Food and alcohol with antibiotics


Some medicos tell me that I ought not to take alcohol with antibiotics because the alcohol will stop the antibiotics from working. Others tell me that I ought not to take alcohol with antibiotics because interactions will make me sick. Others tell me to stop asking stupid questions, and do what it says in the prescribing notes.

What’s the straight dope?

And while we are in the area, when it says that a drug ought to be taken with food, what amount and sort of food is called for? Starchy? Fatty? Bulky? Solid? Would a glass of milk be okay? 250 grammes of dark chocolate? A cup of plain boiled rice? A chunk of hard cheese? A few stalks of celery? Half a litre of water?


You can drink on antibiotics for the most part. However, over drinking can cause your immune system to less be effective when most needed. A glass of wine with your ciprofloxian isn’t going to kill you. As far as food goes, antibiotics are hard on the stomach and other digestive functions. Causing upset and at times diarrhea. Milk or yogurt are good because they have a lot of bacteria. But a good solid meal of your choosing should suffice.

As for whether to take antibiotics on an empty or a full stomach, check the label and follow directions!!! It depends on the medication. The floxins (like ciprofloxacin) and cyclines should not be taken with calcium, such as dairy.

Antibiotics are in general not hard on the stomach (erythromycin is one common exception). What they do is change the native flora of the large intestine, and can result in cramps and diarrhea due to this.

So if you have concerns about how to take a specific antibiotic, consult your doctor or pharmacist for the straight dope.



Well, I’m taking metronidazole. What is a a disulfiram reaction?

I have checked the label. It says ‘TAKE ONE TABLET THREE TIMES A DAY WITH FOOD’. And I’m doing that. But out of curiosity I’d like to know why, and on a practical point I’d like to know what sort of food and how much is appropriate.


I see:


disulfiram blocks the oxidation of alcohol causing an accumulation of acetaldehyde after drinking This results in symptoms such as abdominal colic, flushing, anxiety, dizziness, tachycardia, vomiting and headache. Symptoms start 5-15 minutes after drinking alcohol and last for several hours

if large doses of alcohol are consumed whilst receiving disulfiram treatment, collapse, cardiac arrhythmias and even death can occur

disulfiram has been given to break the drinking habit in alcoholics and it may deter relapse in abstinent patients

before prescribing disulfiram, patients should be warned that the severity of the reaction is unpredictable. Occasionally a reaction may be triggered by the small amount of alcohol in preparations such as cough linctuses

hepatoxicity and psychotic reactions are rare adverse effects to disulfiram treatment