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    Acne
    1234 · 20 min read

    Can you drink alcohol while taking acne medication?

    It’s a commonly known fact that you shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking antibiotics. However, most antibiotics are only taken for a week or so. What about if instead of a one-off infection, you’re taking antibiotics for months at a time? Antibiotics are commonly used to treat acne and it's usually a fairly long-term option.

    Key Takeaways:

    Variety of Acne Treatments:

    • Acne treatments can be over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription-based. OTC treatments like Clearasil are usually tried first. If these are ineffective, prescription medications such as Tretinoin or Acnecide gel may be recommended by a doctor. Prescription treatments include both topical options (creams and gels) and oral antibiotics (tablets).

    Alcohol and Acne Medications:

    • Whether you can drink alcohol while taking acne medication depends on the type of medication. Topical treatments generally do not interact with alcohol, so moderate drinking is usually safe. However, some oral antibiotics may interact with alcohol, so it's essential to check with a healthcare professional or the medication's patient information leaflet.

    Specific Alcohol Interactions:

    Lymecycline and Oxytetracycline:

    • Moderate alcohol consumption is typically safe, but side effects like headaches and dizziness may worsen with alcohol.

    Minocycline:

    • Moderate alcohol consumption is generally safe, but be cautious of side effects.

    Isotretinoin:

    • Avoid alcohol as it can cause severe side effects like a fast heart rate, nausea, or vomiting.

    Contraceptive Pills (Dianette and Clairette):

    • Moderate alcohol consumption is usually safe, but always check with a healthcare professional if unsure.

    What are Acne treatments?

    When it comes to treating acne, there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy. What may work for one person, may be no help whatsoever for another. This is why acne treatment often involves some degree of trial and error before finding a medication that’s right for you.

    OTC Acne Treatments

    You should always start at the bottom as you want to find the lowest effective dose, so this means perhaps starting with an over the counter solution. Comparatively, if you had an ache or a pain, you wouldn’t be prescribed opioid painkillers before first trying some over the counter paracetamol. 

    Prescription-only Acne Treatments

    If over the counter acne solutions such as Clearasil haven’t helped then your doctor may recommend a prescription medication such as Tretinoin or Acnecide gel. But if you’re still seeing no results then you should speak to a doctor about your condition and they may recommend an alternative prescription-only medicine.

    Prescription-only acne treatments are pretty much split into two categories; topical and non-topical. Topical treatments include Differin creamTretinoinTreclin gel and Zineryt lotion. Non-topical treatments usually come in the form of antibiotic tablets such as Lymecycline and Oxytetracycline. But for women, certain contraceptive pills may also be an option.

    A man touching his acne free face

    Can you drink alcohol while taking acne medication?

    Whether or not you can drink alcohol while taking acne medication is very much dependent on the one (& type) that you’re taking. Topical treatments do not interact with alcohol that’s consumed so you’re fine to drink in moderation if you’re using a cream or a gel (Drugs.com, 2024).

    However, some oral acne medications do interact with alcohol and you’ll need to therefore check with your specific treatment by asking a medical professional or checking the patient information leaflet.

    Can you drink alcohol while taking Lymecycline?

    Yes, alcohol consumption is ok in moderation during oral Lymecycline therapy but proceed with caution.

    Lymecycline (and the brand version Tetralysal) doesn’t come with any kind of ‘do not drink alcohol’ warning so it’s generally ok to drink while taking it. However, this is simply due to there being no direct interaction between alcohol and the drug.

    If you experience side effects from taking Lymecycline (such as headaches, dizziness or stomach upset) then drinking alcohol can make these symptoms worse. If you do feel unwell while taking lymecycline then it may be best to discuss this with your doctor to see if it’s the best option for you.

    Can you drink alcohol while taking Oxytetracycline?

    Yes, alcohol consumption is ok in moderation during oral Oxytetracycline therapy but proceed with caution.

    Like Lymecycline, Oxytetracycline is a tetracycline-type antibiotic and generally, these do not carry ‘do not drink alcohol’ warnings as it doesn’t interact with the drug itself. Again, should you feel at all unwell though you should refrain from drinking and speak to a professional is side effects persist.

    Can you drink alcohol while taking Minocycline?

    Yes, alcohol consumption is ok in moderation during oral Minocycline therapy.

    Minocycline is another tetracycline-type antibiotic and it is not known to interact with alcohol. You should be fine to drink if you’re taking this medicine (whether that’s the generic or the branded Minocin) but be careful to only drink in moderation and take note of any side effects.

    2 glasses of alcohol being touched together in a toast

    Can you drink alcohol while taking Isotretinoin?

    No. Alcohol consumption should be avoided during oral isotretinoin therapy.

    Isotretinoin is a strong drug and is only prescribed in cases of severe acne that haven’t been improved by other treatments. However, it’s very effective and gets to work in as little as a week with 4 out of 5 people reporting clear skin after taking it.

    This medication is not without challenges though. Not only will you need regular blood tests during treatment and to be supervised by a specialist, but it can have some pretty harsh side effects. Your skin can become very dry and sensitive to sunlight, your risk of depression or suicidal thoughts increases and can be harmful to unborn babies (so it’s important that pregnant women or women wanting to get pregnant don’t take it).

    If you are taking Isotretinoin then you should avoid drinking alcohol for the duration of your treatment. This is because the combination can cause some unwanted side effects such as a fast heart rate, nausea or vomiting.

    If you are using a topical retinoid treatment (like Isotrexin gel) then this interaction does not apply, and you should be ok to consume alcohol (but you should always check with your doctor).

    Can you drink alcohol while taking Contraceptive pills?

    Yes, alcohol consumption is ok in moderation during oral contraceptive pill therapy but proceed with caution.

    For women who suffer from acne, the cause can often be linked to hormones and therefore a number of contraceptive pills can be considered as effective treatments. 

    Dianette and Clairette are both anti-androgen pills, which means they reduce the number of hormones that lead to excess sebum on the skin (a leading cause of acne spots). There is no special guidance about alcohol and anti-androgen pills so you should be fine to drink but again, always just double check if you’re unsure.

    How To Pronounce Popular Acne Medication Names

    Learn how to pronounce popular acne medication names in our TikTok below:

    Sources

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    Related Products

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    Blog author

    Scott Weaver

    Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.

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