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Can I consume alcohol while on TB treatment?

Friday, 22 February 2008
Answered by: Dr. Anuj Sharma
Senior Consultant Microbiologist
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital
Delhi
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Q. I am 42 years old. Can I consume alcohol while on treatment for TB? I am taking Rcinex-600.

A.  Anti-TB drugs may harm the liver rarely, and alcohol can further increase drug side effects and toxicity because both affect the liver. It is safer to avoid drinking alcohol while on tuberculosis treatment. If people are heavy alcohol users the problems of liver damage are more likely and more serious. While someone who is drinking alcohol regularly can take TB treatment safely there are risks and the doctor should explain these to the patient. Regular blood tests to make sure that the liver is functioning properly and vigilance for side effects, such as jaundice, is important. `

A.  Anti-TB drugs may harm the liver rarely, and alcohol can further increase drug side effects and toxicity because both affect the liver. It is safer to avoid drinking alcohol while on tuberculosis treatment. If people are heavy alcohol users the problems of liver damage are more likely and more serious. While someone who is drinking alcohol regularly can take TB treatment safely there are risks and the doctor should explain these to the patient. Regular blood tests to make sure that the liver is functioning properly and vigilance for side effects, such as jaundice, is important. `

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