What You Should Know about Alcohol and Azithromycin

Let’s face it – a lot of people will tell you that drinking alcohol while you’re on medication is definitely okay, but others will tell you otherwise. However, there are times that you really want to just have one drink or two to satisfy your alcoholic cravings. Should you be currently prescribed by your doctor to take an antibiotic like azithromycin, you may be wondering, is it safe to take both alcohol and azithromycin? Check out the reasons below.

  • Is it safe to take both alcohol and azithromycin at the same time? Some people say “No”.

The Reason: Mixing alcohol with any type of medication, let alone antibiotics, is definitely not a good idea.

If you read about the medicine pamphlet of azithromycin, you will find out a list of side effects it can give you.  When you take both alcohol and azithromycin, chances are that if ever you experience such side effects, you will feel them immensely as they can get supersized due to the alcohol potentially rendering your body out of whack and unable to respond normally to the treatment.

Known side effects of taking azithromycin include: diarrhea, headache, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. Serious side effects include: hives, syncope, edema, irregular or unusually fast heartbeat, jaundice and intense fatigue.

Your liver works hard to filter and remove toxins from the body, including alcohol and azithromycin.  In very rare cases, azithromycin can impair your liver and cause damage that can result to even more serious side effects. Symptoms such as jaundice, excruciating abdominal pain, hives and intense fatigue may be due to an injured or damaged liver.  This is why most doctors or medical personnel think that it is a good idea to abstain from anything that might cause your liver a lot of stress, and this is why they strongly believe that alcohol and azithromycin are not a very good mix if you want to recover from your ailment.

A relevant clinical research involved rats as their test subjects have revealed that alcohol actually does not interfere with azithromycin’s ability to kill your bacterial infection.  However, if you take alcohol and azithromycin at the same time, you are risking yourself to getting temporary liver damage, which might potentially increase the seriousness of nasty side effects.  Additionally, alcohol is a dehydrating agent. Thus, getting a hangover would definitely worsen the effects of vomiting, headache and nausea if alcohol and azithromycin were to be taken together.

It is highly recommended that the patient must finish the course of medication first before being permitted to drink alcohol again.

  • Is it safe to take both alcohol and azithromycin at the same time? Some people say “Within Limits, Yes”.

The Reason:  Azithromycin has been known to cause users GI (gastrointestinal) irritation followed by nausea, cramping, or abdominal pain, and drinking alcohol could possibly make it worse.

For many individuals, having a couple of alcoholic drinks such as beer, champagne or wine have not caused them a lot of inconvenience, but it is wise to just go easy and not overindulge.  Keep in mind that drinking heavily or drinking strong alcohol impairs the human body’s ability to ward off any infection, therefore, it is absolutely not advisable to engage in heavy drinking.


Now that you have read the answers above, the choice is still up to you: would you drink both alcohol and azithromycin at the same time, or would you abstain until you have finished your treatment?  Most people would definitely abstain from taking alcohol and azithromycin, as it is actually tolerable (and wiser) not to drink any alcoholic beverages for a few days.