What are the Effects of Mixing Bactrim and Alcohol?
It is not entirely safe to mix Bactrim and alcohol. Alcohol can interact with many medications, including antibiotics such as Bactrim. A standard guideline is that if you are unwell enough to need antibiotics, you should not consume alcohol. However, alcohol is a frequent social element. You may want to drink while on an antibiotic if you attend a wedding, date, or birthday celebration.
Bactrim is a commonly prescribed antibiotic to treat bacterial infections, including those in the ear, urinary tract, and respiratory system. You may know it by its generic name, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, or SMZ-TMP.
Can you drink alcohol on Bactrim? While some antibiotics may be taken with moderate alcohol consumption, Bactrim is not one of them. Potentially harmful side effects can occur with Bactrim and alcohol disulfiram reaction.
What is Bactrim?
Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim) is a synthetic antibacterial combination product available in DS (double strength) tablets, each containing 800 mg sulfamethoxazole and 160 mg trimethoprim; in tablets, each containing 400 mg sulfamethoxazole and 80 mg trimethoprim for oral administration.
It treats urinary tract infections, middle ear infections (otitis media), bronchitis, traveler’s diarrhea, and shigellosis (bacillary dysentery). This medicine is also used to prevent or treat “Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia” or “Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP),” a severe kind of pneumonia. This type of pneumonia occurs more commonly in patients whose immune systems are not usually working, including cancer patients, transplant patients, and patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
What is Bactrim Used For?
- Bactrim is a brand (trade) name for a fixed combination medicine containing two antibiotics – sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim.
- Sulfamethoxazole stops bacteria from making “dihydrofolic acid,” and trimethoprim prevents the formation of tetrahydrofolic acid, both significant steps in constructing nucleic acids and proteins essential to many bacteria.
- The combination of sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim is bactericidal (kills bacteria).
- Bactrim belongs to the class of medicines known as antibiotics. The sulfamethoxazole component belongs to the type of drugs known as sulfonamides, and the trimethoprim component belongs to the class of medications known as folic acid inhibitors.
Side Effects of Bactrim and Alcohol Experience
The side effects of alcohol and antibiotics are similar, including the following:
- Stomach upsets.
Using alcohol and antibiotics together can increase the side effects, making patients extremely uncomfortable and tired instead of on their road to recovery from a bacterial infection. This is why doctors tell patients not to consume alcohol while taking antibiotics.
Risks of Combining Bactrim and Alcohol
In general, it is recommended to avoid alcohol consumption while taking Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) as there could be known and unknown adverse effects. Among other things, alcohol consumption can:
- Affect drug metabolism. (e.g., increase or decrease in metabolizing enzyme activity)
- Increase the risk of liver toxicity with medication.
- Increase the risk of side effects. (e.g., nausea/vomiting/diarrhea)
- Decrease immune system function.
Regarding Bactrim and alcohol specifically, Bactrim can inhibit acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which is mainly responsible for alcohol metabolism. If acetaldehyde dehydrogenase is less active, alcohol toxicity can build up and can cause what is known as a disulfiram reaction. This reaction is characterized by the following:
- Extreme flushing.
- Increased heart rate.
- Low blood pressure.
Bactrim Side Effects
Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim) is used to treat various bacterial infections. Like all medications, Bactrim can cause side effects, although not everyone will experience it.
Common side effects of Bactrim may include:
- Stomach pain.
- Loss of appetite.
Less common side effects of Bactrim may include:
- Muscle or joint pain.
- Chest pain.
- Shortness of breath.
Contact your healthcare provider if you experience the above Bactrim side effects while taking the antibiotic. It is necessary to tell your healthcare provider about all drugs you are taking and any allergies you have to help avoid potential interactions or allergic reactions.
In rare cases, Bactrim side effects can be severe, including:
- Allergic reactions. (rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat)
- Blood disorders. (anemia, low white blood cell count, low platelet count)
- Liver damage.
