Intended for healthcare professionals

Filler Christmas 2008

Do antibiotics and alcohol mix? The beliefs of genitourinary clinic attendees

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 16 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2885
  1. J Lwanga, senior house officer in genitourinary medicine 1,
  2. A Mears, consultant in genitourinary medicine and HIV2,
  3. J S Bingham, consultant in genitourinary medicine1,
  4. C S Bradbeer, consultant in genitourinary medicine1
  1. 1Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London
  2. 2Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London
  1. Correspondence to: C S Bradbeer caroline.bradbeer{at}

    Genitourinary medicine clinics often prescribe antibiotics and, except for metronidazole, do not advise abstention from alcohol. However, patients often assume that they should avoid alcohol when taking any antibiotics. A Google search on “antibiotics and alcohol” finds many sites that advise abstention.

    But this belief has no foundation, and no contraindication is given in the British National Formulary.1 We wondered how prevalent this myth was and whether patients ever skipped antibiotics to drink alcohol. A pilot survey showed that 76% of clinic staff believed the myth.

    We asked a convenience sample …

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