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Is It Safe to Mix Minocycline and Alcohol?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Minocycline and alcohol should probably not be mixed, though there are people who combine the two substances. There is no official warning on minocycline bottles to avoid alcohol use, but information about the drug can provide an argument for why abstention from alcohol could be advisable. For example, alcohol use may lower the amount of minocycline in the body, and people who are alcoholics may especially encounter this effect. Moreover, people using the antibiotic to treat infections may be better off if they are not drinking while trying to get better. Additionally, mixing minocycline with alcohol may exacerbate some of the antibiotic’s unpleasant side effects.

Taking tetracycline antibiotics with alcohol often lowers their potency. Generally, very low alcohol intake, such as a single drink, isn’t likely to have much of an effect. On the other hand, higher levels of alcohol can place a burden on the liver, which partly processes minocycline. Theoretically, this could reduce blood serum levels of the drug, which means minocycline and alcohol consumed together could prevent adequate treatment.

This issue is most concerning in people who are alcoholics. Continued drinking and liver damage due to alcoholism may create an environment in which minocycline cannot adequately work. Bacterial disease might remain, and patients could become sicker.

The choice to combine minocycline with alcohol is also questionable from a common sense perspective. When people are ill, it is unwise for them to further burden their bodies with the need to process a poison like alcohol. At a minimum, this can result in dehydration, which is not conducive to wellness. It’s true that many people take minocycline for acne, and may not really be “sick.” In those instances when the medication is prescribed for an illness, however, like Lyme disease, gonorrhea or syphilis, it makes sense to avoid alcohol to promote health.

Another argument against using minocycline and alcohol together has to do with the side effects that the antibiotic may cause. Especially in female patients, minocycline has been linked to extreme dizziness, balance difficulties, ringing in the ears, and vertigo. Given these known side effects, this antibiotic is not frequently prescribed to women. When it is, avoiding alcohol may make sense because it can also contribute to these symptoms and worsen them.

Despite these arguments, minocycline and alcohol are likely to be used together from time to time. It’s advised people keep alcohol consumption to a minimum and seek advice from their doctor before drinking. Alcoholics should definitely discuss their condition with a doctor prior to accepting this antibiotic, since it is unlikely to work and may aggravate liver damage.

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.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Aug 28, 2013

My doctor said that minocycline with alcohol is okay in moderation. But I wish I hadn't because I got a terribly upset stomach when I mixed them.

By stoneMason — On Aug 27, 2013

@ankara-- That's a great question. For that, you need to know the half-life of minocycline which is 12-24 hours. So that means that it takes up to one day for half of the drug to leave your body. So if you drink alcohol after eight hours of your dose, it will still effect the medication effectiveness because the drug is still very much in your system.

Of course, I don't know the details of alcohol and minocycline processing and absorption in the body. So I can't say that the minocycline loses its effectiveness when you drink. There are just too many factors involved like the dosage, how much you drink, how much time there is in between and how quickly your liver processes things. The result of mixing minocycline and alcohol is going to be a little different in everyone.

But it's precisely because of this that you should avoid mixing them. You don't know if the drug is going to lose its effectiveness or not.

By bluedolphin — On Aug 27, 2013

Are the minocycline tablets really going to waste when they're taken with alcohol, or is this an exaggeration?

And doesn't the time period matter? If I have a few beers about eight hours after taking my minocycline dose, is the effectiveness of the medication going to change?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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