Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Fluconazole?
In our latest question and answer, we discuss the safety considerations when combining alcohol with fluconazole.
I took a one day fluconazole dose, 150 mg pill, for a yeast infection. Is it OK to drink alcohol two days later? How long before it leaves your system?
There is no drug interaction between fluconazole and alcohol, but it generally is not recommended to drink alcohol while recovering from an infection. Alcohol has the propensity to decrease immune function, at least acutely (1). In addition, it can potentially worsen medication side effects, including:
- Upset stomach
What Is Fluconazole?
Fluconazole, also known by the brand name Diflucan, is a systemic anti-fungal that is commonly used for yeast infections and oral thrush infections. It is generally well tolerated but has been known to cause headache, nausea and abdominal pain.
An interesting characteristic of fluconazole is its ability to eradicate many fungal infections, including vaginal fungal infections, in a single dose. This is due to how fluconazole works and the relatively long half life of the drug.
How Does Fluconazole Work?
Fluconazole works by inhibiting the synthesis of a vital component (ergosterol) of the fungal cell membrane. A single dose of fluconazole has a reported half life of 30-50 hours (2). In general, a drug takes about 5 half lives to be completely metabolized and eliminated from the body. This essentially means that the drug is present and active in the body for 6 to 10 days! That is why a single dose is effective for eradicating infections.
After a single dose, symptoms tend to get better after 1 to 3 days and the majority of infections are cleared in 7 to 10 days. The clinical cure rate with single doses of fluconazole is around 69%, which is why sometimes doctors will recommend taking a second dose of fluconazole 7 days after the initial dose.
Problems With Alcohol And Fluconazole
In regard to taking alcohol after fluconazole administration, there is no drug interaction as mentioned above. However, if you are experiencing any symptoms from medication use such as nausea or abdominal pain, alcohol may worsen those side effects. Fluconazole lasts in the body for a considerable period of time, 6 to 10 days. If you wish to completely avoid alcohol while the drug is present, you would need to wait that period of time.