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

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Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 4/15/2022

Azithromycin is a type of antibiotic. It’s used to treat infections that are caused by bacteria. One of the most common uses of azithromycin is treating infections like pink eye. Some of the common name brands of azithromycin are Z-pak, Zithromax, and Zmax. For most people, azithromycin is taken orally but there are some topical creams that people can use for some bacterial rashes.

What are the Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Azithromycin?

Mixing alcohol and azithromycin leads to many effects on the body. In most cases, azithromycin side effects become worse when combined with alcohol. Azithromycin can also enhance the side effects of alcohol, which becomes unpleasant after only a few drinks. Below are the effects of mixing alcohol and azithromycin.

1. Headache

One of the side effects of azithromycin is a headache. When taken in high dosages, it can cause the head to throb, especially if someone fails to drink enough water. When you combine alcohol and azithromycin, the risk of headaches occurring increases. This side effect does not happen to everyone but if it does occur you should stop consuming alcohol immediately. In fact, being hungover can add to the severity of a headache.

2. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of intoxication and azithromycin. When the substances are mixed, the chances of vomiting and being nauseous increase. Alcohol causes feelings of nausea and vomiting because when consumed in high amounts it upsets the stomach. The body also tries to remove excess alcohol when BAC is too high. When azithromycin enters the mix, the chances of vomiting increase. This is because azithromycin causes nausea as a side effect.

3. Dizziness

Dizziness is a common side effect of alcohol and azithromycin. When mixing the substances, it’s not uncommon for people to feel more dizzy than usual. Furthermore, alcohol and azithromycin can cause people to faint or lose consciousness because of this dizziness. Because each substance amplifies the effects of the other, avoiding the combination is advised.

4. Delayed Recovery from Illness

One of the most common issues that occur when mixing alcohol and azithromycin is delayed recovery from illness. Delayed recovery from illness occurs because antibiotics become less effective when consumed with alcohol. Because alcohol irritates the immune system, it takes longer for the body to fight infections. This means that some people have to take azithromycin for longer periods when it’s mixed with alcohol.

5. Liver Damage

The liver is responsible for processing alcohol and some types of medication. While the liver has a hard enough time processing alcohol, adding azithromycin into the mixture forces the liver to work harder. Liver damage isn’t going to happen overnight but mixing alcohol and azithromycin for many days or weeks can lead to liver failure, liver damage, and other liver problems.

Mixing azithromycin and alcohol can also impact other organs negatively.

Does Azithromycin Affect the Taste of Alcohol?

Azithromycin does not affect the taste of alcohol. The only time azithromycin impacts the taste of alcohol is when alcohol is consumed with the medication or directly after taking it. This is because azithromycin leaves a small taste in your mouth. That said, the aftertaste left in the mouth resides in less than five minutes.

Does Alcohol Affect Azithromycin Effects?

Alcohol does not affect azithromycin unless consumed in large quantities. Having a few standard drinks per week will not cause changes in the performance of the medication. To ensure that alcohol doesn’t interact with the medication, you should consult with your doctor before taking it. Furthermore, alcohol consumed in large quantities can cause adverse reactions. One example is the worse side effects of azithromycin medication. As a general rule, you should only consume alcohol in moderation when taking any type of antibiotic.

Can Mixture of Alcohol and Azithromycin Lead to Death?

A mixture of alcohol and azithromycin does not typically lead to death. While it does not cause death in most cases, consuming large amounts of both substances increases the chance of death occurring. In fact, consuming large amounts of alcohol without other medications can lead to death if alcohol poisoning occurs. Still, some allergic reactions between azithromycin and alcohol can lead to death. Before mixing alcohol and azithromycin, make sure you consult with your doctor.

Who should not Take Alcohol and Azithromycin?

Nobody should combine alcohol and azithromycin. Mixing the substances can cause adverse side effects and even death in some cases. While having a few drinks is okay if you’re taking azithromycin, we recommend that you avoid drinking whenever you’re taking medications. That said, people over the age of 65 and people who have liver conditions should not combine the medications. Doing so puts strain on these organs and systems in the body.

Can I Take Azithromycin with Alcohol While Pregnant?

There is not sufficient evidence to suggest that azithromycin causes negative reactions during pregnancy. Therefore, azithromycin is safe to take during pregnancy for most people. Still, you should consult with a doctor before taking any medications during pregnancy. On the other hand, alcohol causes negative reactions during pregnancy. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can result in a miscarriage and serious illness for the mother and child.

Are all Types of Alcohol Harmful with Azithromycin?

Alcohol is not typically harmful to take with azithromycin. If someone has only a few standard drinks, the impact of alcohol on azithromycin is negligent. That said, having more than a few standard drinks with azithromycin can lead to problems. For this reason, liquor is the most harmful type of alcohol to consume with azithromycin. Because liquor can raise blood alcohol concentration (BAC) more rapidly than other types of alcohol, the risk of side effects is greater.

How Much Azithromycin can be Dangerous to Take with Alcohol?

Azithromycin is not typically dangerous with alcohol. That said, consuming large amounts of alcohol with azithromycin can cause negative reactions. Therefore, a dose between 500 and 2,000 milligrams of azithromycin with alcohol can be dangerous. That said, higher doses of azithromycin and alcohol have a higher risk.

How Long After Taking Azithromycin Can I Drink Alcohol?

Azithromycin has a longer half-life than a lot of medications. In most cases, it’s out of your system in between 10 and 20 days. The rate at which it clears from your body depends on the dosage and for how long you’ve been taking it. For some people, azithromycin can last for as long as 15.5 days. Therefore, you should wait for at least 15.5 days before consuming alcohol after you finish taking azithromycin.

Does Alcohol Affect How Well Azithromycin will Work?

Alcohol does not affect how well azithromycin will work. The stipulation is that alcohol can impact how well the antibiotic works if consumed in large quantities. In small amounts (less than 2 standard drinks), azithromycin and alcohol don’t have interactions. That said, large amounts of alcohol can make the side effects of azithromycin worse. In some cases, it can also make the medication less effective because alcohol can suppress the immune system.

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

Drugs aside from azithromycin are also dangerous to mix with alcohol. Some drugs like antidepressants and antibiotics are also rendered less effective when taken with alcohol. That said, you should avoid taking drugs with alcohol unless you consult with your doctor. In most cases, the results are less than desirable.

Below are some of the most dangerous drugs to mix with alcohol.

  • Antidepressants
  • Amoxicillin
  • Amphetamines
  • Penicillin
  • Depressants
  • Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens
  • Opioids
  • ACE inhibitors

These are only a handful of drugs that are dangerous to combine with alcohol.