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Interaction of alcohol & chloramphenicol

Updated April 17, 2017

Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic prescribed to treat bacterial infections. Although it is effective against several Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, other antibiotics are generally prescribed as a first resort because of negative side effects of chloramphenicol.

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Chloramphenicol Side Effects

Chloramphenicol side effects are rare but often fatal. It has caused aplastic anaemia, bone marrow suppression, leukaemia and other serious side effects in humans. Although these diseases are rare with the use of chloramphenicol, they are more likely with the use of alcohol.

Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption has been proven to cause anaemia, to reduce bone marrow production and to lower the body's natural ability to fight infection by suppressing the immune system. Although most people who ingest alcohol will not develop these diseases, some will because of their health, genetics, weight, age and other factors.

Chloramphenicol and Alcohol

Because both chloramphenicol and alcohol have been demonstrated to cause anaemia, reduced bone marrow production and other negative side effects, consuming alcohol while taking chloramphenicol increases the risk of developing these condtions. Both substances lower the immune response and damage some of the same mechanisms in the human body.

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About the Author

Racquel Ricci began writing in 1999, and has since worked as a grant writer for non-profit organizations and public school systems. She runs competetively and writes often about exercise and fitness. Ricci has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in psychology.

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