The drug Zostex contains the active ingredient Brivudine and is used in the treatment of shingles. This is a disease that is caused by the herpes zoster virus and, among other things, can cause severe pain and blistering of the skin. As an antiviral drug, Zostex prevents the herpes viruses from multiplying and can thus support healing.

But is it allowed to consume alcohol while using Zostex? The answer is twofold: The Zostex manufacturer's package insert does not advise against alcohol consumption, which suggests that no serious interactions between brivudine and alcohol are to be expected. However, it is strongly advised not to consume alcohol while taking Zostex, as alcohol can have an adverse effect on the progression of shingles. Alcohol puts a strain on the body and, according to several studies, even weakens the immune system, which, however, is busy fighting the herpes viruses in the disease "shingles". The consumption of alcohol can lead to the pain worsening and the course can also be prolonged despite medication!

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Should you keep a certain waiting time after the last dose?

As already mentioned, there is no clear contraindication to alcohol consumption while taking Zostex. The drug itself is taken once a day, if possible, at the same time for seven days. It is advisable to completely avoid alcohol during this time in order not to weaken the immune system further and to allow the shingles to heal as quickly and efficiently as possible. Accordingly, it is recommended to consume alcohol at the earliest 24 hours after the last Zostex consumption and only when you are free of symptoms. However, a longer interval is certainly advisable to avoid possible relapses.


No interactions are expected between Zostex and alcohol. However, the consumption of alcohol can lead to a prolonged course of the disease despite adequate medication.

Caution is advised when taking other medications in addition to Zostex, such as painkillers Ibuprofen, is taken. There are strong interactions between many pain medication and alcohol, ranging from increased alcohol intoxication to liver damage! This is another incentive to avoid alcohol during shingles.

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Side effects

There are a number of possible side effects associated with taking Zostex. The simultaneous consumption of alcohol can have an intensifying effect on the undesirable effects, as alcohol itself has strong side effects, some of which overlap with those of Zostex. For example, both Zostex and alcohol can lead to liver inflammation, loss of appetite or drowsiness and the side effects may increase.

Side effects on the gastrointestinal tract

A common side effect of Zostex is severe nausea. Diarrhea, gas, and constipation are also occasionally seen.

Even if there is no direct interaction between Zostex and alcohol, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to similar side effects and thus increase the side effects of Zostex. Severe nausea, vomiting or indigestion can be expected.

Side effects on the nervous system

Taking Zostex can also cause nervous system side effects. These include, for example, dizziness, abnormal sensations in arms and legs and headaches, but also anxiety and sleep disorders.

Alcohol itself is neurotoxic, which means that consumption is harmful to the nervous system. This can lead to the above-mentioned neurological side effects occurring significantly (or at all) due to alcohol consumption.

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Intoxication and hangover

Zostex is not known to increase the effects of alcohol and thus has no effect on alcohol intoxication or subsequent hangovers.

However, it should be noted that the body can be severely weakened during shingles, and it can lead to the fact that alcohol is less well tolerated and the recovery time is longer after an intoxication. In order not to further weaken the immune system and the body during the illness, we strongly advise against alcohol!

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