What happens when you mix azithromycin and alcohol?

Azithromycin (Zithromax) is an antibiotic. Combining azithromycin with alcohol is probably not the only option when the physique is combating an an infection. It may additionally make bothersome unwanted effects worse.

Azithromycin kills micro organism within the physique to struggle bacterial infections. It doesn’t work towards sicknesses attributable to a virus, such because the chilly or flu.

It does fight a wide range of bacterial infections, together with:

  • strep throat
  • bronchitis
  • sinus infections
  • ear infections
  • some pores and skin infections
  • tonsil infections
  • genital ulcer illness
  • Helicobacter pylori an infection
  • traveler’s diarrhea
  • Legionnaires’ illness
  • whooping cough

Azithromycin is secure and efficient for most individuals when a physician prescribes it for a bacterial an infection. It doesn’t have direct interactions with alcohol. Which means most individuals may have a average quantity of alcohol whereas taking the drug with none critical issues.

Right here, we talk about the potential minor penalties.

Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Azithromycin tablets on a table <br>Image credit: Anonymous1941, 2019</br>

Azithromycin can kill good micro organism within the physique and trigger abdomen issues, similar to nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Picture credit score: Nameless1941, 2019

Antibiotics, together with azithromycin, may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

These results might happen as a result of azithromycin targets all micro organism within the physique, together with good micro organism within the digestive tract. When the antibiotic eliminates these good micro organism, the digestive system might exit of steadiness. This could result in an upset abdomen starting from delicate to extreme.

Ingesting alcohol, by itself, also can trigger nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Alcohol can irritate the abdomen lining, and it will increase the manufacturing of abdomen acid.

Ingesting alcohol can also trigger spasms of the intestines, which might push stool out too shortly. This can lead to diarrhea.

These results, together with azithromycin, can improve the danger of an upset abdomen, diarrhea, and feeling unwell.

The physique loses important water and electrolytes when diarrhea happens. Moreover, as a result of alcohol is a diuretic, it might make these dehydrating results worse, resulting in extra unwanted effects.

As well as, if an individual vomits quickly after taking the remedy, their physique won’t have had time to soak up it. If this occurs, an individual ought to name their physician to debate whether or not they should take one other dose.


One of many potential unwanted effects of azithromycin is a headache. Although complications don’t have an effect on everybody who takes the remedy, combining azithromycin with alcohol may improve the danger of a headache or make an present headache worse.

In line with the Nationwide Headache Basis, ingesting alcohol can set off complications in a number of alternative ways. It dilates blood vessels, which might trigger pounding and ache, and it results in dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

These results clarify why some folks expertise a hangover with a headache after ingesting alcohol.

If an individual tries to deal with their headache with a ache reliever, they may expertise additional unwanted effects. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, similar to aspirin or ibuprofen, might irritate the abdomen, inflicting additional digestive upset and nausea.

Individuals mustn’t take acetaminophen with alcohol as a result of it could possibly result in critical liver issues. That is very true in individuals who drink alcohol each day or take excessive doses of acetaminophen.


Many medical circumstances may cause dizziness, or a sense of spinning when an individual just isn’t shifting. Dizziness can also be a attainable facet impact of azithromycin.

Dizziness may be bothersome and harmful if an individual wants work, drive, or function any type of equipment.

Ingesting alcohol also can trigger dizziness and will amplify this facet impact if an individual can also be taking azithromycin.

Delayed restoration from sickness

Docs often prescribe antibiotics for infections that don’t clear up on their very own. These infections could also be extreme sufficient that penicillin won’t work properly.

The physique wants relaxation and vitamins to struggle off infections, and alcohol can intervene with the physique’s therapeutic processes.

Alcohol can disrupt sleep, which may make restoration longer and tougher. Alcohol inhibits fast eye motion, or REM, sleep, which is probably the most restorative kind of sleep. It additionally disrupts the physique’s pure cues to sleep.

Well being professionals often suggest correct hydration because the physique recovers from an an infection. Ingesting loads of water may also help in restoration and the restoration of power ranges.

As a diuretic, alcohol causes the physique to lose water and minerals by the kidneys. This may increasingly make an individual really feel worse as they attempt to recuperate.

Liver issues

Woman taking a bottle of white wine from a cooler

If an individual drinks alcohol with azithromycin, then the liver should work more durable to course of them.

Whereas uncommon, azithromycin may cause liver issues. Signs of liver injury resulting from azithromycin embody:

  • yellowing of the eyes or pores and skin
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dark-colored urine or light-colored stool
  • excessive fatigue or weak point
  • abdomen ache
  • lack of urge for food
  • itchiness

The liver additionally processes alcohol. If an individual drinks alcohol with azithromycin, the liver should work more durable than common and will grow to be overworked.

Often, medical doctors won’t prescribe azithromycin to individuals who have a historical past of liver issues.

Masking of harmful unwanted effects

Most individuals tolerate azithromycin with out points, however it could possibly trigger critical unwanted effects in some folks. The next are signs of a probably critical response to azithromycin:

  • hassle respiration or swallowing
  • swelling of the throat, lips, tongue, or face
  • fast coronary heart charge
  • hives, itching, or pores and skin rash
  • a brand new fever not associated to the unique an infection
  • signs of a liver downside

Ingesting alcohol could make it more durable to determine these critical unwanted effects.

As an example, an individual might not discover fatigue and weak point from the remedy in the event that they consider that they merely drank an excessive amount of alcohol. An individual can also assume that belly ache is because of a hangover somewhat than a response to azithromycin.

Different drug interactions with azithromycin

Azithromycin can have an effect on the best way some medicines and dietary supplements work. Individuals ought to preserve a listing of all nutritional vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements, and medicines that they take and inform their physician and pharmacist about all of them. This may also help forestall harmful interactions.

Azithromycin might work together with:

  • antacids that comprise aluminum or magnesium
  • blood thinners
  • medicines for atrial fibrillation
  • medicines for seizures or epilepsy
  • nelfinavir (Viracept), an antiretroviral drug that treats HIV


Whereas alcohol doesn’t trigger harmful interactions with azithromycin typically, it could possibly make unwanted effects worse and delay an individual’s restoration from sickness.

When taking any remedy, it’s best to ask a physician earlier than combining it with different substances, together with alcohol. An individual ought to all the time end their course of azithromycin, even when they really feel higher. Individuals ought to speak with a physician if unwanted effects are bothersome.

Generally the physician might prescribe a unique antibiotic or suggest methods to handle unwanted effects.

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