- Severe skin reactions. (Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis)
- Pneumonia. (inflammation of the lungs)
- Kidney damage.
If you experience any atypical Bactrim side effects, stop taking Bactrim and seek medical attention immediately.
Can You Drink Alcohol With Bactrim?
Your body relies on specific enzymes to seize alcohol into something easily eliminated. Through this complex process, several byproducts are created. One of the byproducts is a toxic substance called acetaldehyde. Bactrim may prevent the enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde from working, creating a toxic substance buildup. This interaction can lead to many side effects, including:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Rapid heart rate.
These effects may occur five to fifteen minutes after consuming alcohol. There have been heart palpitations and shortness of breath (dyspnea) after drinking Bactrim and alcohol. These more severe side effects have been reported with varying amounts of consumed alcohol. This makes it important for patients using Bactrim to avoid any quantity of alcohol, including alcohol found in various cold medications and even mouthwash.
Can I drink alcohol while taking Bactrim? It is essential to consult your doctor before combining alcohol and Bactrim DS to ensure you understand what risks you may be taking.
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Mixing medications with alcohol can indicate a potential alcohol problem or substance abuse issue. Engaging in this behavior can be risky and harmful to one’s health, leading to adverse reactions, reduced medication effectiveness, and increased side effects.
People who regularly combine medications with alcohol may be at higher risk for severe health consequences and may require professional help or intervention to address underlying alcohol-related issues. If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol misuse or combining medications with alcohol, seek We Level Up NJ substance abuse counselor support. We can help you address the problem effectively.
Top 3 Common Mixing Bactrim Alcohol FAQs
Can you drink alcohol while taking Bactrim?
It is not recommended to consume bactrim alcohol together as it may increase the risk of side effects. Additionally, it may reduce the effectiveness of the medication. To avoid adverse effects, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking Bactrim.
What is Bactrim and alcohol interaction?
When Bactrim alcohol are combined, the effect is increased risks of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, heart rate, and dizziness. It may also worsen existing side effects from the medication. It is best to avoid alcohol consumption while taking any form of Bactrim.
What are mixing Bactrim DS and alcohol risks?
Alcohol increases the risk of specific side effects from Bactrim DS, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, increased heart rate, and dizziness. It may also worsen existing side effects from the medication. For this reason, it is essential to avoid Bactrim alcohol co-mingled consumption while on Bactrim DS.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Bactrim? Infographic
Can I drink alcohol with Bactrim? As a helpful rule of thumb, you should never mix drugs. This applies to alcohol and Bactrim antibiotics. Always ask your doctor if you can drink alcohol while taking any prescribed medication. Continue to read more about the dangers of mixing alcohol and Bactrim antibiotics.
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Bactrim With Alcohol Drug Facts
Bactrim Generic Name: sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. [SUL-fa-meth-OX-a-zole-&-trye-METH-oh-prim]
Brand Names: Bactrim, Bactrim DS.
Bactrim Drug Class: Sulfonamides.
Alcohol Drug Class: Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant.
Bactrim Alcohol Dangers
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, sold under Bactrim, is a fixed-dose combination antibiotic medication used to treat various bacterial infections. It consists of one part trimethoprim to five parts sulfamethoxazole.
Like other drugs and medications, Bactrim DS carries some risks when combined with alcohol. Bactrim DS interacts with alcohol in a way that decreases the effectiveness of the medicine. This reduces your body’s ability to fight off infection or illness. Some side effects are associated with consuming alcohol while taking Bactrim DS, such as the following:
- Altered mental state.
Severe side effects can include liver damage, irregular heartbeat, and shallow breathing.
Bactrim Alcohol Statistics
According to recent studies, approximately 8-10% of those taking Bactrim DS reported adverse reactions after consuming alcohol. Moreover, studies show that those who take Bactrim DS and drink alcohol concurrently have a higher risk of developing gastrointestinal problems, skin reactions, and liver damage. For this reason, it is strongly advised to avoid alcohol consumption while taking Bactrim DS.
