absorbed by the body.

Augmentin becomes less effective when consumed with alcohol because the liver needs to process the alcohol first. When the liver processes alcohol first, absorption of Augmentin is delayed. This will often damage the potential of Augmentin to treat infections.

Additionally, if you fit into a group that is more at risk for adverse side effects of alcohol and augmentin, you may experience less of the beneficial aspects of the medication.

What Are Other Drugs That Are Dangerous To Use With Alcohol?

Many drugs are dangerous to use with alcohol. Alcohol interacts with the entire body, so mixing anything with alcohol leads to adverse effects. It’s for this reason that you need to consult with your doctor before mixing alcohol with other drugs or medications.

While there are many drugs that have dangerous interactions with alcohol, some of the most dangerous are listed below.

Keep in mind that any drug mixed with alcohol will pose a risk for serious side effects. If you’re unsure about the potential side effects, always speak to your healthcare provider first.