Can I drink beer when taking antibiotics-the doctors ' answer - Alcohol and Tradition
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Can I drink beer when taking antibiotics-the doctors ‘ answer

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The symptoms of serious diseases, for which doctors usually prescribe antibiotics, are unpleasant in themselves. But for beer lovers, there is an additional test – the need to give up the drink for the duration of treatment.

Some patients accept the medical ban without objection. Others begin to find out what is the maximum dose of alcohol allowed in the case of taking antibiotics. The logic of such people can be understood: beer is a low – alcohol drink, and an extra cup of it, it would seem, should not harm your health. To understand whether antibiotics and beer are compatible, consider how they affect the liver and other organs.

Attention! If you have any contraindications, consult your doctor.

The body’s reaction to beer and antibiotics

On average, 100 ml of beer contains from 3 to 6 ml of ethanol (in strong varieties – up to 8-10 ml). Accordingly, in a half-liter bottle of beer – from 15 to 30 ml of ethyl alcohol, and if the beer is strong – then up to 50 ml. This amount of alcohol is equivalent to a glass of vodka.

For the body, ethanol, even in small amounts – is a poison. He burns the mucous membrane of the intestine, causes spasms of blood vessels, causing jumps in pressure. The liver is responsible for neutralizing ethyl alcohol. Under the action of enzymes, alcohol is first converted into an extremely toxic substance-acetaldehyde, then into acetic essence.

If a person is healthy, drinks high-quality beer in reasonable quantities and not every day, the liver copes well with ethyl alcohol, and the vitamins contained in good beer even benefit. But if a person is sick and has to take medication, the picture changes.

Modern antibiotics are powerful substances that kill not only pathogenic microorganisms, but often also useful intestinal microflora. Taking such medications is a serious burden for the liver and kidneys. After a course of antibiotics, doctors usually prescribe drugs that restore the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. The body perceives antibiotics as toxins, their neutralization occurs in the liver.

Ethanol is a universal solvent. If you drink beer after antibiotics, these two toxic substances will immediately react chemically, and the carbon dioxide contained in the beer will accelerate the absorption of the resulting mixture into the blood. Ethyl alcohol in combination with antibiotics can seriously burn the gastric mucosa, cause inflammation and even erosion.

In addition, ethanol weakens the beneficial effect of the drug. It turns out that the prescribed dose of the drug simply does not work, and it can not be increased due to the toxicity of the drug. As a result, the healing process slows down, and the intestinal microflora dies in vain. The beneficial effect of the drug is reduced to zero, and the harm from side effects remains the same.

Pathogens that survive because the effect of the drug has been weakened do not die, but adapt to it. The doctor has no choice but to choose an even stronger antibiotic for the patient.

Once in the liver, ethanol prevents the production of enzymes that break down antibiotics and neutralize their toxic effects. Antibiotics also slow down the action of alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of acetaldehyde. Because of this, acetaldehyde accumulates in the liver, contributing to serious and prolonged alcohol poisoning of the body. The patient begins to have headaches, nausea, vomiting, increased sweating, heart rhythm is disturbed, blood pressure decreases sharply, hallucinations may appear.

Antibiotics, when taking which it is strictly forbidden to drink beer

Not all antibiotics work equally in combination with beer. Usually, the instructions for the drug indicate whether it is possible to drink alcohol when taking it and what the consequences of such an act will be. For example, the consequence of drinking beer when taking antibiotics prescribed for the treatment of purulent wounds, often becomes gangrene. Some drugs, mixed with beer, can provoke an allergy attack, heart attack or stroke.

Scientists have found that the most serious consequences (up to a fatal outcome) are caused by the use of beer when taking the following antibiotics:

  • levomycetin group;
  • ketoconazole;
  • nitroimidazole group;
  • macrolide group;
  • lincosamide group;
  • the tetracycline group;
  • aminoglycoside group;
  • co-trimoxazole;
  • bleomycin;
  • cephalosporin group;
  • anti-tuberculosis drugs.

As a rule, the instructions for the drug indicate how long after the end of its administration you need to stop drinking alcohol. Usually this period is from one to ten days. Additional recommendations of the attending physician will help to determine more precisely the duration of the period of complete abstinence from all types of alcohol (including non-alcoholic beer).

Combination of antibiotics with non-alcoholic beer

In non-alcoholic beer, there is still a small amount of ethanol. The strength of such a drink can be from 0.5 to 2 degrees. A bottle of non-alcoholic beer, depending on the strength, contains from 2.5 to 10 ml of ethyl alcohol.

As a result of chemical reactions, the so-called endogenous alcohol is formed: approximately 0.1 ml per 1 kg of body weight. The content of endogenous alcohol in the human body, which weighs 60 kg – 6 ml. Just one bottle of non-alcoholic beer increases the natural alcohol background by 50-150%. Therefore, you can not drink non-alcoholic beer after the antibiotics listed in the previous section.

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It is also better to give up non-alcoholic beer
But there are several drugs, the combination of which with non-alcoholic beer is less dangerous:

  • rifamycin;
  • vancomycin;
  • heliomycin;
  • penicillin-type antibiotics;
  • antifungal drugs.


There are only two reasons why a patient who knows how dangerous a combination of antibiotics and beer can be, may decide to break the ban.

1. For the company with friends. Indeed, it is difficult to resist and not treat yourself to a tempting foaming amber drink in the company of friends. In such cases, it is necessary to remember that it is easy to lose health, but it is difficult to restore it. Willpower and common sense are the best defense against rash actions.

2. I really want a beer. I want it so much that the patient is ready to ignore all the prohibitions and risk his health. Perhaps the reason for this desire is the first stage of beer alcoholism. If the craving for a hoppy drink is irresistible, it makes sense to consult with your doctor, as well as with a narcologist. The earlier you start treatment for alcoholism, the greater the effect it will give.

Attention! Self-medication can be dangerous, consult your doctor.

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