Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Augmentin?

Augmentin contains Amoxicillin and Clavulanic acid. It is a popular broad-spectrum antibiotic that is effective for treating a wide range of bacterial infections.

Alcohol does not affect the effectiveness of Augmentin and both are not known to interact. However, drinking alcohol while taking medication may not be best for your body and it is better avoided.

Alcohol and Augmentin

1. Decreased Absorption

Although it is believed that alcohol does not render Augmentin ineffective, it has the potential to decrease its absorption in the gut, thereby affecting its overall effectiveness and efficiency. Aside from decreased absorption, alcohol can also elongate the body’s recovery process.

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2. Reduced Enzyme Activity

In the body, there are enzymes that break down drugs and alcohol. Moderate to heavy consumption of alcohol can alter the activities of the liver and kidney enzymes and thus slows down the rate of Augmentin metabolism in the body.

3. Weakened Immune System

Alcohol intake can weaken the immune system and affect recovery from infections. This means that a person using antibiotics and taking alcohol may have to use the medication for a longer time. Alcohol can also reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs.

In the long term, alcohol consumption can increase a person’s vulnerability to infectious diseases. The damage alcohol does to the immune system is proportional to the quantity consumed.

4. Increased Liver Damage

The major route of elimination for amoxicillin is via the kidney, whereas for clavulanic acid it is by both kidney and non-kidney dependent mechanisms. Alcohol is largely metabolized by the liver.

Taking both together can affect how Augmentin is metabolized in the body. Hence, it affects drug efficacy and, as a whole, leads to reduced compliance and elongated treatment time. It is thus safer to avoid using both together.

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5. Increased Side Effects

Augmentin and alcohol have similar side effects, and taking both together may worsen the side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and headache.

Other side effects of Augmentin include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Flushed skin
  • Chest pain due to difficulty in breathing
  • Increased Heart rate

Meanwhile, taking Augmentin before meals reduces the likelihood of abdominal discomfort, and drinking plenty of water, juice or other fluids during the course of therapy would also help to prevent dehydration.

6. Quickened Intoxication

Taking alcohol with Augmentin could make you feel drunk even faster. The science behind this is simple, one of the side effects of Augmentin medication is dehydration, which is worsened by alcohol consumption. Dehydration can make you consume more alcohol, increasing your chances of getting drunk.

Also, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant causing symptoms like poor coordination, dizziness, somnolence and when combined with antibiotics, this effect could be increased, leading to assumed quickened intoxication.

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Summary

Alcohol does not interact with Augmentin or affect its efficacy. However, it is advisable to avoid alcohol when ill or when taking medication.

Latest posts by Raliat Ola-Dauda, PharmD (see all)
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