Metronidazole and Alcohol – Why You Shouldn’t Mix Them!


Many times we are told by our doctors not to combine certain medicines with other drugs and chemicals due to its potential side effects and drug interactions. Before you are prescribed with certain medicines by your doctor, you should be well aware of the precautions as well as how the medications will function so that you will know what to expect. Generally this is part of the patient safety rules. That is why you will find a leaflet packed together with the medicines you have bought so you can have something to glance on during your treatment. Leaflets contain the general instructions, precautions, the general dos and don’ts, as well as a brief list of drugs or chemical that you should never combine with your medication.


Metronidazole is an effective antibiotic drug intended for the treatment of infections caused by various singled-cell bacteria and parasites. Infections are quite very common but can be dangerous if left untreated. Although we are naturally gifted with our immune system to fight those invaders, often times it may not be enough to fully prevent infections that lead to several illnesses. This is why antibiotics such as metronidazole have been designed to eradicate the bacteria and certain parasites out from our system.

Although metronidazole is a very powerful and beneficial antibiotic, take note that it is still a drug that might have some drawbacks especially when taken together with other chemicals and drugs. That is why you need to discuss with your doctor about your treatment prior of taking metronidazole. Among the most prohibited chemicals that you should never ingest with metronidazole is alcohol. So what makes metronidazole and alcohol a dangerous combo?


According to studies, the natural functions of metronidazole can block the body’s capability of breaking down alcohol. This can cause accumulation of acetaldehyde into the bloodstream. As a result, taking metronidazole and alcohol together can magnify that effects of the liquor in the body. After 10 minutes of taking metronidazole and alcohol or so, symptoms such as flushing, headaches, abnormal heart rate, breathing difficulties, nausea, hypotension or low pressure of the blood, and vomiting may take over. What makes these symptoms dangerous is that they are often unpredictable which can be very severe in some cases.


So far there has been little amount of papers being published that link the effects of metronidazole and alcohol. But a number of eight cases were reported between the years 1969 up to 1982 that linked the usage of metronidazole and alcohol and its side effects. Four of them were extremely serious while one includes death.


In general, there have been little studies that can support the risk of taking metronidazole and alcohol together. However, you have to take every precaution to avoid the dangers of mixing substances such as alcohol with this antibiotic. Even low alcohol contents should be extremely considered due to its unknown risks. For more information, you may talk with your doctor the substances which you should avoid while on treatment.