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Can You Drink While Taking Metronidazole?

19th January 2021

What is metronidazole and why would you need it? Metronidazole is a simple antibiotic used for a variety of infections, such as rosacea, dental abscesses, and infected gums.

how to take metronidazole

It is also frequently used for treating other conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease and bacterial vaginosis, as well as other infections like insect bites, bedsores and wounds, skin ulcers and parasitic infections.

Metronidazole is only available to buy through a prescription, so if you need to purchase it, you will need to visit a doctor or use an online prescription service like UK Meds.

Something important to note is that metronidazole must only be used for bacterial infections. Antibiotics should never be used to treat viral infections such as the common cold and the flu.

They are completely ineffective at treating these infections and taking antibiotics when they are not needed could lead to antibiotic resistance, meaning they won’t work when you really do need them.

Like all medication, when taking metronidazole, you may experience one or more side effects. Some side effects should be of no concern and the more serious side effects are rarer so less likely to appear.

The side effects you may experience and should be of no concern are:

  • Dizziness
  • Stomach upset
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • A metallic taste in your mouth
  • Constipation
  • Headaches

Although these side effects are nothing to be worried about, if they worsen or continue after you finish taking metronidazole, you must contact your doctor.

Side effects that are slightly more serious and would require you to tell your doctor straight away are:

  • A persistent sore throat
  • Fever
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding easily
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Urinating becomes painful

And finally, these side effects are profoundly serious, and you will require immediate medical attention if they appear:

  • Mental/mood changes 
  • Unsteadiness
  • Seizures
  • Numbness/tingling in the arms and legs
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Trouble speaking
  • Sudden vision changes
  • A severe headache that will not go away
  • Stiff/pain in the neck

Should you avoid alcohol while taking metronidazole?

You absolutely must avoid any alcohol consumption when you are taking metronidazole. It is known to react very badly with alcohol and could bring on several very unpleasant side effects.

  • Tummy pain
  • Hot flushes
  • Headaches
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Fast or an irregular heartbeat

The bad reaction to alcohol is significant and can occur with even a tiny amount of alcohol. Its not very well understood why the two react so badly together, and it is unknown how long the problems may last after you finish taking metronidazole. 

The manufacturers of metronidazole suggest that you should completely avoid alcohol while taking it, and then for 48 hours after finishing the course of medication. 48 hours is recommended because it takes that long for metronidazole to fully leave your system. 

The reaction between metronidazole and alcohol is so strong, it is recommended that you also avoid alcohol-containing products like certain cough and cold remedies and mouthwash.