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Acne Medicines and Alcohol Interactions

Written by L. Anderson, PharmD on Nov 7, 2017

Acne is a common skin condition that often begins during puberty. Acne commonly appears on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. The oil-producing (sebaceous) glands of the skin overproduce sebum and the hair follicles become clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells, leading to redness, pimples, and pustules often seen in acne. Hormones, diet, stress and medications may worsen acne.

Acne is often initially treated with over-the-counter or prescription topical creams and antibacterials, but oral medications, such as antibiotics or isotretinoin (Accutane) may be used in more severe cases. Oral contraceptives are also used effectively in women to control acne.

Topical medications for acne do not interact with alcohol. However, oral isotretinoin should not be combined with alcohol.

Isotretinoin (Accutane, Amnesteem, Myorisan, Claravis, Zenatane)

  • Isotretinoin is a retinoid, a form of vitamin A, used in acne treatment. Alcohol consumption should be avoided during oral isotretinoin therapy. The combination may lead to unpleasant side effects like fast heart rate, flushing, nausea, and vomiting.

Common antibiotics such as tetracycline or minocycline (Solodyn) used for acne do not list alcohol as a possible interaction in their product labeling. However, always check with your pharmacist for possible interactions.

Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.