Drug and Alcohol

Amoxicillin and Alcohol: Is It Safe to Mix Alcohol With Amoxicillin?

Is Mixing Amoxicillin and Alcohol Safe?

Mixing amoxicillin and alcohol may not kill you, but you might regret the effects it causes. Learn more about amoxicillin and alcohol in our blog.

Antibiotics are considered a revolutionizing discovery in the world.

Even though they reshaped the medicine of the 20th century, antibiotics have been used since ancient times across many civilizations, including Egypt, Serbia, Greece, Rome, and China. Due to antibiotics, many medical achievements, including cancer treatments and transplants, became possible and successful.

The prescription rate for antibiotics is high in the United States of America. Data indicates that nearly 270 million antibiotic prescriptions were written alone in 2015. Antibiotic misuse or unnecessary use can lead to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Several types of antibiotics include Amoxicillin, Azithromycin, Cephalexin, and Erythromycin.

Amoxicillin is one of the most prescribed antibiotic medications in our country. It had nearly 15 million prescriptions in 2020. It is imperative that the general public is aware of the nature and dangers of using and misusing this medication. This article will focus on amoxicillin and whether it's safe to use it with a substance like alcohol.

Amoxicillin and Alcohol: What Is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic prescription medication that is given to treat various bacterial infections. It is a penicillin-based antibiotic given during conditions like tonsillitis, bronchitis, and various other skin, throat, ear, and urinary tract infections. It belongs to the drug class known as beta-lactams.

Beta-lactam is a set of antibiotic drugs that works uniquely. They bind themselves to the proteins and inhibit particular bacterial cell processes. This leads to the death of bacteria as the cell walls degrade. This process is known as bactericidal killing. It is important to understand where and when this medication should be taken.

First of all, it is essential to know that amoxicillin can treat only infections developed by a specific type of bacteria. It cannot and will not be effective against viral infections. Amoxicillin cannot treat conditions like viral infections causing cough, flu, fever, and sore throat. Using amoxicillin to treat these conditions is more likely to increase the risk of drug-resistant infections. In case you don't see any improvements within 2-3 days of use, it is best that you consult a medical professional and seek alternative treatments. 

Amoxicillin was discovered in 1958 but came to the medical market for use in 1972. It came to the United States in 1974 and was approved for medical use. Similarly, it got approval from the United Kingdom in the following year too. Amoxicillin is also included in The World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. It is a generic medication that is prescribed commonly to children too. 

Amoxicillin and Alcohol: What Is Amoxicillin Used For?

Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic that has various uses. Some of the amoxicillin uses include treating various bacterial infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, and tonsillitis. It is also prescribed to treat ear, throat, and nose infections along with chest infections and dental abscesses. Since it belongs to the group of penicillin antibiotics, it cannot treat flu, cold and other infections caused by viruses.

Some common brand names for amoxicillin are Moxilin, Trimox, Amoxil, and Sumox. This medication is also sometimes used in combination with other antibiotics. For instance, to treat stomach ulcers caused by the helicobacter pylori infection, amoxicillin is combined with other medications like clarithromycin. Similarly, amoxicillin is also combined with lansoprazole to treat stomach acid problems and ulcers. 

Amoxicillin comes in capsule form and in liquid formulation. It is generally swallowed through oral administration or sometimes injected by medical professionals. The injection liquid is available in hospitals and is undertaken by professionals. Generally, the typical directions while taking this antibiotic include taking amoxicillin dosage in regular intervals and avoiding skipping the dosage.

Call the emergency contact numbers or poison control center in case of an overdose as soon as possible. Do not share your unused or used medication with anyone else. 

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Amoxicillin and Alcohol: How Long Does Amoxicillin Take to Work?

It does not take much time for a medication like amoxicillin to work. Like most antibiotics, amoxicillin starts to work within one or two hours after use. It reaches the peak and highest blood concentration in one or two hours. Amoxicillin can, however, take a bit longer to improve the symptoms. One can see that kind of improvement and effect in less than 23 hours or about 3 days. Sometimes it can take as short as 24 hours to work on the symptoms. 

What Are Amoxicillin Side Effects?

Amoxicillin is a medication, and typically all of them have complications. Since it is an antibiotic, one should be aware of some severe side effects. The list below is not exhaustive but the side effects it lists can potentially happen. When side effects impede your daily activities and pose problems in your everyday life, it is better to connect with your healthcare provider.

Common Amoxicillin Side Effects

Common side effects include rash, diarrhea, nausea, rash, vomiting, and headache. 

Severe Amoxicillin Side Effects

Severe side effects of amoxicillin include wheezing, itching, rash, hives, severe diarrhea, blisters, breathing difficulties, peeling of the skin, swelling in eyes, throat, lip, face, and tongue, hives, stomach cramps, and watery or bloody stool. 

You must consult your doctor before taking or combining it with other medications, vitamins, or supplements. Doing this before talking to your doctor is inappropriate as it can result in negative effects. On the other hand, for those who combine amoxicillin with alcohol, there are various things that you should first know about. Let's check out what happens when you do so. 

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What Is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a chemical compound found in beverages such as beer, wine, and liquor. It is created when yeast breaks down sugar in the absence of oxygen. Alcohol consumption has been linked to numerous health risks, including liver damage and addiction.

Drinking Alcohol While Taking Amoxicillin

Since alcohol can have potentially dangerous interactions with certain medications, it is important to know if it is safe to drink while taking amoxicillin. The short answer is yes, it is generally safe to consume low or moderate amounts of alcohol while taking amoxicillin. However, it is recommended that you avoid drinking any alcohol until your course of antibiotics has finished.

Consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to a greater risk of side effects from amoxicillin, such as nausea and vomiting. Additionally, alcohol can decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics like amoxicillin, making it less effective in treating your infection.

It is important to note that drinking heavily while taking any kind of antibiotic can lead to a higher risk of liver damage and even death. Therefore, if you are taking amoxicillin, it is best to avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol or not drink at all. In any case, it is always wise to consult with your doctor before mixing drugs and alcohol.

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What Happens When You Mix Amoxicillin and Alcohol?

Many people combine alcohol with medications. It is a well-known fact that it is not healthy to mix medication with alcohol. There are so many negative side effects of mixing both of them. There are still many unknown things that can happen and unpredictable consequences that can turn fatal.

Even though amoxicillin does not interact very well with alcohol, it is comparatively less dangerous than other medications. This does not mean that one can and should do this. It is best that one does not combine these two substances as there can be severe side effects. 

It is interesting to note that even though amoxicillin does not react poorly with alcohol or makes its use less effective, one should avoid mixing amoxicillin and alcohol.

Alcohol can worsen your already existing condition, due to which you are taking amoxicillin in the first place. Mixing these substances can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and headache. When a user takes both at once, they are likely to experience side effects from both drugs. Some medical professionals also say that mixing them can cause dehydration and increase the risk of infections.

Alcohol-medication interactions are a real risk and can be particularly dangerous when it comes to antibiotics like amoxicillin. While some people think that mixing amoxicillin and alcohol is OK, the truth is that drinking while taking this medication can have serious consequences.

When people take amoxicillin, their body works to create an environment in which the antibiotic can be most effective. Drinking alcohol interferes with this process, making it harder for the body to absorb and utilize the medicine. It also increases side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and rashes.

For people who are already suffering from a medical condition or an infection that requires antibiotics such as amoxicillin, even small amounts of alcohol can put them at risk. Alcohol can make certain medications less effective or even completely ineffective, and in some cases, it could be damaging to their health.

Risks Associated With Mixing Amoxicillin and Alcohol

Amoxil or amoxicillin can have several reactions when taken with alcohol. Alcohol does not interfere with the effectiveness of the medication. However, combining amoxicillin and alcohol can lead to several severe and damaging side effects.

Some dangerous side effects of combining alcohol and amoxicillin are mentioned below

Potential Liver Damage

The liver is the primary region that can get severely affected by alcohol and amoxicillin consumption. This is because they both can put a lot of pressure on that organ, increasing the risk of liver damage. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea can occur. The combination can lead to several of these problems. 

Increased Side Effects

Alcohol can worsen the side effects that one experiences while taking amoxicillin. It can amplify headache, dizziness, diarrhea, stomachache, and nausea.

Central Nervous System Problems

Depression of the central nervous system can happen. 

Also, higher alcohol consumption can lead to poor nutrition and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This can comprise our already suffering immune system. 

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Amoxicillin and Alcohol: Preventing Antibiotic Misuse

The most unfortunate outcome of overusing or misusing antibiotic medication is the development of antibiotic resistance. This takes place when bacteria build a defense against antibiotics. Antibiotics are medications developed to kill them; once the resistance is created, the medications will not work. This resistance is not limited to bacteria but a host of other germs like viruses and fungi.

There will be antimicrobial resistance that can be very dangerous for the user. They will also not work against new strains and germs. It can become challenging to treat such conditions. This is why it is important to use antibiotics as per doctor's directions. It is necessary to track the use of antibiotics along with overall infection control guidelines. 

It is perilous to develop an antimicrobial infection as it devastates thousands of patients and their families. Why? Resistance against various germs leads to longer hospitalization, costly treatments, and follow-up visitation. As antibiotic resistance spreads, a new treatment must be developed since the antibiotics become ineffective. In case no new drug is developed, it is impossible to find treatment. This is why it is necessary to use antibiotics only when necessary.

Let's have a look at how one can prevent antibiotic misuse: 

  • Regular hand washing can help our body fight germs and illnesses

  • Recognizing early signs and symptoms of infection can help find treatment before things get severe

  • As soon as you are prescribed antibiotics, learn more about them. Ask your doctor about the possible side effects of it. Do not demand a prescription if the doctor finds it necessary.

  • Learn about antibiotics and how they do not work against all kinds of infections. Try working with your doctor to find the best possible antibiotic treatment

  • It would help if you did not stop early or stray from your prescription course

  • Do not share your unused antibiotics with anyone.

  • It is important to safely use and prepare food. Many food items like fruits, vegetables, and meat can be contaminated with bacteria, so it is necessary to take vital precautions while cooking food at home.

  • Lastly, vaccination is essential. Stay updated with influence and other immunizations to be safe from illnesses and infections.

Is Alcohol Use Affecting Your Medications? The Edge Treatment Center Can Help

The Edge Treatment Center is here to help those who are struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction while taking medication for a medical condition or infection. We understand that many of our clients are dealing with multiple factors that need to be addressed in order for them to achieve long-term sobriety. We use a holistic approach that includes both mental and physical health components, so our clients receive the help they need to get sober and stay healthy.

At The Edge Treatment Center, we understand that addiction isn't something that can simply be overcome overnight. We have experienced professionals who are here to help guide you through each step of the recovery process. We provide personalized, client-centered care at our state-of-the-art facilities designed with your comfort and safety in mind.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse and taking medications like amoxicillin, it's important that they get the treatment they need as soon as possible. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more about our program and how we can help get you on the road to recovery. We offer a variety of treatment options, so you can find what works best for you or your loved one's needs.

Take the first step towards sobriety and contact us today!

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

September 14, 2023