Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Doxycycline?

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

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Medicines such as Antibiotics are the common and most widely used drugs that are prescribed for many conditions and doxycycline is a common antibiotic used.

If someone has been prescribed doxycycline and wondering whether it’s okay to drink alcohol throughout the treatment, one should know that most medical advice and specialists consider it unwise to use both alcohol and antibiotics altogether.

Yet, you may not know accurately why this advice is commonly given or what could happen if you ignore it.

So, learn more about why you should avoid drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics. What happens if you drink on doxycycline and after what period of doxycycline course you can start drinking alcohol again?

What Is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a semi-synthetic-tetracycline antibiotic derived from metacycline.

It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is used for treating many types of antibiotics.

Doxycycline is usually administered orally.

Doxycycline uses:

Doxycycline may be prescribed by your physician to treat various conditions or diseases.

It is sold under many brand names mainly DOTUR, DOXYN, ETIDOXINE, WELLCODOX, and many others.

FDA has authorized the use of antibiotics for a couple of reasons.

The most common conditions include:

  • Skin diseases  including severe acne or acne vulgaris
  • Rosacea
  • Abscesses
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) include chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and many others.
  • Respiratory Tract Infections such as sinusitis
  • Bacterial eye infections
  • Malaria prevention and its treatment
  • Prevention and treatment of Lyme disease
  • Anthrax exposure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gum infections like peridontitis

Why You Should Avoid Alcohol While Taking Doxycycline?

They will interact with each other and cause several problems. Most of the providers and common medical advisers will recommend avoiding alcohol while taking antibiotics such as doxycycline.

What happens when you drink on Doxycycline?

The metabolism of alcohol is different in the body than in food.

And because of this reason, it may interfere with how the medication absorbs or used by the body.

In the case of Doxycycline, alcohol alters the rate of elimination and causes the doxycycline to be cleared or removed from the body more quickly.

Doxycycline needs a constant level of drug in the body. When you are not getting the full treatment course of your antibiotics, the bacterial infection persists and not resolves as expected, also resistance to that bacterial infection may occur.

The body breaks the food through the normal digestive process after it is ingested. The breakdown of food in small parts facilitates its absorption. But in the case, you drink alcohol, the normal metabolism of the drug or food will not occur in the same manner but the alcohol alters the rate of metabolism and excretion of the drug or food and precedes in its metabolism.

The body can store food in the stomach for short periods but it cannot store alcohol in any way.

Alcohol cause major damage to the Liver as it is also metabolized by liver enzymes and is Hepatotoxic. This thus leads to the lowering of immune system health and the healing process is also affected.

The sleep-wake cycle is also affected by alcohol consumption and it causes restlessness, and if you have any infection this can add to the reasons why alcohol may interfere with the treatment plan.

The efficacy of the doxycycline decreases by taking alcohol with it, and if you have taken a low dose of antibiotic it will unable to cope with the infection.

This fails treatment or it may lead to prolonged treatment therapy. The dose normally required for combating disease will remain unaffected and a higher dose will be required because of regular alcohol consumption.

How alcohol impacts your immune system

The immune system is a complex network of organs, cells, and proteins that defends the body against infection, whilst protecting the body’s cells. Alcohol effect the immune system and alters its response to various dangers.

It affects the lungs by decreasing the body’s natural defenses and allowing respiratory infections to occur.

It affects the GI tract and leads to inflammation and changes the gut bacteria which may decrease the natural immunity and lead to more frequent infections.

The immune system also weakens by already present viral infection which facilitates the more severe infection or secondary bacterial infections.

The antibiotics normally used to combat disease may also harm the normal flora or good bacteria present in the body thus leading to more complications.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages on regular basis is more destroyable than irregular or few drinks of alcohol.

Frequent alcohol intake can alter how the immune system reacts to threats, increasing the risk for potential infection-related complications.

The higher risks include:

  • Sepsis
  • Acute Respiratory Syndrome
  • Alcoholic Liver Disease
  • Certain Cancers such as liver cancer
  • Postoperative complications
  • Slower healing from trauma

Mixing alcohol and antibiotics:

One cannot manage the quantity of alcohol and antibiotics and consider it safe to be used, because there is no exact mechanism that how the immune system responds to the combination of both alcohol and doxycycline. So, the safest way to manage infection or treatment plan is to avoid mixing the two.

The pharmacist cannot dispense the combination and make sure to avoid any adverse effects of these alcohol and antibiotic combinations.

How Long After Stopping Doxycycline Can I Drink Alcohol?

It is very important to have a suitable duration between the successive dose of antibiotics and alcohol as they may interact with each other also too much alcohol consumption may lead to the last dose of antibiotic remaining unaffected.

Most medical or pharmacological advice says that it’s safe to consume alcohol after it has been 48-72 hours since your last dose of doxycycline. However, you should find out from your healthcare provider directly since the reason you were prescribed doxycycline, your dose, and other health factors may influence the answer for you.

What Else Should I Avoid While Taking Doxycycline?

The number of products that interacts with the doxycycline should be avoided to take.

  • The specific prescription label contains all the things to avoid while taking the specific antibiotics.
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, or yogurt should be avoided as these products change the drug metabolism and alter its absorption, metabolism, and excretion. Dairy products may be taken a few hours before or a few hours after your dose.
  • Alcohol consumption should also start after the complete medical treatment therapy after the doctor allows to take alcohol within limits
  • You should also avoid sun exposure since doxycycline can increase the risk of severe sunburn.
  • Tanning beds should be avoided, too.
  • Doxycycline can interact with other medications.
  • Do not consume these medications, including OTC drugs or supplements, unless your doctor or pharmacist approves:
  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Penicillin
  • Antacids
  • Iron supplements (and multivitamins that contain iron)
  • Magnesium supplements (and multivitamins that contain magnesium)
  • Oral contraceptives, since doxycycline can render them less effective
  • Anti-epileptics

Other potential interactions can also occur, so always keep your medical provider up to date with anything you are taking.

Potential Side Effects Doxycycline

The severe or irreversible adverse effects of doxycycline include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Gi Disturbances
  • Staining of developing teeth
  • Back pain
  • Sore throat
  • Dry Mouth
  • Rectal or vaginal itching

The potentially life-threatening effects include:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Liver Damage

The symptomatic adverse reactions are more or less tolerable which include:

  • Anorexia
  • Skin Reactions
  • Skin rashes
  • Vaginitis
  • Photosensitivity
  • Dysphagia
  • Stomachic.

Therefore whenever you are taking doxycycline regularly please try to avoid alcohol or discuss it with your healthcare provider.

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TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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