Microbial infections can bring down the quality of your life. Timely interventions are needed to avoid further spread and progression of microbial attacks. Antimicrobial drugs are largely used for controlling such attacks. Metronidazole is a drug that falls under a genre called antimicrobials. This drug is effective against organisms called protozoa. Therapeutic bandwidth of metronidazole is fairly wide – it includes treatment of vaginal infections, infections of the gastric tract, to name a few. But, is it safe to take this drug along with alcohol? It is wise thing to know more on this front.

Infections can occur in many sites of your body. Most vulnerable sites include skin, gastrointestinal system, respiratory tract, bone, blood, nerves, etc. But, microbes are of different types namely bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. Drugs that stop the growth of viral attacks are called antiviral medications. But, metronidazole is known to be effective only against bacterial infections. This drug is used for the treatment of sexually transmitted infections, infections in the joints as well as vaginosis among women. Being an antibiotic, this med is largely restricted to stop the growth of bacteria. Hence, it may not be effective against viral conditions such as common cold, flu, etc.

This drug is available in multiple strengths and forms. Common forms of this med are
capsules, tablets, suspended solution as well as pills made of extended release capability. For vaginosis, the typical dosage form is 500 milligrams (mg) within a 24-hour timeline. Based on the intensity of your medical condition, dosages may be increased up to two times within a day. Those who are prescribed with an extended release form may need to take 750 mg through the oral route; this dosage is often maintained as a single dose each day. In order to get better results, you are advised to take this med at the same time every day throughout your medication plan.

Side effects that you need to stay watchful of

Like many antibiotic drugs – metronidazole is also likely to cause a few unintended and undesired side effects. Commonly encountered side effects are oral thrush or other forms of infections, drop in appetite level, abdominal discomforts such as nausea, vomiting, indigestion and / or diarrhea. Users may also experience drop in libido, acute spells of dehydration (marked by dryness of mouth and parching of lips), discoloration of urine, etc.

In some one-off instances, users have reported pain in their rectum, discomforts while having sexual intercourse, etc. If you are experiencing mental health conditions such as psychosis or excessive spells of fear, inform your treating physician of such conditions. Pregnant women must stay away from taking metronidazole as it can lead to cleft lip formation among newly born infants.

Can you take alcohol along with metronidazole?

It can be a dangerous practice to take alcohol while you are consuming metronidazole. Co-administration of these two substances can result in disulfiram type of reactions; these are encountered in people who take medications to stop drinking habits. Taking alcohol is not recommended for at least 4 to 5 days after you have stopped taking metronidazole. Those who mixed them saw erratic heartbeats, acute episodes of nausea, vomiting as well as flushing. In some remote cases, a small percentage of users encountered fatal outcomes such as death.

If you are aged above 55 years, intake of metronidazole along with alcohol can cause accidental falls, loss of coordination as well as fainting / passing out. Also, if you have prior hepatic conditions such as cirrhosis / severe impairment of liver function or hepatitis (also known as inflammation of liver), you need to stay away from taking either of these two substances. Flouting this precaution can cause build-up of toxicity in your system. If you are witnessing adverse side effects such as faster breathing cycles, acute spells of dizziness, sweating profusely, pain in your chest region, etc., you are advised to take medical help on an emergency basis.

In some rare cases, combination of alcohol with metronidazole is known to have led to “pins and needles syndrome” or a tingling sensation. Also, acute side effects in the form of epileptic seizures, fits or convulsions have also shown up. Upon encountering one or more of these adverse outcomes, those who are residing in the US are advised to call 911 immediately. Metronidazole is approved by the food and drug administration (FDA); so, you may also reach out to the helpdesk of the FDA and report of adverse side effects, if any. On the other hand, residents of Canada may either rush to a local poison control center or establish quick contact with Health Canada.

In general, you may resume your drinking habit after checking with your caregiving team. The caregiver may tell you to stay away from an alcoholic drink for at least a week. However, in some cases, caregiver may allow intake of alcohol after 4 to 5 days from the last dose of this antibiotic medication. In this light, it is equally important to know that metronidazole and its active chemicals may stay up in your system for as high as 45 hours from the last dose. This is about 2 days or slightly more at times. As an added precaution, those who are taking suppository form of this drug (which is administered largely for women with vaginal conditions) may need to talk to their treating doctor about when to start their drinking habit.

It is equally important to make your caregiver know of all other medications you are presently consuming. In the same light, tell your doctor about treatment plans that you are currently pursuing. Make a list of all drugs – including, over the counter meds, prescription drugs, vitamins, proteins, herbal supplements and dietary aids. Once you have shared this list, never make changes to it without informing your treating physician.

In sum, it is dangerous to consume metronidazole along with alcohol. This is likely to trigger disulfiram kind of side effects. Resuming the intake alcohol after 5 days from the last dose of metronidazole is often recommended. Those who took it before 5 days encountered spells of nausea, flushes abdominal pain and dizziness. Users aged above 55 years may witness loss of coordination, falls or passing out. If you are experiencing acute side effects like sweating, pain in chest, extreme level of drowsiness, etc., take needful help in a professional healthcare setting.

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