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Macrobid (Nitrofurantoin) and Alcohol Interaction: Can You Drink Alcohol with Macrobid?

Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 6/30/2023

Macrobid (Nitrofurantoin) is an antibiotic that is most commonly used to treat bladder infections. It is important to remember that this medication is only capable of treating bacterial infections and will not work for viral infections (such as cold or flu). Additionally, this medication should not be used to treat infections other than bladder; it should not be used for kidney infections.

This medication is available as capsules, tablets, extended-release capsules, and liquid suspension and is taken by mouth, with food, twice a day (every 12 hours). Some of the most common dosages for treating urinary tract infections in adults are 50-100 mg every 6 hours for standard capsules tablets and suspension, or every 12 hours for extended-release. You should continue taking your prescription as directed for the full course of treatment, even if your symptoms subside, to ensure that the infection does not come back.

There is a warning against the use of magnesium trisilicate antacids while using this medication as they bind with the nitrofurantoin and prevent it from being able to be fully absorbed.

What is Macrobid?

Macrobid is a medication specifically designated for the treatment of urinary tract and bladder infections. It is not meant for addressing kidney infections or bacterial infections in other parts of the body. This drug may be identified by other names, such as nitrofurantoin, Aeration, Macrodantin, or Furdantin. As an antibacterial agent, Macrobid works by inhibiting bacterial growth and multiplication, targeting key cellular processes like cell wall construction, DNA replication, RNA transcription, and protein formation.

Adherence to a Macrobid regimen may lead to several potential side effects, including but not limited to darkened urine, drowsiness, light-headedness, feelings of nausea, reduced appetite, tiredness, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. Although these side effects are generally common, it’s important to seek medical advice from your doctor if they become severe or persist.

What are the Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Macrobid?

Some of the most common side effects of mixing alcohol and Macrobid are anxiety, changes in mood, bloating, and dizziness. While these effects don’t always occur, they’re side effects of Macrobid that can be enhanced when it’s taken with alcohol.

Furthermore, Macrobid can cause these side effects without consuming alcohol. Studies from the CDC show that high doses of medication like Macrobid will cause anxiety, changes in mood, and other health problems.

Below we list the effects of mixing alcohol with macrobid.

  1. Anxiety
  2. Low mood
  3. Headache
  4. Dizziness
  5. Bloating

1. Anxiety

Taking Macrobid leads to an increase of nitrofurantoin in the body. When this occurs it leads to changes in mood and can cause mental health changes. One of these mental health changes is a higher risk of anxiety or panic attacks. Mixing alcohol with Macrobid is even more dangerous because of how alcohol interacts with the brain. It can increase the risk of Macrobid causing panic attacks and anxiety.

2. Low Mood

Macrobid causes mood changes, especially when taken with alcohol. It can cause people to experience fluctuations between an uplifted mood and a depressed mood. These mood fluctuations worsen when Macrobid is combined with large quantities of alcohol.

Because alcohol can also cause mood changes, mixing the substances can reduce dopamine and serotonin in the brain. When this occurs, mood changes happen.

3. Headache

Alcohol and Macrobid will also cause headaches. Headaches are a common side effect of Macrobid and alcohol, which makes headaches more likely if the substances are combined. This side effect also lasts for long periods depending on how much alcohol is consumed. It’s also important to note that alcohol and Macrobid will cause headaches without being mixed with other substances. For this reason, headaches might not be the result of the mixture between alcohol and Macrobid.

4. Dizziness

Macrobid and alcohol also leads to dizziness. Dizziness is worse when the substances are combined. Because of alcohol’s intoxicating effects, the dizziness becomes likely when someone consumes large quantities of alcohol.

Dizziness is also a side effect of Macrobid, so mixing the substances can lead to dizziness and a loss of consciousness. This is one of the most serious and common side effects of mixing alcohol and Macrobid.

5. Bloating

Bloating also occurs when mixing alcohol and Macrobid. Alcohol causes bloating when consumed in large quantities because of how it interacts with the stomach. It irritates the lining of the stomach and causes inflammation that leads to nausea, bloating, and general discomfort.

Macrobid also leads to similar problems in the stomach and will lead to bloating. When the substances are combined, bloating is more common.

Macrobid, on its own, poses a risk for severe dehydration as well. Dehydration is dangerous while you’re being treated for a bladder infection. When combined with alcohol, which is also dehydrating, the risk for dehydration increases.

Does Macrobid Affect the Taste of Alcohol?

There is no evidence to suggest that Macrobid affects the taste of alcohol. That said, it leaves an aftertaste for a few minutes and that aftertaste depends on how long the medication is in the mouth.

If the aftertaste is in the mouth before consuming alcohol, Macrobid impacts the taste. Otherwise, there is no Interaction.

