Q.

Can I drink alcohol whilst on antibiotics?

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A.

You should completely avoid alcohol while taking the antibiotics metronidazole or tinidazole, and for 48 hours afterwards, as this combination can cause very unpleasant side effects, such as:

  • feeling and being sick
  • stomach pain
  • hot flushes
  • headaches

It’s recommended that you don’t drink alcohol while taking antibiotics. However, as long as you drink in moderation, alcohol is unlikely to interact significantly with your medication.

Check with your doctor or pharmacist when you are given your prescription if you are unsure about whether or not you can drink alcohol while you are taking antibiotics. You can also phone NHS 111 for advice.

Q.

I've finished my course of antibiotics as instructed by my doctor but there are a few left in the pack. Why is this?

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A.

Antibiotics are used to treat different types of infections. A short or long course may be given depending on your infection. Usually, you should not have any leftover antibiotics if you complete the course as prescribed. However, if you do and have completed the course as instructed by your doctor, then you should discard the remainder. You can take the unwanted antibiotics to a pharmacy to be disposed of safely.

Q.

I have an infection that keeps coming back. I normally keep a pack of antibiotics as I know what the problem is and how to treat it, and I don't think it's worth bothering the Dr about. Is this ok?

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A.

You should only use antibiotics when your doctor prescribes them. If your infection keeps coming back, it may be a sign that the antibiotics are not working. You should always see your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve, get worse or come back after treatment. Your doctor may need to give you a different antibiotic and advice on measures to help prevent the infection from coming back.

 

Q.

Which conditions do antibiotics treat?

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A.

Antibiotics only treat bacterial conditions. If your condition is viral, antibiotics won’t work. If taken correctly, antibiotics will treat:

  • Persisting urinary tract infections (cystitis)
  • Strep throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Bacterial skin infections

Antibiotics won’t treat:

  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Most coughs
  • Most sore throats

Q.

My child has a fever and a bad cough, why won’t my doctor prescribe antibiotics?

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A.

A condition has to be diagnosed as bacterial for antibiotics to be effective.
If your doctor hasn’t prescribed them, it’s likely the infection is viral so the
medication won’t help.

Postdoctoral Researcher Jack Goode answers questions about antibiotics - what do they do and when do we need them?

Consultant Antimicrobial Pharmacist Philip discusses antimicrobial resistance, and the measures we can take to tackle it:

Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist Ylva answers your FAQs:

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