Bactrim Alcohol Disulfiram Reaction
The potential ‘disulfiram reaction’ between Bactrim and alcohol is controversial as there is little data to support that it occurs with commonly prescribed amounts of Bactrim and reasonable alcohol consumption. Moreover, the reaction is more associated with other drugs, like Flagyl (metronidazole). Nevertheless, the interaction has been reported and must be considered.
Bactrim Alcohol Warnings
You should not use Bactrim if you have severe liver disease, kidney disease that is not being monitored, anemia caused by folic acid deficiency if you take dofetilide, or have had low platelets caused by trimethoprim or a sulfa drug.
You should not take Bactrim if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Use Bactrim only as directed. Tell your doctor if you use other medicines or have other medical conditions or allergies.
Drinking Bactrim and alcohol can increase the risk of nausea and vomiting occurring. In general, you should avoid consuming alcohol while taking Bactrim.
To make sure you can safely take Bactrim, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- Kidney or liver disease.
- A folate (folic acid) deficiency.
- Asthma or severe allergies.
- HIV or AIDS.
- A thyroid disorder.
- An electrolyte imbalance. (such as low blood sodium or high potassium)
- Porphyria, or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency; or
- If you use a blood thinner (such as warfarin) and have routine “INR” or prothrombin time tests.
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Bactrim and Alcohol Death Statistics
There is limited research regarding the risks of death related to the combined use of alcohol and Bactrim DS. However, the risks are still associated with consuming alcohol while taking Bactrim DS. Alcohol can interact with Bactrim DS, potentially causing it to become less effective. Moreover, drinking alcohol while taking Bactrim DS can increase the risk of developing side effects such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, and stomach pain. Therefore, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol altogether when taking Bactrim DS.
While risks associated with drinking alcohol while taking Bactrim DS have not been studied comprehensively, if a person has a pre-existing medical condition and is taking Bactrim DS, it is best to talk to a doctor before drinking alcohol to ensure no adverse interactions occur.
Combining Bactrim alcohol warning is the same as substance use disorders. This behavior can involve illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. Effective treatments for substance use disorders are available, but very few people get the treatment they need. Strategies to prevent substance use and help people get treatment can reduce drug and alcohol misuse, related health problems, and deaths.
Over 5,000 people aged 65 and above in the U.S. died of a drug overdose in 2020, and more than twice that many (11,616) died of alcohol-induced causes.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2019 (NSDUH), 85.6% of people ages 18 and older reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lifetime.
An estimated 95,000 people (approximately 68,000 men and 27,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually.
How Does Alcohol Impact Infections and Healing?
Many people know excessive drinking can harm the liver and other vital organs. However, another less obvious body system vulnerable to the adverse effects of alcohol is the immune system. Because of alcohol’s effects on the immune system, people who drink excessively are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, may have more complications after surgery, and often take longer to recover from an illness than those who drink at lower levels. Disruptions in immune system function also contribute to organ damage associated with alcohol consumption.
Alcohol consumption can alter most immune cells’ number, survival, and function. Although these alterations alone may not be sufficient to affect one’s health adversely, if a person is exposed to a second “hit,” such as a virus, their immune system may be unable to respond appropriately, increasing the risk of infection. The specific effects of alcohol on the immune system depend mainly on how often and how much a person drinks. Even a single episode of binge drinking can have measurable results on the immune system, from within the first 20 minutes to several hours after alcohol ingestion.
Over the long term, alcohol abuse weakens the immune system. It increases the risk and severity of viral and bacterial infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B and C, and lung infections. It can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines and contribute to various diseases, including alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic pancreatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, alcoholic steatohepatitis, gastrointestinal tract and brain inflammation, and cancer.
