Alcohol and Metronidazole

Many people believe that there is a potentially dangerous interaction between alcohol and metronidazole. Supposedly, consuming alcohol while using this drug may cause side effects such as nausea, headache, or flushing. However, recent clinical studies have failed to demonstrate a significant interaction. If you choose to drink while taking metronidazole, your healthcare provider may be interested in any possible problems (or lack thereof).

Can I Drink Alcohol on Metronidazole?

Metronidazole (Flagyl®, MetroCream®, MetroGel®, MetroGel-Vaginal®, MetroLotion®, Noritate®, Vandazole®) is a prescription antibiotic. You may have heard that you should avoid alcohol while taking metronidazole; otherwise, serious consequences could occur. However, it is not clear if this truly is a significant problem.
 

Research on Metronidazole and Alcohol Consumption

It is "common knowledge" that alcohol and metronidazole interact in a severe or even dangerous way. Even the prescribing information for metronidazole products warn of this possible interaction, stating that consuming alcohol while taking this drug (or even within three days of metronidazole) may cause the following side effects:
 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Digestive upset.
     
However, recent clinical studies have failed to demonstrate a significant interaction between metronidazole and alcohol. Despite the lack of a demonstrated interaction, your healthcare provider and pharmacist will probably still warn you to avoid alcohol while taking this medicine. This is probably a good idea, although for other reasons than the presumed interaction (for example, it is not wise to drink alcohol while recovering from an infection). Most of the supposed effects of the metronidazole/alcohol interaction can be attributed to just the antibiotic.
 
 
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