Can I Drink Alcohol When I Am Taking Antidepressant Medication?

Dr. Stoll answers the question: 'Can I Have Alcohol With Antidepressants?'

Byandrew Stoll, M.d., Director, Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory, Mclean Hospital
February 27, 2008, 4:35 PM

— -- Question: Can I drink alcohol when I am taking antidepressant medication?

Answer: The information about the interaction of alcohol with antidepressant medication is really incomplete. We don't know a lot of answers around this.

There are some limited studies that suggest that if you drink even one drink a day it can kind of inhibit the response to antidepressants. But then again, if you take an SSRI antidepressant like Prozac or Zoloft or Lexapro, adding one or two drinks a day is not going to really interact with that medicine directly.

But again, like I said, there is some suggestion that you might lower your response rate to the antidepressant by drinking. So if you're going to drink, keep it very moderate, keep it very low. Make sure you tell your doctor what you're doing.

Certainly heavy drinking has been shown to be very damaging to bipolar disorder patients in terms of, much higher levels of relapse. For major depression, the answer is less clear, but certainly excessive drinking is not a great idea at all.

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