Letters Do antibiotics and alcohol mix?

Alcohol and sexual behaviour

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b40 (Published 09 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b40
  1. Sangeetha S Sundaram, specialty doctor, genitourinary medicine1,
  2. S Samraj, specialist registrar, genitourinary medicine/HIV1,
  3. Raj Patel, consultant, genitourinary medicine/HIV1
  1. 1Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton SO14 0YG
  1. sangeetha{at}doctors.org.uk

    Lwanga and colleagues explored beliefs about the effects of alcohol on antibiotic treatment among patients attending a genitourinary medicine service.1

    We conducted a small prospective study of 274 patients attending our genitourinary medicine service who required a week’s course of antibiotic treatment. We found that high alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking, during treatment was associated with non-compliance with behavioural advice about sexual abstinence (P<0.001), essential to ensure effective cure for many sexually transmitted diseases. Non-significant trends were also found in relation to alcohol use and compliance with treatment.2

    Dispelling any myths about the effect of alcohol on the efficacy of treatment is reasonable, but patients should be counselled that high alcohol consumption and binge drinking during treatment may lead to risk taking behaviour necessitating retreatment.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b40


    • Competing interests: None declared.


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