We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Is It Safe to Combine Cephalexin and Alcohol?

Mary McMahon
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Many patients can safely combine cephalexin and alcohol, but drinking can increase the risk of adverse drug reactions. This antibiotic medication can be recommended to treat a variety of bacterial infections. If someone’s medical history contains items of special concern, a medical provider may recommend refraining from drinking or cutting back while taking the drug. Likewise, if a bad reaction does occur, it may be necessary to stop drinking for the duration of treatment; these patients may want to make note of this for future reference.

One potential issue with cephalexin and alcohol is that the medication could intensify side effects for the patient. Most commonly, drinking while on this antibiotic can make patients feel more dizzy and disoriented. It can be helpful to take the medication alone at first to see how a patient feels; people who experience low levels of dizziness may be able to take cephalexin with alcohol safely. Patients who experience disorientation may want to avoid alcohol because drinking could make them feel worse.

Another issue is existing liver impairment. Patients with liver problems can be at increased risk of complications, and cephalexin occasionally interacts with the liver. People with liver problems, or those who develop them while taking cephalexin, may need to avoid alcohol. The risk of problems with metabolizing the medication can increase, making side effects worse, and the patient might experience more severe liver damage because of the drinking.

No specific warnings recommend against cephalexin and alcohol, but a doctor may generally advise that a patient avoid drinking while taking medication. Alcohol use can complicate drug interactions and reactions, which may make it harder to determine the source of a bad reaction. High volume alcohol consumption may also depress the immune system and cause other problems for the patient which might slow healing and recovery time. This is a particular concern with alcoholics, who may also have impaired nutrition, which can make it harder to recover from infections.

The risks of combining cephalexin and alcohol are not so severe that patients should skip or reschedule doses if they have been drinking. It’s important to take the antibiotic as prescribed to keep concentrations consistent in the blood throughout the course of an infection. Patients who drink heavily may want to consult their physicians about how to cut back or stop, as abrupt cessation can pose health risks in some cases. Options can include supported outpatient treatment as well as time in an inpatient facility for monitoring and care while addressing alcohol dependence.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By julies — On Sep 20, 2012

My brother-in-law was an alcoholic and eventually lost his life to this disease. For him, it didn't matter if he was warned to decrease his use of alcohol while taking something like cephalexin because it didn't make any difference.

He wasn't very good about taking prescribed medications anyway, and sadly, the alcohol was more important to him than anything else. I remember once he complained about being dizzy after taking an antibiotic, so he quit taking it.

I am sure he never cut back on his alcohol while he was taking this medication, so the alcohol must have made the side effects even worse for him.

By John57 — On Sep 19, 2012

I have taken cephalexin before to clear up some acne and was also given this for a urinary tract infection. Each time, I was only on the medication for a week.

I was never given any warning about combining this with alcohol. I really didn't do anything different than I normally do when I was taking this antibiotic and never had any kind of problems at all.

By honeybees — On Sep 18, 2012

I didn't think it was wise to mix any kind of medication with alcohol. All medications, whether they are an antibiotic or not have to be processed through the liver. If these are combined with alcohol, which is also hard on the liver, I don't think I would want to risk this.

I know most people wouldn't realize there might be damage to their liver as this probably wouldn't immediately show up. I think I will stay on the safe side and follow the advice I was given many years ago about mixing medication and alcohol.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.