Can you drink alcohol after BCG treatment?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can you drink alcohol after BCG treatment?” with an in-depth analysis of can you drink alcohol after BCG treatment. In addition, we will have a brief discussion about the effects of you drinking alcohol after BCG treatment.

Can you drink alcohol after BCG treatment?

It is not recommended to drink alcohol after BCG treatment. Despite this, the decisive answer is relatively variable. However, if consumed in small amounts it does not seem to affect the safety or usefulness of BCG.

Throughout this article, we will understand the treatment and the reasons for this variation in whether or not to drink alcohol after BCG treatment.

Many people are in the habit of consuming alcoholic beverages at festive events, rituals, or even in simple gatherings of people. Some care is needed when it comes to some health treatments, such as BCG.

In general, bladder cancer is among the most prevalent tumors in urology.

What is BCG treatment?

First, BCG stands for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, it is an immunotherapeutic treatment used against bladder cancer. Here are some fun facts about BCG:

  • In 1921, a vaccine against tuberculosis was discovered by French scientists
  • The name BCG comes from the creators – Léon Calmette and Alphonse Guérin
  • The vaccine was developed from the weakened Mycobacterium bovis bacteria
  • It took another decade before they realized that BCG had a protective immune response in humans, without, however, generating the pathology
  • Until today it is used and applied normally when we are still children

However, around 1970 researchers eventually discovered that in addition to being effective against tuberculosis, it also prevented bladder cancer from returning. And that’s when the BCG treatments for bladder cancer began.

However, the treatment itself is performed via a catheter into the bladder where the body’s immune system paralyzes and/or at least slows the growth of cancer cells.

Treatment is recommended after tumor removal, in cases where the muscular wall of the bladder has not yet been affected.

Can BCG treatment cause side effects?

Yes, BCG treatment can have some effects, but not all of them occur for all people.

After completion of therapy, these effects usually improve significantly (this will all depend on post-treatment habits such as drinking alcohol).

The most common effects already reported are fatigue, urination frequency, flu-like symptoms, and generalized pain, in addition to bladder problems.

How does alcohol interact with medications?

Consumption of alcohol during or even after treatment for a variety of illnesses is usually not recommended. This is because it can overload the liver, bleeding, and risk of ulcers, among others.

In general, studies have shown that alcohol can also increase the elimination of the drug by the body, consequently decreasing its effect.

Specifically in the case of the treatment of BCG, as mentioned, it is an immunotherapy treatment, and therein lies the main point. Alcohol alone can suppress the immune system significantly affecting treatment.

As immunotherapy has the function of stimulating and improving the immune system, if alcohol is consumed, it will suppress this stimulus, bringing opposite effects.

Therefore, drinking alcohol after BCG treatment is not a good idea as the treatment may not be as effective as expected without combined or subsequent use of alcohol.

Are some people more at risk than others when they drink alcohol after BCG treatment?

Yes, that’s a fact! There are people who are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than others, under normal conditions. So, let’s imagine the risk variation among people who have already had BCG treatment.

It is known that naturally women, because they have less body water, also end up having higher levels of alcohol in their blood, even drinking the same amount as men.

Elderly people over 65 years old are also at greater risk, as they are more prone to injuries and or even accidents due to drinking alcohol.

Another important factor is people who previously have problems related to the liver, with a high risk of damage from overload.

How long after BCG treatment can I drink alcohol?

It is best to seek advice from your doctor. He will provide information on whether it is really safe to drink alcohol after undergoing BCG treatment.

It has already been shown in studies that the use of alcohol can increase the risk of cancer, and may even bring about new cancer.

Not to mention, how can you guarantee that drinking alcohol after BCG treatment will guarantee that cancer will not return, since it is an immunotherapeutic treatment! Stay tuned!


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “can you drink alcohol after BCG treatment?” and carried out an in-depth analysis of can you drink alcohol after BCG treatment. We discussed the effects if you drink alcohol after BCG treatment.


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