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

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Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 4/09/2022

Clindamycin is a type of antibiotic that’s used to treat skin irritations, vaginal infections, and other infections. As a drug, it’s in the class of lincosamides and is one of many medications in this class. The medication works by slowing the growth of bacteria. It’s also a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means it can reach many tissues within the body. For these reasons, it does have side effects and has interactions with other drugs.

What are the Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Clindamycin?

Mixing alcohol and clindamycin leads to many effects. While some effects don’t occur unless moderate amounts of alcohol are consumed, allergic reactions are possible when drinking alcohol and taking clindamycin. Furthermore, some effects can lead to severe short-term and long-term health problems. We’ll take you through some of the common effects of mixing alcohol and clindamycin.

1. Nausea

First and foremost, mixing alcohol and clindamycin can make you nauseous. Alcohol can make individuals nauseous without additional medications, so this is already a risk. Moreover, clindamycin can impact bacteria in the gut. When the antibiotic slows the growth of healthy gut bacteria this can cause irritation and other problems. Alcohol can also damage bacteria in the gut, which makes this side effect of clindamycin more prominent. Nausea can also cause vomiting and other side effects like diarrhea.

2. Dizziness and Lightheadedness

Dizziness and lightheadedness can also occur when taking clindamycin with alcohol. A side effect of clindamycin when taken in high doses is dizziness and lightheadedness, which become amplified when someone is intoxicated from alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption in small amounts doesn’t always lead to this side effect but as someone consumes more alcohol the risk increases. Therefore, mixing alcohol with clindamycin can lead to passing out, loss of consciousness, and even fainting.

3. Sleepiness

Clindamycin is a strong antibiotic, especially at high doses. Taking clindamycin can lead to drowsiness and sleepiness but this side effect is not typically harmful by itself. However, adding alcohol into the mix can make this side effect of clindamycin worse. Because alcohol also makes people drowsy, mixing alcohol and clindamycin can lead to people passing out or falling asleep. This can be dangerous when driving and performing other activities. It’s also important to note that this side effect can occur when small amounts of alcohol are consumed, which makes it one of the most common interactions between clindamycin and alcohol.

4. Diarrhea

Alcohol and clindamycin can also cause diarrhea when mixed. Diarrhea is a side effect of both alcohol and clindamycin, so when they’re mixed it amplifies these effects. Diarrhea is a side effect of this combination because of how alcohol and clindamycin impact the stomach. Alcohol and clindamycin can lead to healthy gut bacteria becoming damaged, which leads to stomach problems. Diarrhea becomes more prevalent when alcohol and clindamycin are mixed in high doses.

Does Clindamycin Affect the Taste of Alcohol?

Clindamycin does not affect the taste of alcohol. When used as a cream, it has no impact on the taste even if you consume alcohol while using the cream. On the other hand, taking oral clindamycin can impact the taste of alcohol but only briefly. If someone consumes alcohol right after taking the medication it can taste different because of the aftertaste that alcohol leaves in the mouth. Once the aftertaste is gone, alcohol will taste normal.

Does Clindamycin Affect the Effect of Alcohol?

Clindamycin does not interact with alcohol but it can make intoxication feel more intense. In fact, clindamycin can make the side effects of alcohol worse. This means that clindamycin can increase the risk of diarrhea, lightheadedness, stomach problems, drowsiness, and even dizziness. While clindamycin does not impact the effect of alcohol in small amounts, its effects become worse as more alcohol is consumed. Higher doses of clindamycin can also have a more prominent effect on the effect of alcohol.

Can Mixture of Alcohol and Clindamycin Lead to Death?

A mixture of clindamycin and alcohol can lead to death but it’s not likely. If the mixture does lead to death it’s typically because large amounts of alcohol were consumed with a high dose of clindamycin. Death from alcohol and clindamycin is also more likely if there is an allergic reaction. Although uncommon, some allergic reactions can occur when taking the medications. You should consult with your doctor before mixing the medications.

Can You Drink Alcohol While Using Clindamycin Cream?

Yes, you can drink small amounts of alcohol when using clindamycin cream. Small amounts of alcohol don’t have an impact on the effectiveness of the cream, so it’s typically safe. Still, moderate alcohol consumption can hinder your body’s ability to fight infections. Therefore, binge drinking or consuming large amounts of alcohol can make the cream less effective. This increases the time it takes for your body to recover from infections and other illnesses.

Who should not Take Alcohol and Clindamycin?

Alcohol and clindamycin can be mixed in small amounts but some individuals should avoid clindamycin and alcohol entirely. These are people who have a history of pseudomembranous or ulcerative colitis. These conditions make alcohol and clindamycin more likely to irritate the lining of the stomach, which can cause ulcers and bleeding. People who are over the age of 65 or pregnant should also avoid mixing the medications.

Can I Take Clindamycin with Alcohol While Pregnant?

No, you can’t take clindamycin and alcohol while pregnant. When pregnant, you should avoid alcohol. Alcohol during pregnancy can cause many adverse effects like fetal alcohol syndrome, miscarriages, and even cause illness in the individual carrying the baby. Clindamycin can also have interactions with pregnancy and impact the mother or child. While this doesn’t happen during every pregnancy, it’s important to consult with your doctor before using clindamycin creams.

Are all Types of Alcohol Harmful with Clindamycin?

All types of alcohol can be harmful to consume with clindamycin. Small amounts of alcohol don’t typically cause a reaction but moderate drinking can lead to adverse effects. In fact, moderate drinking can cause clindamycin side effects to become more prominent. For these reasons, liquor is the most harmful alcohol to mix with clindamycin. Liquor is the most dangerous type of alcohol to mix because it can raise blood alcohol concentration (BAC) more rapidly than other types of alcohol. It raises BAC fast because it has more alcohol than beer and wine.

How Much Clindamycin can be Dangerous to Take with Alcohol?

Any amount of clindamycin is harmful to take with alcohol. Even the most common dosage between 150 and 450 milligrams is dangerous to take with alcohol if large amounts of alcohol are consumed. That said, alcohol is safe to consume with clindamycin in small amounts. For this reason, it depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and the dosage of clindamycin.

Does Alcohol Affect How Well Clindamycin will Work?

Alcohol can impact how well clindamycin works. This is because alcohol can make it harder for the body to fight infections. Clindamycin is designed to help the body fight infections, so mixing the substances can make it harder for clindamycin to remove bacteria in the body. Small amounts of alcohol don’t impact how well it works but larger amounts of alcohol make clindamycin much less effective.

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

Many drugs are dangerous to mix with alcohol. Several drugs can even cause death and serious health complications when mixed with alcohol. While clindamycin is safe to consume with alcohol in small amounts, this is not the case with every drug. For these reasons, it’s important to understand what drugs cause negative reactions.

Some drugs that are dangerous to mix with alcohol are listed below.

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Xanax
  • Birth control
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Amphetamines
  • Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens

There are also other dangerous drugs to mix with alcohol, so you should always consult with a medical professional before mixing alcohol with anything.