Metronidazole and Alcohol

Metronidazole (Flagyl®, MetroCream®, MetroGel®, MetroGel-Vaginal®, MetroLotion®, Noritate®, Vandazole®) is a prescription antibiotic used for treating various types of bacterial and parasitic infections.
 
It is "common knowledge" that metronidazole and alcohol interact in a severe or even dangerous way. Even the prescribing information warns of this possible interaction, stating that consuming alcohol while taking this drug (or even within three days of taking it) may cause the following side effects:
 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Digestive upset.
     
However, recent clinical studies have failed to demonstrate a significant interaction between alcohol and metronidazole. Despite the lack of a demonstrated interaction, your healthcare provider and pharmacist will probably still warn you to avoid alcohol while taking this medication. 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 medication.
 
(Click Alcohol and Metronidazole for more information on whether alcohol consumption is safe during metronidazole usage and to find out why most healthcare providers believe that there is an interaction.)
 
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