Last Updated on by Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley
Most of us are aware that mixing any drug with alcohol is never a good idea. However, in some cases, it happens accidentally when we forget we’ve taken a painkiller or when we’ve already drunk too much and our thinking is impaired. In this post we’ll take a closer look at the dangers of mixing Metronidazole and alcohol together.
What Is Metronidazole?
Metronidazole is classed as a nitroimidazole antimicrobial (antibiotic) drug. It’s used for fighting infections in your body caused by bacteria and parasites. It comes in immediate-release or extended-release tablets, as a cream, gel, or lotion, and also as a vaginal gel.
The brand names flagyl (immediate-release) and flagyl ER (extended-release) are more commonly used when discussing metronidazole. Flagyl ER is usually prescribed for vaginal infections and both versions are prescription-only medications.
What Are Metronidazole’s Side Effects?
The side effects for metronidazole, or flagyl, are generally classed in the categories of minor or severe.
Side effects usually pass within two weeks, however, you should always report any severe side effects and long-lasting side effects to your Doctor.
Minor Side Effects
- Appetite loss
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- A metallictaste in your mouth
Severe Side Effects
You should monitor severe side effects carefully and follow your Doctor’s advice. If any side effects cause what you believe may be a medical emergency, dial 911 immediately.
Severe Side Effects include:
- Headaches– moderate to severe pain
- Confusion/memory loss
- Ataxia– loss of coordination and muscle control
It should be noted that women side effects for women include the risk of an increase in yeast infections, vaginal discharge, and irritations.
Metronidazole often counteracts with other medications, so it’s important that your Doctor knows of every other medication you may be taking. This includes herbal supplements and vitamins.
What Are the Dangers of Taking Flagyl and Alcohol Together?
Mixing flagyl with alcohol can produce severe reactions very quickly. Flagyl is the immediate-release version of metronidazole which means the drug goes straight to your brain as soon as you take it.
Along with tinidazole and benznidazole, metronidazole causes an intolerance for alcohol. This means that even the smallest amount of alcohol, such as what you’ll find in cough medicines, could give you a severe reaction.
It’s important to note that even the creams, gels, and lotions can be dangerous if mixed with alcohol.
What Will Happen If I Mix Flagyl with Alcohol?
It’s recommended that you wait at least 3 days from your last dose of flagyl to have an alcoholic drink. If you’ve been using flagyl ER you need to wait even longer.
If you do decide to mix flagyl with alcohol you may not notice a reaction immediately, but soon after, you will experience some severe symptoms.
People have reported severe stomach pains and cramps with nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can continue for quite some time and may lead to other problems such as dehydration.
Aftershave, cough syrup, and gels may all seem to be harmless products, but these often contain alcohol and can cause a violent reaction like we described above.
What Will Happen If I Mix Flagyl with Other Substances?
As we’ve already mentioned, flagyl can interact badly with many other drugs, so ensure that your Doctor is aware of every tablet or capsule you take.
Mixing flagyl with marijuana can lead to different, but just as severe, side effects as alcohol. On its own, flagyl can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded, but when mixed with marijuana, these effects can be magnified significantly. This puts you at risk when driving, operating machinery, or engaging in any activity where you need to focus on what you’re doing.
Medications can be passed onto infants through breast-feeding, so discuss this with your Doctor. The same applies with pregnancy, your Doctor will be able to discuss the benefits and risks with you, so that you can make an informed decision.
Why Is Mixing Metronidazole and Alcohol so Dangerous?
The side effects of mixing metronidazole and alcohol – such as stomach cramps, headaches, vomiting and nausea are unpleasant, but these are not the only risk. Mixing these two substances can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure or a rapid heart rate.
These put you at risk of falls due to dizziness and accidents due to poor decision-making. When there is not enough blood getting to your brain, you decision-making processes are compromised.
There is also the risk of liver damage which may not be reparable.
The dangers of mixing metronidazole and alcohol far outweigh any benefits.
Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley is the CEO and Founder of Revive Detox, a Joint Commission Accredited and Legit Script Certified Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University in Los Angeles in 2007 and has extensive experience working in the addiction and recovery field and the LGBT community. To learn more about Dr. Calvert-Conley click here.