Can I drink on antifungals?

Antifungal medications are used to treat to treat fungal infections such as: toe nail fungus, athletes foot, thrush, or blood stream infections.  In the US oral antigun cal medications are by prescription only, and they are very strong, and helpful meds to treat fungus, but there are some things that your HCP might not tell you, that you need to be aware of when taking them.

How do Antifungal medications work?
When you take an oral antifungal, it is absorbed through your gut into your bloodstream and is excreted (filtered out) through your liver. Let’s use one of the most common antifungals as an example, terbinafine (Lamisil), that you are taking for a toenail fungal infection: you take your lamisil every day for three months, and a few days into treatment, your blood has an appropriate level of Lamisil in it because of how slow your liver gets rid of it, and how your gut absorbs it.  The Lamisil attacks all cells that it can find that appear to be fungal cells, thus killing the infection.  Which is awesome! But, there are some side effects such as: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, vision changes, skin rashes, and changes in taste.  Due to the build-up of the drug in your liver, a more serious side effect is liver damage or complete liver failure.  Plus, some other drugs can cause the levels of the medications to become to high in your bloodstream and you can become toxic, which can also cause the liver failure, so you need to discuss all medications, and the type/amount of drugs (non prescribed) that you may/not take, and the amount you drink.

Why shouldn’t I drink on them?
As we all know, alcohol is absorbed in your gut into your bloodstream and also excreted through your liver.  Huh, just like the antifungals! So, when your liver is working really hard to filter out a prescription drug, that is very strong and powerful, it can cause too much stress on your liver to also be expected to filter out alcohol.  The worst side effect can occur, and can occur quickly: complete liver failure.  An the early sings of liver failure are nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin).  Once complete liver failure occurs, the only treatment is a liver transplant, which is a lifetime of medications, hospital visits, and having days of feeling well and unwell (which are much more frequently swinging than for someone without a transplant).

Maybe because I have worked with the diseased liver population for a long period of time, I am more sensitive to this, but think about how worth it is to you to drink or take other drugs when you are taking prescription medications. It isn’t worth losing an organ that is super vital, for a few drinks.  Right?

So if you are taking these drugs, lay off the alcohol. And if you are being prescribed this medication, talk to your HCP and be honest with the amount you drink…and LAY OFF THE BOOZE!!  (at least until your fungus is gone!)

Yours in Good Health

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13 thoughts on “Can I drink on antifungals?

  1. Hi there, just became aware of your blog thru Google,so interesting so good , i realy enjoy your blog ,nice site!

  2. This is a better-quality article as they all are. I am waiting to read even more about this topic. I make fun of been wonder wide this an eye to some beat now. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I’m on lamisil oral tab and my r prescribed me motrin 3x a day for 7 days due to swelling in my right knee and leg. She said it was safe but after reading your blog I’m really scared now.

    • Malinda, your healthcare practitioner knows what’s going on with you, but you should always feel free (and empowered) to speak up for yourself with any treatments prescribed to endure they are safe.

  4. Just want to say thank you so much!! This was extremely helpful, I suffer from bipolar 1 disorder, and part of that includes an addictive personality, and I’ve been debating with my conscience for the last 2 nights, if it would be ok to just have a beer at night, and after I read this, I’d have to say I agree with what I just read in this blog, and steer clear of alcohol, Id rather have a temporary state of bitchyness, lol, then be told I need a liver transplant, and then maybe not live long enough to get one. So really, and truly, thank you, if I hadn’t read this, I could be taking a very selfish risk right now .

  5. Nurse Bridgid, if the treatment is a success, does all footwear need to be replaced? I heard that at one time.

    • the fungus can come back from shoes- it can still live in there, however you can wash your shoes at high temps….or get new ones to be safe 🙂

  6. Crazy, I was not aware of this when taking this medication & in the past week I’ve had some very weird black outs and memory loss based on a few drinks that normally would not phase me. I suspected that maybe my liver is having a hard time metabolising the alcohol which led me to researching this, not sure if these things relate to my memory loss but thank you for writing this article… I can’t afford to lose my liver !!

  7. Hi, I know this is an old post, but I was taking Lamisil and had half a beer. I wasn’t thinking and had drank half of it before I realized what I was doing. That was probably two months ago. I am off the Lamisil now, but should I be worried about my liver? I don’t have any symptoms. I am just paranoid.

    • I wouldn’t worry- that is a very small amount of actual alcohol and it has been two months. If you are still taking Lamisil, it might be worthwhile to have your liver enzymes checked (just as a standard part of care when on Lamisil) to ease your mind!

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