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Fact versus Fiction: a Review of the Evidence behind Alcohol and Antibiotic Interactions

Authors
  • Mergenhagen, Kari A.
  • Wattengel, Bethany A.
  • Skelly, Megan K.
  • Clark, Collin M.
  • Russo, Thomas A.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Publisher
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Feb 21, 2020
Volume
64
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1128/AAC.02167-19
PMID: 31871085
PMCID: PMC7038249
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Many antibiotics carry caution stickers that warn against alcohol consumption. Data regarding concurrent use are sparse. An awareness of data that address this common clinical scenario is important so health care professionals can make informed clinical decisions and address questions in an evidence-based manner. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the evidence behind alcohol warnings issued for many common antimicrobials. The search was conducted from inception of each database to 2018 using PubMed, Medline via Ovid, and Embase. It included studies that involved interactions, effects on efficacy, and toxicity/adverse drug reactions (ADR) due to concomitant alcohol consumption and antimicrobials. All interactions were considered in terms of three components: (i) alteration in pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) of antimicrobials and/or alcohol, (ii) change in antimicrobial efficacy, and (iii) development of toxicity/ADR. Available data support that oral penicillins, cefdinir, cefpodoxime, fluoroquinolones, azithromycin, tetracycline, nitrofurantoin, secnidazole, tinidazole, and fluconazole can be safely used with concomitant alcohol consumption. Data are equivocal for trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Erythromycin may have reduced efficacy with alcohol consumption, and doxycycline may have reduced efficacy in chronic alcoholism. Alcohol low in tyramine may be consumed with oxazolidinones. The disulfiram-like reaction, though classically associated with metronidazole, occurs with uncertain frequency and with varied severity. Cephalosporins with a methylthiotetrazole (MTT) side chain or a methylthiodioxotriazine (MTDT) ring, ketoconazole, and griseofulvin have an increased risk of a disulfiram-like reaction. Alcohol and antimicrobial interactions are often lacking evidence. This review questions common beliefs due to poor, often conflicting data and identifies important knowledge gaps.

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