Bactrim and Alcohol Reaction
How long after taking Bactrim can you drink alcohol? When it would be safe to drink alcohol after taking Bactrim, the drug is rapidly absorbed after a dose by mouth, with most of the medication being immersed within a few hours. If you want to avoid consuming alcohol while Bactrim is absorbed from your stomach/GI tract, 3-4 hours seems to be that upper limit. This may help prevent any nausea or vomiting the combination might bring about.
How Long After Bactrim Can I Drink Alcohol?
Bactrim has a half-life of 8-12 hours (half-life refers to the time it takes your body to reduce the concentration of the drug by 50%), meaning it would take a few days at least for the entire drug to be metabolized and out of your system. If you want to avoid alcohol and Bactrim simultaneously in your body, wait at least three days. Waiting for this period will significantly reduce the risk of any reaction.
Consuming Bactrim and alcohol (alcohol Bactrim combination) does not usually result in death. However, it would be best if you remembered that drinking alcohol excessively makes a person’s immune system weaken. It can be addictive and can cause death. Moreover, there are side effects associated with combining Bactrim and alcohol.
4 Popular Mixing Antibiotics Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim and Alcohol (Alcohol and Bactrim) FAQs
What are the risks of mixing Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim and alcohol? Or mixing alcohol and sulfamethoxazole?
A few antibiotics like metronidazole (Flagyl), tinidazole (Tindamax), sulfamethoxazole, and trimethoprim (Bactrim) should not be mixed with alcohol. When combined, these can interact to create a more severe reaction. Drinking alcohol with these medications can result in adverse side effects such as flushing, headache, nausea and vomiting, and rapid heart rate. Beware that mixing alcohol and sulfamethoxazole will also create negative interactions.
Can you mix sulfamethoxazole and alcohol?
Sulfamethoxazole and alcohol can make for a dangerous combination. It would be best if you did not take sulfamethoxazole and alcohol. Drinking alcohol while taking sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim tablets may lead to undesirable side effects. Mixing antibiotics like Bactrim / Sulfamethoxazole and alcohol can cause unsafe heart rate elevation and decreased blood pressure. This can result in secondary adverse effects.
What happens when you drink alcohol while taking Bactrim DS?
If you are wondering if you can drink alcohol while taking Bactrim DS? Depending on the dose and your metabolism, adverse effects may vary from mild to severe, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, and an altered mental state. If you choose to drink alcohol while taking Bactrim, it is important to drink responsibly.
What is the Bactrim and alcohol disulfiram reaction?
The Bactrim and alcohol disulfiram reaction occurs when you drink alcoholic beverages while taking Bactrim. The response usually begins within 10 minutes and can last up to an hour. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, flushing of the face, dizziness, headache, chest pain, fast heart rate, breathing difficulties, and an altered mental state. The severity of the reaction depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and the dose of Bactrim.
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How Does Alcohol Interact With Antibiotics?
Even though there are warnings not to consume alcohol on most antibiotic packaging, it is a common misconception that drinking while on these medications is a relatively safe practice.
One of the most frequently asked questions that doctors get regarding prescription antibiotics is, “Is it safe to drink on these?” The short answer is no – alcohol directly inhibits antibiotics’ effectiveness and can cause many adverse side effects.
Drinking any amount of alcohol while you’re fighting an infection may not be wise, as it can lead to dehydration, interrupt normal sleep, and may hinder your body’s natural ability to heal itself. Moreover, some antibiotics can have a hazardous interaction with alcohol, so you must check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Can you drink alcohol while on Bactrim? A few antibiotics, such as metronidazole (Flagyl), tinidazole (Tindamax), and sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim), should not be mixed with alcohol because this may result in a more severe reaction. Drinking any amount of alcohol with these medications can result in side effects such as flushing, headache, nausea and vomiting, and rapid heart rate.
Also, the antibiotic linezolid (Zyvox) interacts with certain alcoholic beverages, including red wine and tap beer. Drinking these beverages with this medication can cause a dangerous increase in blood pressure.
