It is safe to say that using alcohol while on any pharmaceutical medication is not a good idea and can cause several potential problems; however, why then do not all medications have warnings against using alcohol while taking them? It depends on the medication, what it’s being used for, and how it is processed out of the body.
Using Alcohol While On Keflex (cephalexin)
Excessive alcohol use can lead to liver damage and lowered immune function. Additionally, it can lead to other major health problems like uncontrolled blood sugars, jaundice, kidney failure, cognitive problems, cardiovascular problems, etc. The list of alcohol-related conditions is a long one, especially when it’s overused and a patient is dependent on the substance.
One of the main problems caused by alcohol overuse is liver damage/liver failure/cirrhosis/fatty liver disease. This is because the chemicals and sugars in alcohol are broken down in the liver, which is responsible for storing glycogen (sugars), processing fats and proteins, making proteins, breaking down medications and supplements, and removing toxins from the body, just to name a few of its basic vital functions. By overwhelming the liver with the toxins in alcohol, it is overworked and suffers greatly, causing failure and disease.
The liver is absolutely essential to life because of all its vital functions. Most medications and supplements are processed and broken down through the liver. Now, it should be noted that some antibiotics and medications are processed differently than others and don’t overly affect the liver and kidneys. Some medications, like Keflex (generic name, cephalexin), are more potent while moving through the stomach and intestines. Those medications don’t generally have alcohol precautions on the prescription label; however, it can still be quite damaging to the body and exacerbate side effects.
You may have noticed that there is not always a warning on prescription labels advising against mixing alcohol with antibiotics. Keflex is one of the medications that generally does not have this warning. This is because it is processed very differently and generally breaks down in stomach and intestines, being quite gentle on the liver and kidneys; however, common side effects of Keflex include GI upset to dizziness. Alcohol could potentially exacerbate and make these side effects worse. If you do not suffer with these side effects while taking Keflex, however, then having those couple of glasses of wine with dinner each night will not overly affect the medication’s process or cause any major undue problems.
Importantly, caution should always be used when drinking alcohol with any medication. If side effects occur while mixing alcohol, then be sure to stop drinking immediately. Talk with your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have about using alcohol while taking cephalexin.