Everything you need to know when taking doxycycline along with alcohol.
If you drink alcohol and it is a part of your life, you must be interested to know how alcoholic beverages interact with certain antibiotics. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial infections. If you are on an antibiotic treatment, the doctor will ask you to quit drinking or at least reduce alcohol intake while taking antibiotics. Can a person drink alcohol while taking antibiotics? This question is often asked by a healthcare professional.
Doxycycline- a second-generation tetracycline
Doxycycline is used to treat various bacterial infections e.g., typhus, tick fevers, respiratory tract infections, borreliosis, acne, skin abscess, arthritis, eye infections, uncomplicated urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) e.g., syphilis, gonorrhoea etc... It inhibits protein synthesis in the bacteria and kills them by depriving them of essential proteins. The doctor will ask you to avoid drinking alcohol while taking doxycycline.
You can learn more about doxycycline on our product page here.
What is the rationale behind this advice? How alcohol interacts with doxycycline. What will happen if you drink alcohol with oral doxycycline? These questions often pop up in the minds of curious people. Let's answer these questions.
How does doxycycline react to alcohol?
Given that nearly 57% of adult Brits take at least one alcoholic drink per week, there are chances that a person can take doxycycline with alcoholic drinks. What will happen if you mix alcohol with doxycycline?
Drinking alcohol will lower doxycycline's half-life
Alcohol is different from other food items. It is metabolised by the liver, and so are antibiotics and other drugs. So, if you use alcohol with oral doxycycline, the enzymes produced by the liver to clear out the alcohol will also clear out the medicine. The result will be a lower absorption of drugs, low serum levels and lower half-life. This was noted by earlier research by Neuvonen and his colleagues. The situation becomes even more complicated if you are taking medications for some liver disease.
You will need more drugs for the same effect
It would mean the desired peak serum level of 4-10 micrograms/ml will not be achieved. So, an alcoholic person may require an additional dose of medicine for the desired effects. Due to the lower half-life, you will need to shorten the interval between two doses. Additionally, you will also need the treatment for a longer period of time.
Alcohol consumption with doxycycline will disturb the body's other functions
Your body can't store alcohol (like fats and proteins). It has to metabolise and remove as early as possible. Your body takes it as a foreign body and engages to remove it from the body, thus putting a hold on all other body processes.
Alcohol consumption can disturb your sleep
Alcohol consumption also influences the quality and quantity of your sleep. You may fall asleep quickly, but it will reduce the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. This phase is a very essential part of quality sleep. Sleep disturbances also increase the chances of treatment failures.
Alcohol can suppress your immune system
Whenever a germ enters your body, it has to face your immune system. If you regularly consume alcohol, it can suppress the immune system. A review published in the Alcohol Research (a peer-reviewed journal) has found that alcohol abuse can suppress the functioning of the immune system. So, you will need a longer duration of antibiotic treatment.
A depressed immune system will also predispose you to a variety of other infections. So, stopping doxycycline will be a more wise choice.
The pharmacist will never know how much drug you need
It is advised to avoid mixing the alcohol with doxycycline and other antibiotics. The pharmacist will not know how much alcohol you are taking (just like you). He will also not know what type of alcohol you are consuming. Therefore, he will not be able to decide the required dose for you. So, he will end up with a single piece of advice to stop using alcohol while on a treatment plan.
How long do you have to wait to drink alcohol?
The prolonged wait may be difficult for an alcoholic person. The exact answer is difficult. It is the job of pharmacists as it depends on a number of factors.
However, as a guideline, you should know that the metabolism and excretion of doxycycline take 2-3 days. So, you need to avoid alcohol for 48-72 hours after the last dose of doxycycline. If you have a normal kidney, 40% of doxycycline will be removed in 72 hours. So, a five-day weight is best.
This is essential so that the drug-alcohol interaction may not render the last dose of doxycycline totally ineffective.
Many antibiotics have a caution sticker which warns you against combining them with alcohol. Antibiotic interactions with alcohol are a complex topic. Different antibiotics interact differently. The use of doxycycline may not cause a life-threatening severe reaction, it can, however, lower the efficacy of doxycycline and you will need an extra dose (2x) for extra time.
The alcohol is not like other food items. The body takes it differently and also metabolises it differently. Even if you do not feel any adverse reaction, the absorption of antibiotics will be affected. Consult your physician about it and seek professional medical advice.
If you are unable or unwilling to limit alcohol use, consult your pharmacist before using doxycycline and other medications. He will adjust the formulations accordingly.
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