Metronidazole And Vaping – Check Your Medicines

It was only by chance I discovered a potential link between Metronidazole and Vaping, so I thought it was worth sharing as a reminder to check any prescription medicine for potential interactions with eliquid ingredients. As a relatively new technology, many healthcare professionals aren’t necessarily aware they might need to warn vapers of any potential risks.

The issue came to light after a recent visit to my dentist. I’d been prescribed a short course of metronidazole and warned strongly to avoid alcohol. The reaction between the two is strong enough that you’re advised to even stay away from mouthwashes and cough remedies that contain alcohol. And to stick clear of it for 48 hours after your course of treatment has ended to allow the antibiotic to clear your system. Which is a bit depressing when it coincides with a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, but fair enough.

What I didn’t know until I happened to check online is that there’s also a potentially similar effect between metronidazole and propylene glycol. Which is a big ingredient in vaping liquids, sometimes along with ethanol.


Metronidazole And Vaping - Check Your Medicines Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Most of the reports were via vaping forums. But there is also medical information regarding the interaction between metronidazole and propylene glycol. For example, the antibiotic is often supplied under the tradename Flagyl by Pfizer. And they supply some information suggesting propylene glycol carries the same risks as consuming alcohol.

Of course propylene glycol is found in lots of places, including alcohol-free mouthwash, for example. So that’s handy.

And further research only gets more complicated.

I’m not a doctor or medical professional. I’m also not a scientist. So the summary of the following is to simply do your own research and have that alongside the best advice from qualified medical sources (your doctor, dentist, pharmacist etc).

But it appears that the link between metronidazole and alcohol has varying effects, and some exceptions. So it might be that there’s a genetic or other reason why it’s potentially terrible for some people, and yet others can apparently drink without incident. Either way, you don’t really want to use yourself as a test subject.

And as the risk for propylene glycol appears to come from the same process as alcohol, in that metronidazole has an effect on the body metabolising it, then it’s potentially the case that not every vaper would experience the same level of effects.

There’s also more complications, in that the consumption of PG will vary between eating/drinking it, and how much is actually absorbed whilst vaping, the amount in your choice of liquid, and how regularly you vape during the day etc.

I spoke to my dental practice, who weren’t aware propylene glycol was a potential issue present in vaping liquid. I talked to my pharmacist who suggested quitting vaping for 24 hours before starting the course of metronidazole. And I chatted with a few people online, including some health professionals who happen to be friends.

In the end, I picked up a few packs of the tiny nicotine lozenges at the lowest strength available (After getting down to 3mg vape liquid, I don’t want to build up my nicotine addiction again). And then tried to vape as little as possible for 24 hours while using the lozenges.

I only had a 3 day course of metronidazole, so figured the build-up of propylene glycol shouldn’t be too bad. So I simply used lozenges as much as possible, and had a very occasional vape when the psychological addiction was really getting to me. On the first day I had approximately 10 inhales (compared to probably 10 an hour normally!), and no ill effects. By the third day, I was up to around 30 inhales, and still feeling fine. The lozenges were a bit of a hassle, but interestingly they felt a lot easier and more effective than when I tried using them to quit smoking directly.


The TL:DR Advice:

None of this is meant to be advice for anything relating to consuming propylene glycol, alcogol or vaping whilst on metanidazole or any other prescription medication.

The only advice I would say is that if you regularly vape, it’s worth checking for any possible interactions with anything you’re currently taking or prescribed in the future. As even if your doctor or dentist knows you vape (as mine did), they may not know what ingredients it involves. And then you can raise it as needed, do some research, and make the best decisions to minimise the risks and side effects.


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