ANTIBIOTICS AND ALCOHOL INGESTION—A dangerous mix
It is a dangerous practice taking alcohol beverages while on antibiotics medication. Sometimes the reactions might be so great and disastrous. Alcohol can interfere with absorption of erythromycin or the efficacy of doxycycline for example. Certain antibiotics or antifungals like ketoconazole, metronidazole, and Tinidazole can react with even a small quantity of alcohol to produce disulfiram-like side effects like flushing, fast heartbeats, nausea, thirst, chest pain, vertigo, low blood pressure and shortness of breath.
This disulfiram like side effects of drugs with alcohol is being exploited in the drug, antabuse (a brand of disulfiram) to discourage alcohol drinkers. Alcohol in all forms is a risk with these drugs mentioned above.
Alcohol can cause dehydration. Dehydration can increase the risk of side effects or make them worse if already have them.
Drinking alcohol can cause temporary liver damage in some people. This may increase the severity of some of the unpleasant side effects of this drug.
In rare cases, azithromycin itself can also cause liver damage and result in more severe effects. It’s a good idea to avoid doing anything that creates extra stress on your liver, such as drinking alcohol, while you take the drugs. Therefore, do well to talk with your; doctor before taking antibiotics if you take other drugs, including, other OTC drugs, vitamins and herbal remedies.
Liver Damage and its many Antidotes
The liver is the largest organ in the body responsible for thousands of chemical reactions that take place in it every second during life. When healthy, the liver inactivates hormones no longer needed, synthesizes many amino acids used in building tissues, and breaks proteins into sugar and fat when required for energy. The liver also produces lecithin, cholesterol, bile, blood albumin (blood protein) vital to the removal of tissue wastes, prothrombin essential to the clotting of blood, and innumerable enzymes and coenzymes. It converts sugar body starch, or glycogen stores it, and reconverts it to sugar when needed; and stores iron, copper, several trace minerals, vitamins A and to some extent, D, E, K and the B vitamins. A healthy liver destroys harmful substances such as histamine, and detoxifies drugs, poisons, chemicals, and toxins from bacterial infections. Therefore, the functions of the liver can be grouped into three main categories: blood formation, metabolism and detoxification.
Liver Damage and Liver Diseases
Liver Damage interferes with all the functions of the liver as enumerated above.
Slight liver injury causes vague symptoms such as digestive disturbances, loss of energy, and inability to detoxify harmful substances, but damage is rarely suspected until it becomes severe.
Inflammation of the liver, or hepatitis, can be caused by viral or bacterial infections or a variety of toxic substances including drugs, chemicals, and pesticides.
In hepatitis, which is often accompanied by jaundice, the liver is frequently damaged to the extent that fatty degeneration or even cirrhosis develops. If the illness is acute, excessive ammonia in the blood becomes a problem. The diet for hepatitis, therefore, must be designed to render harmless any toxic substances or, if it is infections, to build resistance at maximum speed so that jaundice and ammonia formation do not occur. Such patients utilize protein well, but they develop fatty liver if high fat diets are given without added choline. When persons with hepatitis received 1000 to 2000 milligrams of vitamin C every three to four hours, they made “dramatic improvements”, sometimes in a single day, and liver biopsies showed rapid recovery.
Jaundice usually does not occur until one to three weeks after the onset of the illness. If, for a few days, large amounts of choline or lecithin, vitamin C and E and the B complex vitamins are taken around the clock with fortified milk containing eggs and undiluted fruit juices, jaundice can usually be avoided. Recovery is generally rapid provided the patient can force himself to eat small, frequent, highly nutritious meals rich in both proteins and calories. When calories are under supplied, proteins must be used to furnish energy, and liver damage can become severe in spite of a high protein intake.
The Need For Laboratory Check up
Because liver damage is so often unrecognized, it becomes necessary that persons should have one or more liver-function tests taken annually, particularly if they are overweight, have had hepatitis or jaundice, work with industrial chemicals, are enthusiastic drinkers, or have taken large amounts of medications. When liver damage is known to exist, its correction can usually be both swift and easy even for person who wishes to continue to enjoying his high balls.
Treatment of Liver Damage
Alcoholics who eat well have found to have healthy livers.
The Role of Milk Thistle in Liver damage
Milk thistle has been used to treat liver disorders for some 2000 years.
Milk thistle seed has demonstrated significant value in the treatment of hepatitis, cirrhosis, inflammatory liver disease, and liver damage from toxic substances. It is also an antidote for mushroom poisoning.
The stem portion of the plant has also been occasionally used for disorders of the liver, gallbladder, and spleen, and has been taken as a stimulant and tonic.
A compound in Milk Thistle seed dubbed Silymarin has been shown to protect the liver from a variety of toxic substances. It prevents toxins from penetrating the interior of liver cells, while promoting the growth of healthy new cells to repair liver damage. It also has antioxidant properties, mopping up damaging free radicals.
“Silymarin is a powerful antioxidant”, says Alau R. Gaby, M.D, a Baltimore physician who practices nutritional and natural medicine (Antioxidants counter the effects of naturally occurring toxins called free radicals) “In animal studies, it has prevented liver damage, and in human studies, it has sped recovery from hepatitis”, says Dr. Gaby.
Milk thistle has a long standing reputation as a liver protector. Its use as a treatment for liver disorders dates back more than 2000 years. The first century Roman naturalist Pliny wrote that the herb’s juice helped “carry off bile” and 17th century British herbalist Nicholas Culpeper endorsed milk thistle as a treatment for jaundice, the yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by liver disease.