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

Last Updated: 4/15/2022

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 50-100mg every 6 hours for standard capsules tablets and suspension, or every 12 hours for extended-release. This medication will generally be prescribed for 7 days, or longer depending on the severity of the infection. 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-containing antacids while using this medication as they can bind with the nitrofurantoin and prevent it from being able to be fully absorbed.

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.

1. Anxiety

Taking Macrobid can lead 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 an increased risk of anxiety or panic attacks. Macrobid when combined with alcohol 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 can cause 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 become worse 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 as a result.

3. Headache

Alcohol and Macrobid can 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 can also last for an extended period depending on how much alcohol is consumed. It’s also important to note that alcohol and Macrobid can cause headaches without being mixed with other substances. For this reason, headaches might not be a result of the mixture between alcohol and Macrobid.

4. Dizziness

Macrobid and alcohol can also cause dizziness. This effect is made worse when the substances are combined. Because of alcohol’s intoxicating effects, the dizziness becomes more likely when someone is consuming 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 can also occur 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 causes similar problems in the stomach and can lead to bloating. When the substances are combined, bloating becomes more common.

Macrobid, on its own, poses a risk for severe dehydration which is especially dangerous while you are being treated for a bladder infection. When combined with alcohol, which is also dehydrating, there is an increased risk for severe dehydration.

Does Macrobid Affect the Taste of Alcohol?

There is no evidence to suggest that Macrobid will affect the taste of alcohol. That said, it can leave an aftertaste. If the aftertaste is in the mouth before consuming alcohol, Macrobid can impact the taste. Otherwise, there is no Interaction.

Does Macrobid Affect the Effect of Alcohol?

Yes, Macrobid can affect the effect of alcohol. As the two drugs have overlapping symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headache, and dehydration, when using these two drugs together these side effects may be amplified. It can also be 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 can lead to death. The main concern in this regard would be the chance of lung problems.

While the chance for death may be small, there is an increased risk of accidental overdose when these two medications are combined. Signs of an overdose with this combination may look like passing out, loss of consciousness, or difficulty breathing.

Does 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. However, when combining two substances it may be difficult to determine which one is causing undesirable side effects or the severity of those side effects.

The most important thing to remember is that alcohol should be consumed in moderation regardless of what dosage of Macrobid you are being prescribed.

Who should not Take Alcohol and Macrobid?

While there is no warning against the combination of alcohol and Macrobid, alcohol should be consumed in moderation. It is important to remember that alcohol can cause problems with any drug when not used correctly and with caution. Some people who should avoid mixing alcohol and Macrobid, as they may face a higher chance for adverse or severe side effects, include:

Those with a history or family history of:

  • 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, those over 65 should avoid this combination because of an increased risk for kidney complications. As you get older, kidney function can decrease; this medication is processed and removed from the body by the kidneys and can put an increased strain on them. Also, those over the age of 65 may be at an increased risk for complications such as nerve, liver, or lung damage.

Can I Take Macrobid with Alcohol While Pregnant?

No, you cannot take Macrobid with alcohol while pregnant, unless it is deemed necessary by your healthcare provider. There is a strong warning against the use of Macrobid while pregnant during weeks 38-42 and through labor and delivery, as it is known to cause blood disorders such as 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 can result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) which can cause life-long, irreversible developmental and growth complications for the baby.

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

While not inherently harmful, all types of alcohol have the potential to be harmful with Macrobid if used incorrectly or abused.
When used in moderation, there is still a small chance for serious complications or side effects, and as such, this combination should be treated with extreme caution.

How Much Macrobid can be Dangerous to Take with Alcohol?

While there is no specific warning against consuming alcohol with Macrobid, and each person may experience different side effects from the combination, there is no specific amount of alcohol that is deemed safe to take with Macrobid.

Alcohol should be consumed in moderation and with extreme caution while taking Macrobid. The recommended moderate alcohol intake is defined as 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men. One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Does Alcohol Affect How Well Macrobid will work?

There is no evidence to suggest that alcohol makes Macrobid less effective or ineffective. However, it is important to be aware that alcohol is known to lower the immune system which can make it more difficult for your body to fight off infections, even when aided by an antibiotic. As a result, this combination can result in a delayed or longer recovery period and poses a higher chance that you may feel sick for longer or develop additional infections during treatment.

How Long After Taking Macrobid can You Drink Alcohol?

While there is no warning against the consumption of alcohol, in moderation, while taking Macrobid, the best practice is to wait until you have finished your course of treatment before drinking alcohol to give your body the best opportunity for recovery.

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

Some of the most dangerous drugs to use with alcohol include:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleep aides
  • Benzodiazepines (like Xanax)
  • Hallucinogens

Please keep in mind that these are only some of the most dangerous, and any drug, when combined with alcohol, can be dangerous if used incorrectly or abused.