Bactrim and Alcohol

by on April 25, 2012

Alcohol can affect the way a body processes various medications. Bactrim is an antibiotic used to fight bacterial infections such as ear infections and urinary tract infections. Doctors rarely advise that a patient drink alcohol with any type of medication. This is because using alcohol with a prescription can sometimes lead to unexpected results including ineffectiveness and serious side effects.

Alcohol and Antibiotics

The side effects of both alcohol and antibiotics are similar including dizziness, stomach upsets and drowsiness. Using alcohol and antibiotics together can increase the side effects of both, making patients extremely uncomfortable and tired instead of on their road to recovery from a bacterial infection. This is the main reason that doctors tell patients not to consume alcohol while taking antibiotics.

More Serious Side Effects

Unfortunately, the combination of alcohol and antibiotics such as Bactrim can lead to side effects that are more serious.

Using alcohol and Bactrim together can lead to nausea, vomiting, dehydration, flushing and headaches. There have even been some cases of individuals having heart palpitations and shortness of breath (dyspnea) after consuming beer and Bactrim. These more serious side effects have been reported with varying amounts of consumed alcohol. This makes it important for patients using Bactrim to avoid any quantity of alcohol including alcohol that may be found in various cold medications and even mouthwash.

Effectiveness of Bactrim When Used with Alcohol

There is no evidence to suggest that the antibiotic known as Bactrim has compromised efficiency when used in conjunction with alcohol. Alcohol does not make the antibiotic more or less effective. However, the use of the two together can lead to patients vomiting, which can lead to a missed dose of Bactrim.

Doses that are regurgitated should not be retaken because of the risk of an overdose of medication in the system. Patients should abstain from alcohol use because of the increased risk of side effects, not because of the effectiveness of the medication itself. Alcoholics should use Bactrim with caution and only under the care of a doctor. This is especially true if the alcoholic is still drinking.

Scientists theorize that the combination of Bactrim and alcohol leads to an inhibition of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase which is how alcohol is converted into acetic acid in the liver. This means that the body stalls in processing the alcohol at the acetaldehyde stage when it is more toxic than alcohol itself. An accumulation of acetaldehyde in the body is characterized by a flushed, red, blotchy face and is associated with many typical symptoms of hangovers including headaches, dizziness and fatigue.

Bactrim is a combination antibiotic that is used by patients trying to overcome a bacterial infection. Using alcohol during the course of this prescription is ill advised because of the side effects that can result from the interaction. Patients who are ill should do everything in their power to regain health and well-being as soon as possible. Avoiding alcohol will help to shorten the length of time a patient feels ill for.