Can You Drink While Taking Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for treating bacterial infections. As with all medications, it’s common to wonder if you can drink while on it, or if alcohol will affect amoxicillin’s efficacy. 

In general, you can drink alcohol while taking amoxicillin. Still, it can worsen some side effects and weaken your immune system, leaving you sick for a longer amount of time. Continue reading to further explore the relationship between amoxicillin and alcohol and learn what else you should avoid while taking amoxicillin.

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Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Amoxicillin?

Studies have shown that it is safe to drink alcohol while taking amoxicillin and that alcohol will not affect the effectiveness of amoxicillin. That being said, many physicians may still recommend that you don’t drink while on amoxicillin because alcohol can weaken your immune system. Since amoxicillin is taken when you have an infection, drinking alcohol while on amoxicillin can make it harder for your body to fight the infection. 

As with all things, moderation is key, and those who drink in moderation while on amoxicillin fare better than those who drink chronically. 

Of note, while the absorption amount of amoxicillin is not affected by alcohol, one study did show that alcohol can slow the absorption rate of amoxicillin, which means amoxicillin won’t work as fast as it would if you didn’t drink. So, amoxicillin is still effective when you drink alcohol; it just doesn’t work as quickly. 

What Are the Risks of Mixing Amoxicillin and Alcohol?

Even though you can drink alcohol while taking amoxicillin, you may not want to because of the following risks. 

Weakens Your Immune System

The greatest risk of drinking alcohol while on amoxicillin is that it can weaken your immune system. Not only does this mean that you are more susceptible to illness, but it also means that if you are sick, the body will have a more challenging time clearing the infection. 

This second point is crucial to consider if you’re taking amoxicillin since, as an antibiotic, it is prescribed to those with an active infection. Amoxicillin helps to treat the infection, but your body’s natural immune response still plays a crucial role in helping you to get over the illness. If you drink alcohol, your immune system may weaken, and you may end up being sick for longer. 

Worsens Amoxicillin Side Effects

While there are no separate side effects from drinking alcohol while taking amoxicillin, both amoxicillin and alcohol share some side effects, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. If you drink while on amoxicillin, there is a risk that these side effects can be more intense. 

Causes Dehydration

Drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration, which can make your illness last longer while, overall, further making you feel unwell. 

What Should Be Avoided with Amoxicillin?

While alcohol does not interact with amoxicillin to cause serious side effects or complications, there are other drugs and compounds that may and should be avoided while taking amoxicillin. 

Some of the medications that amoxicillin may interact with include:

  • warfarin
  • probenecid
  • allopurinol
  • other antibiotics (e.g., tetracyclines, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, macrolides)
  • methotrexate

The risks of taking these medications alongside amoxicillin can vary. With warfarin, taking amoxicillin at the same time can increase the risk of bleeding. Taking amoxicillin alongside allopurinol can increase the risk of a skin rash since this is a side effect of both medications individually. 

Of note, while probenecid may increase the risk of amoxicillin side effects, sometimes it is prescribed with amoxicillin to treat sexually transmitted infections. So, if you are ever unsure about taking two medications at the same time, always be sure to ask your doctor. 

Amoxicillin can also interact with common over-the-counter painkillers. For example, acetaminophen can increase the risk of gingival bleeding, and aspirin can alter gut bacteria levels, making the aspirin less effective and causing more significant side effects. However, many doctors still consider it safe to take these medications with amoxicillin; it is just essential to be aware of these complications and to monitor for them. 

When taking amoxicillin alongside another drug, most interactions are mild or moderate. However, some can be life-threatening. Inform your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms while taking amoxicillin:

  • unexplained fatigue
  • a persistently high fever
  • sudden chills or sweats
  • skin rashes
  • new or worsening pain
  • confusion and lightheadedness
  • blood in the urine or stool
  • sudden weakness
  • tingling or numbness in the hands and feet

When to See a Doctor?

Some people can develop an allergic reaction to amoxicillin, including hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling in the throat and face. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. 

Furthermore, if you are on amoxicillin, be sure to inform your doctor before starting any new medications to ensure that there are no drug interactions. 

Are you looking for a quick and convenient way to meet with a doctor and ask all your questions? With DrHouse, you can see an online doctor in just 15 minutes, all from the comfort of your home. Your doctor can answer your questions, address your concerns, and even write you a prescription if needed. 

Key Takeaways

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic prescribed to treat various bacterial infections, including respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and dental infections. It is considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic because of the wide range of bacteria it is effective against.

As with all medications, it’s common to wonder if it is safe to drink while taking it or if alcohol may influence its effectiveness. In the case of amoxicillin, drinking won’t make it less effective, but it can make amoxicillin take longer to work. In addition to this, alcohol can weaken your immune system and dehydrate you, two things that can also keep you sick for longer. 

With any drug, knowing what is and isn’t safe to take during the prescription length is crucial, and your doctor is your best source of information since they can look at your specific conditions and medications. 

Sources:

  • Akhavan BJ, Khanna NR, Vijhani P. Amoxicillin. [Updated 2022 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482250/
  • Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care. (2021). https://www.cdc.gov/patientsafety/features/be-antibiotics-aware.html
  • Mergenhagen, K. A., Wattengel, B. A., Skelly, M. K., Clark, C. M., & Russo, T. A. (2020). Fact versus Fiction: a Review of the Evidence behind Alcohol and Antibiotic Interactions. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 64(3), e02167-19. https://doi.org/10.1128/AAC.02167-19
  • Trevejo-Nunez, G., Kolls, J. K., & de Wit, M. (2015). Alcohol Use As a Risk Factor in Infections and Healing: A Clinician’s Perspective. Alcohol research : current reviews, 37(2), 177–184. PMC4590615.
  • InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Using medication: Using antibiotics correctly and avoiding resistance. 2008 Nov 14 [Updated 2013 Dec 18]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK361005/
  • Morasso, M. I., Hip, A., Márquez, M., González, C., & Arancibia, A. (1988). Amoxicillin kinetics and ethanol ingestion. International journal of clinical pharmacology, therapy, and toxicology, 26(9), 428–431. PMID: 3198295.

Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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