Does Macrobid Affect the Effect of Alcohol?

Yes, Macrobid affects the effect of alcohol. As the two drugs have overlapping symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headache, and dehydration, using these drugs together increases side effects.

It’s also difficult to determine which drug is causing these side effects, when mixed, as well as the severity of the symptoms. Some warning signs and symptoms of severe dehydration include headaches, lethargy, and dizziness.

Can Mixture of Alcohol and Macrobid Lead to Death?

Although rare, there is a small chance that the mixture of alcohol and Macrobid will lead to death. The main concern in this regard is the chance of lung problems.

While the chance for death is small, there is an increased risk of accidentally overdosing when you mix alcohol and Macrobid. Signs of an overdose with this combination are passing out, loss of consciousness, or difficulty breathing. Therefore, alcohol-related death is possible when mixing alcohol with Macrobid

Does the Dosage of Macrobid (Nitrofurantoin) affect the Interaction with Alcohol?

As there is no specific warning against consuming alcohol while taking Macrobid, there are no warnings about specific dosages. Still, even the combination of 50 mg of Macrobid and a few alcoholic beverages is dangerous.

Furthermore, when combining alcohol and Macrobid it’s hard to determine which one is causing undesirable side effects or the severity of those side effects.

The most important thing to remember is that you should only consume alcohol in moderation – regardless of the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Who should not Take Alcohol and Macrobid?

Macrobid and alcohol interactions vary but people who have a high risk of complications include the elderly, women, and people with liver problems. While there is no warning against the combination of alcohol and Macrobid, alcohol should be consumed in moderation.

Those with a history or family history of the conditions we list below should avoid mixing alcohol and Macrobid.

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • A genetic condition called G-6-PD deficiency
  • Lung disease
  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Blood disorders (such as anemia)
  • Diabetes
  • Persistent weakness
  • Eye disorders (such as optic neuritis)

Additionally, people over the age of 65 should avoid this combination because of an increased risk for kidney complications. As you age, kidney function decreases; this medication is processed and removed from the body by the kidneys and increases the strain on them.

Also, people over the age of 65 have a higher risk for complications such as nerve, liver, or lung damage.

Can I Take Macrobid with Alcohol While Pregnant?

No, you can’t take Macrobid with alcohol while pregnant unless your healthcare provider prescribes it. There is a strong warning against the use of Macrobid while pregnant during weeks 38-42 and through labor and delivery. There is a warning because Macrobid sometimes causes blood disorders like hemolytic anemia in the baby.

No one should be consuming alcohol while pregnant due to the risk of serious complications for the fetus or baby. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy results in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which creates life-long problems for infants.

Are all Types of Alcohol Harmful to Macrobid (Nitrofurantoin)?

While not inherently harmful, all types of alcohol have the potential to be harmful when consumed with Macrobid. Still, consuming liquor is often more dangerous because it raises blood alcohol concentration (BAC) faster than other types of alcohol.

Therefore, alcoholic beverages like vodka, moonshine, and whiskey are dangerous to drink with Macrobid. Keep in mind that consuming an excessive amount of beer and wine is just as dangerous.

How Much Macrobid can be Dangerous to Take with Alcohol?

Research shows that average doses 50 to 100 milligrams of Macrobid result in adverse reactions with alcohol. When taking Macrobid, avoid drinking large quantities of alcohol and drinking alcohol daily. Reducing how much alcohol you drink lowers the chances of adverse side effects.

Does Alcohol Affect How Well Macrobid will work?

There is no evidence to suggest that alcohol makes Macrobid less effective or ineffective. However, it’s important to note that alcohol lowers the immune system function, which makes it difficult for your body to fight off infections. This is true even when the body receives help from antibiotics.

As a result, this combination of alcohol and Macrobid results in a longer recovery period. There is also a higher chance that you will feel sick for longer or develop additional infections during treatment.

The liver also processes alcohol before Macrobid, which delays the onset of the medication’s effects in the body.

How Long After Taking Macrobid can You Drink Alcohol?

You can consume alcohol within a few days of your last Macrobid dose. Make sure you wait for Macrobid to leave your system, so for longer prescriptions it’s best to wait for up to 48 to 72 hours.

In some cases, doctors recommend waiting up to a week before consuming alcohol after taking Macrobid. When unsure, always consult with your doctor before mixing Macrobid and alcohol.

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

Many drugs are dangerous to use with alcohol. Mixing any substance or medication with alcohol leads to adverse effects, especially when abusing alcohol. Addiction also becomes a major risk when mixing drugs with alcohol.

We list some of the most dangerous drugs to mix with alcohol below.

Please keep in mind that these are only some of the most dangerous drugs to mix with alcohol. Any drug, when combined with alcohol, can be dangerous if used incorrectly.