Estimated reading time: 21 minute(s)
Antibiotics are one of the most commonly used categories of drugs worldwide. Aimed to kill bacteria and the infections they lead to, these antibiotics can be extremely powerful and play a crucial role in helping a person heal. However, using them with certain substances may bring more harm than good, one of them being alcohol.
The combination of Levaquin and alcohol has been greatly debated, especially in terms of the safety of using the two together. Most experts advise against using both together due to the potential risks the duo can bring, in addition to the worsening of the side effects associated with levofloxacin. The risks are not too significant in a person who drinks in moderation, yet experts still advise caution.
An Overview of Levaquin
Levaquin or levofloxacin is a prescription medication available in the form of oral solution, tablet, and ophthalmic solution in addition to an intravenous form commonly available in hospitals. As a potent antibiotic, Levaquin belongs to a category called fluoroquinolones and helps people fight bacterial infections, such as the following:
- Sinus infection
- Urinary tract infections
- Inhalational anthrax
- Worsening of chronic bronchitis
- Pyelonephritis or kidney infection
- Chronic prostate infection
- Skin infections
Many experts recommend using Levaquin as a part of combination therapy, meaning that a person may use it with other medications. Fluoroquinolones, including levofloxacin, generally work by killing the bacteria causing an underlying infection. Hence, the drug must only be used in situations where bacteria are suspected to be the cause of infection.
Is Drinking Alcohol Safe While Using Levaquin?
Most experts agree that mixing both can be potentially dangerous, especially due to levofloxacin interactions with alcohol. Drinking while taking Levaquin can lead to nervousness, confusion, agitation, and severe disorientation. Moreover, drinking after taking any antibiotic, including levofloxacin, can also cause issues with attention and memory loss.
Remember that the duo of Levaquin and alcohol may not necessarily be a life-threatening combination at first. However, as a person continues to combine them, they may develop dangerous complications. For instance, confusion, agitation, and disorientation can lead to fatal consequences for someone engaging in risky activities, like driving or operating heavy machinery. Because of this risk, it is always advisable to avoid the combination, and even if someone takes them accidentally, they must not engage in any activity that requires high focus, attention, or precision.
Levaquin is a member of a broader class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones that carry the potential to trigger mental health issues. The Food and Drug Administration or the FDA, has published many warnings previously regarding the potential negative effects the use of fluoroquinolones can have on a person’s mental health. Drinking alcohol on top of using these antibiotics can significantly heighten the risk of acquiring mental health problems.
In many cases, people have reported experiencing seizures while taking levofloxacin and other fluoroquinolones. The risk of these side effects becomes higher in people who have a background of seizures and those who drink alcohol. Alcohol can impact a person’s threshold of having a seizure; hence, vulnerable people must never combine it with Levaquin, especially if they have a history of seizures.
Despite all the warnings mentioned above, remember that having a single drink with levofloxacin does not usually cause lasting damage if it happens once. Alcohol can target the central nervous system, and using Levaquin on top of it can worsen these effects. To avoid central nervous system problems altogether, do not take the risk of using Levaquin and alcohol together.
Taking Levofloxacin With Alcohol: FDA Warnings to Remember
The FDA has published warnings about the possible side effects of using Levaquin. Using antibiotics along with alcohol can significantly worsen these side effects, putting a person’s health at risk. Following are some of these risk factors to keep in mind:
- Tendon inflammation of rupture: Levaquin has been linked with a heightened risk of tendinitis or tendon rupture. This side effect can hit any person belonging to any age group; however, people over the age of 60 and those taking corticosteroids are particularly prone to it. The presence of a kidney, lung, or heart transplant can also increase the risk.
- Peripheral neuropathy: Levofloxacin can induce peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes damage to the nerves in hands, arms, legs, and feet, along with changes in sensation in these areas. The damage can be more severe in people who are drinking alcohol simultaneously and may sometimes become permanent. People who start experiencing any signs of peripheral neuropathy, such as pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, and burning, must always contact a doctor right away if they are on levofloxacin.
- Effects on the central nervous system: The combination of Levaquin and alcohol can significantly increase the risk of damage to the central nervous system. Some side effects arising from the combination may include psychosis, convulsions, and increased pressure in the head. The combination can also cause agitation, tremors, hallucinations, delirium, confusion, and anxiety, in addition to nightmares and sleep-related issues. In rare cases, the use of levofloxacin with alcohol can lead to suicidal thoughts. Ensure to let a doctor know if you are using this drug but are at an increased risk of experiencing seizures.
- Restricted use: Because of the tendency of levofloxacin to cause side effects, experts advise limiting its use to certain conditions where no alternative treatment option exists. These conditions may include acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis, uncomplicated urinary tract infection, and acute bacterial sinusitis.
- Worsening myasthenia gravis: Using levofloxacin with or without alcohol can cause muscle weakness, especially in people with myasthenia gravis. Hence, those with a history of this illness must avoid the combination.
Can you drink on levofloxacin or any other antibiotic?
Experts generally advise against consuming alcohol every day as doing so can overwhelm the liver. Combining this habit with antibiotic consumption can lead to many immediate complications, especially surrounding the liver. The liver is an important organ of the body and is mainly responsible for the metabolism of all medications. When it is already overwhelmed by alcohol, it may not be able to do its job of metabolizing medications properly. Depending on the type and dosage of the antibiotic a person takes, along with the frequency and dosage of alcohol they consume daily, the combination may even lead to liver damage.
Additionally, many antibiotics can exert side effects similar to those of alcohol consumption. For instance, both substances can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and an upset stomach, and combining them may make these side effects severe. Modest consumption of alcohol may not affect the functioning of levofloxacin as such, but experts still advise caution.
How long after taking levofloxacin can I drink alcohol?
Levaquin or levofloxacin is a common antibiotic used to treat different types of bacterial infections. The manufacturer of those antibiotics has not specifically stated if people using it should avoid alcohol or not. However, drinking while taking antibiotics can significantly increase the risk of side effects like dizziness, nausea, or an upset stomach. To avoid these unnecessary complications, it is advisable to wait for at least 3 days or 72 hours after the last dose of levofloxacin before recommencing the use of alcohol. For more specific advice, a doctor who can assess personal circumstances and provide guidance accordingly must be contacted. Moreover, a doctor also has the most up-to-date information based on a person’s current health status and can support them best. Remember that while alcohol may not directly interact with Levaquin, it may disrupt the body’s ability to fight off an infection, prolonging the duration of illness, which is why experts advise drinking in moderation.