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.