Fluconazole and Alcohol
Any time you take a prescription drug or over-the-counter medication, you must understand how it will mix with other substances you might ingest. Alcohol use should be avoided with many medications because it can cause mild to severe side effects and other concerns. Now that you have been prescribed fluconazole, you understandably need to know if it is safe to continue drinking alcohol for the length of your treatment. What should you know about the impact of alcohol consumption with fluconazole treatment?
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What Is Fluconazole?
Fluconazole is an FDA-approved antifungal medication that is only available through a doctor’s prescription. It may also be prescribed by its brand names, Diflucan or Canesten. While it is usually taken in tablet form, fluconazole is also available in a liquid formula for oral ingestion. In the body, it works to eradicate fungal overgrowths. Specifically, it blocks the membrane growth of fungal cells to fight the infection.
Commonly, fluconazole is prescribed to treat penile balanitis, yeast infections, and oral thrush. In some cases, it may also be prescribed as a treatment for meningitis, urinary tract infections, and fungal infections impacting the lungs, esophagus, abdomen, and other areas of the body. This medication may also be prescribed before a bone marrow transplant or as a fungal growth prevention measure for those in chemotherapy. The typical treatment length may range from a week to six months, depending on the type and severity of the infection.
How Does Alcohol Consumption Impact Fluconazole Treatment?
In many cases, your medication’s bottle or box will not have special instructions to avoid alcohol consumption while being treated with fluconazole. Alcohol will not impact fluconazole’s ability to eradicate the membranes of fungal cells and to work effectively. However, it is vital to understand how alcohol may impact your fungal infection before you have a drink. Alcohol has fermented ingredients and sugars, both of which promote the growth of fungal cells in the body. Because of this, thrush, yeast infections, and other fungal infections may thrive because you consumed alcohol. Because of this, it can counteract how effective fluconazole is as a fungal treatment and how long it takes for your infection to clear up.
Keep in mind that fluconazole will not be effective at treating all types of fungal infections. One reason for this is because of antifungal-resistant infections. Such infections can even develop inside your body if you intake alcohol and excessive amounts of sugar during your fluconazole treatment. Because of this, your doctor may recommend that you avoid alcohol consumption while being treated, even though alcohol consumption is not directly contraindicated.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Fluconazole?
Fluconazole usually has mild side effects, such as headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, and an upset stomach. In some cases, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heartburn, skin itching or inflammation, loss of appetite, and an unpleasant taste could be experienced. These side effects can sometimes be magnified by those who drink alcohol with fluconazole. In addition, there is a small risk of liver damage related to fluconazole treatment, even if you do not mix the medication with alcohol. Signs of jaundice and other liver conditions could include dark urine and yellow eyes, requiring immediate medical attention.
Several medical studies have determined that approximately 5% of patients on this antifungal treatment have elevated liver enzymes. This is a sign of relatively minor liver damage, and the body may naturally recover after treatment ends. However, consuming alcohol in large quantities may also hurt your liver. These two substances can increase the possibility of more severe liver damage. Many doctors will not prescribe fluconazole to patients who have known liver problems for this reason. If you must be on fluconazole for a lengthy period of time, your doctor may monitor your liver enzymes and function through blood tests.
You should also be aware that alcohol impacts the body and could affect your treatment. For example, alcohol is a diuretic, and this means that consumption of alcohol could lead to dehydration. Dehydration can impact liver function, another reason for the increased risk of liver damage. Alcohol is also known to negatively affect sleep cycles. In turn, this impacts the functionality of your immune system. Through this effect, it may take longer for your fungal infection to clear up if you consume alcohol while being treated with fluconazole. This may also lead to an increased risk of an antifungal-resistant infection.
How Much Can You Drink While Being Treated with Fluconazole?
Fluconazole can remain in your system for many days, so there is no safe number of drinks you can have each day during your treatment. This medication could remain in the body for up to 10 days after the last dose. It is best to avoid all alcohol consumption during the entire time period.
On the other hand, alcohol remains in the body for a relatively short time. If you are trying to decide when to take your first dose of fluconazole, you should wait at least a few hours after your last drink. However, if your alcohol consumption has been heavy, you should consider waiting an entire day until you take the first dose.
Some people may feel compelled to drink alcohol during treatment and the 10-day waiting period after the last dose. If you choose to drink, avoid beverages high in sugar and yeast. These include cocktails, beer, and more. In addition, you should only drink alcohol in small doses. Some studies have shown that liver damage may occur if you regularly consume more than 30 grams per day. Thirty grams is the equivalent of two 5-ounce pours of wine, two 1.5-ounce liquor shots, or two 12-ounce bottles of beer.
Is It Challenging to Avoid Drinking During Fluconazole Treatment?
While some people can avoid alcohol consumption throughout their treatment, others may be challenged to do so. Even drinking one or two alcoholic beverages while taking fluconazole can negatively impact your body. The inability to sustain alcohol consumption may indicate an alcohol use disorder. Specifically, this type of disorder is defined as drinking alcohol even when adverse consequences are known. A sign of alcohol addiction is when a person drinks alcohol even after knowing it negatively affects their health, finances, social life, or personal relationships. Alcohol addiction may be associated with spending a significant amount of time recovering from alcohol use, too much time thinking about drinking, or drinking more than intended.
If you cannot resist consuming alcohol with fluconazole treatment, you may benefit from a consultation with a treatment team even after you are aware of its adverse health effects. You can learn more about your situation and treatment options through a consultation. While some people can stop drinking alcohol independently, many are challenged to do so. Treatment programs are available to help you through this process.
Request a Consultation Today
At Long Island Interventions, our compassionate and supportive team recognizes the many challenges of overcoming an alcohol use disorder or addiction. We are ready to support you in your journey to sobriety. Most treatments begin with alcohol detox, which may be medically assisted to help you manage the unpleasant side effects. A detox may be followed by residential rehab, outpatient rehab, and other programs. While achieving and maintaining sobriety can be challenging, programs may help you to find more tremendous success. Contact Long Island Interventions today to learn about alcohol detox and treatment programs.