Taking Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) With Alcohol

Mixing alcohol with antibiotics like Cipro (ciprofloxacin) generally isn't recommended.


I am currently taking Cipro (ciprofloxacin) for a kidney infection and I was wondering if I can drink alcohol on it? I talked to my pharmacist and she said I should just make sure to stay hydrated. Looking for a second opinion.

Asked by Mady On Sep 19, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Sep 24, 2018

While there is no direct interaction between ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and alcohol, it is not recommended to drink while recovering from an infection. Alcohol can decrease immune function and exacerbate antibiotic side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach. While recovering from an infection, it is important to stay well hydrated and get plenty of rest.


How Alcohol Is Metabolized:

Alcohol is primarily metabolized via alcohol dehydrogenase, aldehyde dehydrogenase, cytochrome P450 (CYP2E1), and catalase. The byproducts of alcohol include acetaldehyde and acetate and contribute to many of the negative effects.

Genetic variation of these enzymes causes varying degrees of alcohol metabolism—which is why everyone tolerates alcohol differently. This metabolism takes place mostly in the liver. CYP enzymes play a particularly important role in drug metabolism and drug interactions occur via the inhibition or induction of these enzymes. Alcohol does impact CYP enzymes, especially CYP2E1.

Some drugs may cause a “disulfiram-like reaction” when taken with alcohol. This can cause flushing, nausea, vomiting, and general “hangover effects”. These drugs inhibit aldehyde dehydrogenase which is crucial in metabolism of alcohol. Some of these drugs include disulfiram and chloramphenicol. Disulfiram is actually used clinically to treat alcohol dependence since it makes drinking alcohol much less desirable. Ciprofloxacin is not one of these drugs.


Information On Ciprofloxacin:

Ciprofloxacin is a commonly used antibiotic in the fluoroquinolone class and can be used to treat a variety of infections. It is considered to be broad-spectrum antibiotic. Ciprofloxacin is absorbed via the GI tract and is metabolized and eliminated via the liver and kidney. Ciprofloxacin does inhibit CYP1A2 and CYP3A4, but neither of these impact alcohol metabolism.

Ciprofloxacin can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea similar to other antibiotics. Unique side effects for fluoroquinolones include tendon rupture (especially in the elderly population, burning/tingling in extremities, and CNS effects. 

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Kevin Davis Pharm.D

Dr. Kevin Davis is a licensed pharmacist with experience in retail and hospital pharmacy. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2015 and a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Adventist University in 2017. He is also a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist since 2016.

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