Is It Safe to Take Penicillin with Alcohol?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2018
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Many people have concerns about taking penicillin with alcohol. It is usually best to consume this medication with water if those are the instructions provided. If the patient would like to drink an alcoholic beverage afterward, she may do so because she is not likely to experience any negative effects as a result. The belief that people should abstain from alcohol while taking these drugs is believed to be the result of myths spread by doctors treating sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Penicillin is an antibiotic commonly used to treat bacterial infections. When a person gets a prescription for this drug, the container usually outlines how the medicine should be taken. It is common to find that the patient is advised either by these instructions, the doctor, or the pharmacist to consume the antibiotics with water. It is always best to strictly follow the orders of a medical professional when taking any type of drugs. Swallowing penicillin with an alcoholic beverage is therefore not recommended.

Whether or not a person should drink alcohol afterward is a different issue. The instructions that accompany a prescription usually include warnings that address common mistakes that people may make. For example, a person may find cautions that penicillin reduces the effectiveness of birth control. Warnings regarding penicillin with alcohol, however, are usually not included.


There are many people with a lot of false beliefs about having penicillin with alcohol in the body at the same time. Some believe that the two substances will mix together and create a concoction that produces a variety of negative effects. This has been found to be a medical myth. Some people also believe that alcohol will reduce the healing potential of the antibiotics. Medical evidence also appears to disprove this idea.

Some individuals blame the abounding myths regarding the dangers of penicillin with alcohol on doctors treating STDs in the 20th century. It is believed that these medical professionals issued strict warnings to avoid mixing the two substances, but their reasons were not because of the side effects. Instead, the motive for these warnings was to prevent people from getting intoxicated before they completed their treatment because doing so would increase their desire to have sex and thereby increase the risk of spreading the STDs to others.

While this may also be a medical myth, it appears that the two substances have little, if any, effect on one another. It is always best, however, to put safety first. Anyone who is prescribed penicillin and has concerns about drinking alcohol should ask a doctor or pharmacist.


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Post 3

@MikeMason-- I suppose they can cause upset stomach together but people can try it and act accordingly. Aside from this though, there is no reason to avoid alcohol while on penicillin. Alcohol doesn't make the medication less effective which I think is the major concern when mixing any drug with alcohol.

Post 2

@ankara-- There are some antibiotics that cannot be mixed with alcohol. Alcohol can be taken in moderation with penicillin but it's not true for all antibiotics, so let's not generalize.

If you ask me, I don't think it's a good idea to take penicillin and alcohol together either. Both of these are really hard on the stomach and they will probably cause upset stomach or some other gastrointestinal issues. If you ask any doctor, they will probably say that you CAN drink if you want, but it's better not to.

Post 1

This is good news. I thought that alcohol and antibiotics are not supposed to mix. I'm glad I did a search to confirm because I have a birthday party to attend this weekend. Thanks!

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