Updated at: 12-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Is it safe to unwind with a beer or wine while on the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole?

This is a question that often puzzles many people, given the common warnings about mixing alcohol and antibiotics.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into why you might want to skip that glass of Cabernet while taking sulfamethoxazole – so don’t miss out!

The Interaction between Sulfamethoxazole and Alcohol

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Potential risks and side effects

Imbibing alcohol while on a course of sulfamethoxazole presents several potential risks and side effects. One significant concern is the way alcohol interacts with antibiotics, leading to an increased likelihood of adverse reactions.

For instance, combining Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) with alcohol can trigger dangerous heart rate elevation and decreased blood pressure. This combination may also cause nausea and vomiting, adding discomfort to your medical treatment process.

Liver function can be particularly impacted when mixing sulfamethoxazole and alcohol. The liver plays a critical role in breaking down both alcohol and this specific antibiotic. Overburdening the liver with these two substances could lead to impaired function or even damage over time.

In more severe cases, it could increase the risk for potential addiction, especially among individuals dealing with Alcoholism.

Increased risk of nausea and vomiting

Consuming alcohol while taking sulfamethoxazole can increase the risk of experiencing nausea and vomiting. This is because both alcohol and sulfamethoxazole have a potential for causing stomach upset and gastrointestinal disturbances.

The combination of these two substances can intensify these effects, leading to more severe symptoms. It is important to note that excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration, which can further complicate the recovery process.

Alternatives to Drinking Alcohol

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Find out more about these alternatives here.

Tips for staying hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial, especially if you’re struggling with alcoholism. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated while avoiding alcohol:

  1. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day to remind yourself to drink water regularly.
  2. Set reminders on your phone or use apps to prompt you to drink water at regular intervals.
  3. Opt for non – alcoholic beverages such as herbal teas, infused water, or sparkling water with a slice of citrus for flavor.
  4. Consume hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables, which have high water content.
  5. Avoid sugary drinks and caffeinated beverages as they can dehydrate you further.
  6. Aim to drink at least eight glasses (64 ounces) of water per day.
  7. Create a hydration schedule that includes specific times during the day when you’ll consume water.
  8. Keep track of your daily water intake using a journal or mobile app to monitor your progress.
  9. Drink water before, during, and after physical activities or workouts to replenish lost fluids.
  10. Remember that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and difficulties in concentration.

Non-alcoholic beverage options

Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Mocktails: Enjoy the experience of having a cocktail without the alcohol. There are numerous recipes available online for delicious mocktails that can be made with fruit juices, sparkling water, and various garnishes.
  2. Infused water: Jazz up plain water by infusing it with fruits, herbs, or vegetables. Add slices of lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves to your water for a refreshing twist.
  3. Herbal tea: Explore the wide variety of herbal teas available on the market. From soothing chamomile to revitalizing peppermint, herbal teas provide a flavorful and calming alternative to alcoholic beverages.
  4. Sparkling water: If you enjoy the fizzy sensation of champagne or carbonated drinks, opt for sparkling water instead. You can enhance the taste by adding a squeeze of citrus juice or muddled berries.
  5. Fruit smoothies: Blend together your favorite fruits with yogurt or milk to create a delicious and nutritious smoothie. Experiment with different combinations like strawberry-banana or mango-pineapple.

Engaging in alternative activities

Here are some alternative activities you can try:

  1. Pursue hobbies: Engage in activities that you enjoy and that can take your mind off drinking. This could include things like painting, gardening, knitting, or playing a musical instrument.
  2. Exercise: Physical activity is not only good for your overall health but can also help with stress management and reducing cravings for alcohol. Consider going for a walk, jogging, swimming, or practicing yoga.
  3. Join a support group: Connecting with others who are also dealing with alcoholism can provide valuable support and encouragement. Consider joining a local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group or seeking out online support forums where you can share your experiences and receive guidance from others.
  4. Explore new interests: Use this time to explore new interests and passions that don’t involve alcohol. Take up photography, learn a new language, start writing in a journal, or try cooking new recipes.
  5. Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Mindfulness meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions without judgment or attachment. Learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or guided imagery can also help manage stress and reduce the desire to drink.


In conclusion, it is highly recommended to avoid drinking alcohol while taking sulfamethoxazole due to the potential risks and side effects.

Mixing alcohol with this medication can impact liver function, increase the risk of nausea and vomiting, reduce its effectiveness, and potentially lead to adverse reactions.

It’s best to stay hydrated with non-alcoholic beverages and engage in alternative activities while on sulfamethoxazole for optimal healing without compromising your health.