The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Antibiotics
Bactrim DS and alcohol have individual side effects that impact an individual’s behavior and mental state. Because of this, the two should never be mixed. A handful of antibiotics can cause violent physical reactions when combined with alcohol. These include Metronidazole and Linezolid, commonly prescribed to treat intestinal tract and skin infections, and the sulfonamide medications of Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim (Bactrim), which are used to treat everything from urinary tract infections to pneumonia to ear infections.
Consuming alcohol while taking these drugs can result in severe fatigue, throbbing headache, dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, and heart palpitations. Alcohol can also worsen digestive side effects and turn into blood or mucus in stool, severe diarrhea, intense stomach cramping or pain, fever, and uncontrollable vomiting. Mixing alcohol with certain antibiotics can also damage vital organs, including the liver. The kidneys are responsible for removing toxins, including medications, from the blood and body through urine. Antibiotics can overburden, and damage kidneys, and alcohol exacerbates this.
In addition to all of the debilitating side effects detailed above, alcohol can hinder specific immune system processes and harm the body’s ability to recover from an infection.
Avoid Alcohol While Taking Bactrim
Mixing Bactrim and alcohol can be risky. Not only can alcohol interact badly with some medications and cause severe side effects, but it can also potentially interrupt the natural healing process. Alcohol should be avoided until the Bactrim regimen is completed and your body receives adequate rest and nutrition. However, if you’re someone who suffers from alcoholism, this may be easier said than done. If you think that you may be addicted to alcohol, contact We Level Up NJ to get started on the road to recovery today.
Someone who has become dependent on or addicted to a drug or alcohol should seek professional assistance. Prescription drug treatment programs are designed to support drug and alcohol-dependent individuals medically.
During your rehabilitation, the We Level Up NJ treatment facility staff will help you identify what caused your dependency and abuse and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction.
The We Level Up NJ addiction treatment center provides proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our medically-assisted Bactrim and alcohol detox program. So, reclaim your life. Call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
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5 Most Bactrim and Alcohol Frequently Asked Questions
Can you drink alcohol and take antibiotics like Bactrim?
No. Although modest alcohol use doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of most antibiotics, it can reduce your energy and delay how quickly you recover from illness. So, it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol until you finish your antibiotics and feel better.
Can you drink alcohol while on antibiotics and steroids?
No. Both corticosteroids and alcohol can suppress your immune system, raising your risk of infection. While alcohol may not directly interact with corticosteroids, it can worsen the underlying condition being treated. Antibiotics and alcohol can cause similar side effects, such as stomach upset, dizziness, and drowsiness. Combining antibiotics and alcohol can increase these side effects.
What happens when you mix alcohol and antibiotics such as Bactrim?
Drinking some antibiotics, like metronidazole (Flagyl) and Bactrim, can cause vomiting, cramping, and rapid heart rate.
How long after taking Bactrim can I drink alcohol?
It is generally recommended to avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours after taking Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) to minimize potential interactions and reduce the risk of side effects.
Can I drink alcohol 24 hours after taking Bactrim?
It is best to wait before drinking alcohol 36 hours after Bactrim. This will allow enough time for the antibiotic to leave your system and reduce the potential for any interactions between alcohol and the medication.
It is generally not recommended to consume alcohol while taking antibiotics, including amoxicillin. Alcohol can interact with antibiotics and potentially reduce their effectiveness, increase the risk of side effects, and prolong the healing process.
Specifically for amoxicillin, no direct interaction would cause severe health problems. However, alcohol might still exacerbate some of the side effects associated with the antibiotic, such as stomach upset, nausea, and dizziness. Moreover, alcohol can weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight infections.
To ensure you get the full benefit of antibiotics and avoid probable risks, it’s best to abstain from alcohol while taking them. If you have any concerns or questions about drinking alcohol while on antibiotics, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice and recommendations.
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Search We Level Up NJ Bactrim and Alcohol Detox, Mental Health Topics & Resources
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 Alcohol’s Effects on Immunity—Increasing the Risks for Infection and Injury – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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