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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Antidepressants

Question: Can I Drink Alcohol on My Medication?

 cararyan - Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:18 pm

I'm a 28 year old woman and I have been taking medication for OCD since I was 11 years old. I've taken all kinds of medications, from Tricyclic to SSRI's to SNRI's. I do drink alcohol pretty much every weekend. Are some medications worse to drink with than others? Specifically, I am about to start taking Cymbalta and want to know the dangers of drinking on it. I have already tried Effexor and was on it for over a year. What are the dangers of drinking on Effexor? Thank you so much!
 Dr. E. Seigle - Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:43 pm

Dear Cararyann,

In general, drinking alcohol while you are taking medications that are designed to affect the brain is discouraged. Brain depressants are clearly dangerous when used together with alcohol, and these include the family of drugs known as benzodiazepines (such as Ativan, lorazepa, or Klonopin/clonazepam), antihistamines, atypical neuroleptics and others. The SSRIs and SNRIs are not generally dangerous from a medical standpoint (like Ativan and alcohol causing the possibility of slow or stopped breathing), but mixing them can interfere with obtaining the therapeutic benefits from your medication. Cymbalta and Effexor are generally not dangerous with modest alcohol use (the equivalent of 1-2 beers over 2 hours), but one can't be sure. SSRIs and SNRI's that are sedating, such as Paxil, Luvox, or Remeron, may be more risky, and should be avoided.

To be sure, avoid alcohol use, or keep it to under a beer per night, taken a few hours before the medication is taken.

Good luck -Eliot Seigle MD

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