Mixing Alcohol and Bactrim

If you have questions about alcohol and Bactrim, or more specifically Bactrim and alcohol use, you’re not alone. This is a topic that’s frequently asked about, and below is some in-depth information about the possible outcomes of Bactrim and alcohol use.

Alcohol and Bactrim | Bactrim and Alcohol Use
So what is Bactrim, and why do people wonder about the relationship between alcohol and Bactrim?

Bactrim is the brand name of a generic antibiotic called sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, which actually combines two antibiotics.

Bactrim is prescribed to fight urinary tract infections caused by certain bacteria, middle ear infections and other conditions including pneumonia, some forms of diarrhea and chronic bronchitis. Regardless of whether or not you plan on using alcohol and Bactrim simultaneously, it shouldn’t be used by certain people.

People who shouldn’t use Bactrim include individuals who are sensitive to the drugs it contains, people with a low blood platelet count or anemia, or people with liver damage or poor kidney function.

Some of the side effects of Bactrim can include appetite problems, stomach ache, and vomiting, although others are possible.

So what about Bactrim interactions, including alcohol and Bactrim?

Bactrim can have quite a few interactions, so it’s not just Bactrim and alcohol use to consider with this antibiotic.

Some of these include:

  • Drugs that impact the brain or nervous system like Dilantin may interact with Bactrim
  • Antidepressants and other mood drugs can have an interaction
  • You should let your doctor know if you’re using drugs that suppress your immune system
  • Blood pressure drugs and certain NSAIDs can also have an interaction with Bactrim

With alcohol and Bactrim, the two should not be mixed, and there is a risk of severe side effects if they are. Most antibiotics can be taken with alcohol, at least in moderation, and there are little possible side effects, but Bactrim is not one of those.

Bactrim and alcohol are problematic because it’s part of a class of drugs called sulfa, and if you combine alcohol and Bactrim it can lead to serious reactions. The risks of Bactrim and alcohol use are especially high when you have kidney disease.

So why are alcohol and Bactrim a bad combination? Bactrim is believed to interact with acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which is something that breaks down alcohol in your body so that you’re able to metabolize it. If acetaldehyde accumulates as the result of mixing alcohol and Bactrim, you may start o have problems breathing, experience flushing, have a headache or experience nausea. The reaction that can occur with alcohol and Bactrim is similar to what happens if you take Antabuse and drink. Antabuse is a drug specifically intended to help prevent drinking by alcoholics.

The interaction between alcohol and Bactrim can mean that even foods with alcohol are problematic. For example, if you are taking Bactrim you’re advised to not eat sauces with high amounts of alcohol.

If you have impaired kidney or liver function, or a folate deficiency you should be especially cautious with the use of Bactrim.

Another question people have about alcohol and Bactrim is how long you should wait after finishing the medicine to drink alcohol.

When you take Bactrim it’s absorbed within one to four hours, so you should wait at least four hours before drinking alcohol, but possibly even more because it can be best to ensure the antibiotic is fully out of your system. This would mean that for Bactrim to be fully removed from your system you should wait at least three days after taking your last dose to avoid any possible adverse interactions.

It should be noted that the negative effects of Bactrim and alcohol use are pretty rare among antibiotics. There’s a misconception that if you take antibiotics and drink then your antibiotics won’t be effective and this isn’t the case. Instead, drinking while you have a bacterial infection can reduce the activity of your immune system and make you feel worse, but the antibiotics are still just as effective.

There are just a few antibiotics that shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol, and Bactrim happens to be one of those, but it’s not because alcohol would render it ineffective.

If you are someone with a history of alcohol problems, it’s important you disclose these to your doctor and also take extreme caution if you are prescribed to this medicine. Because of the potential interaction between Bactrim and alcohol, your doctor may prescribe you a different antibiotic.

Mixing Alcohol and Bactrim
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