Metronidazole and alcohol

What you need to know if you're thinking about drinking when taking Metronidazole.


Metronidazole is the generic name of the more commonly known drug Flagyl. It is an antibiotic that is used to fight infections all throughout the body. In particular, it combats infections of the vagina, joints, skin, respiratory and digestive system. Metronidazole ahs a limited scope, but it does well at treating a number of parasitic and bacterial infections.

Metronidazole should never be combined with alcohol as a serious interaction may ensue.  Symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, nausea, vomiting and tingling or a warm sensation under the skin may develop.  Potetentially serious or even life-threatening interactions can also occur such as critically high blood pressure and even liver damage.. 

In fact, doctors recommend that you do not consume anything with ethanol in it at all while you are taking Metronidazole. You should be checking the labels on all foods and beverages you consume while taking this drug to ensure that they do not contain alcohol or ethanol. This includes any cakes, meats and other foods that have alcohol baked into them. Alcoholic can still be present in quantities that may lead to serious interaction.

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After you stop taking Metronidazole, you still cannot consume any alcohol or ethanol right away.  Your body will need at least three days after you stop taking this drug to remove any trace of it from your system.

The most serious potential side effect of combinig alcohol and MEtronidazole is a rapid heart rate which can rarely lead to cardiac arrest or exacerbate any underlyiing heart condition you may have. 

If you are taking any medication that contains ethanol and intend to take Metronidazole, , let you doctor know as they can give you advice on how to proceed.

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1. NHS > Antibiotics

2. University of Michigan Health > Metronidazole

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