There are various drugs that you should not mix with alcohol. Lexapro is one such drug that, when combined with alcohol, can cause serious interactions, including reduced medication efficacy.
Considering the risks of consuming prescription medications while drinking, it is essential to monitor alcohol use while taking medications. In this article, we look at the reaction of mixing alcohol with Lexapro and why you refrain from doing it.
What is Lexapro?
Lexapro is a medically approved antidepressant medication prescribed to treat depression, nervousness, and other mental health issues in person. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that helps restore the natural balance of serotonin hormone in the brain that directly affects mood.
What Happens If You Combine Alcohol And Lexapro?
Mixing Lexapro and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of your condition and can cause unpleasant side effects. Let us see why it happens. Lexapro is an antidepressant that affects the nervous system to enhance active serotine levels. It leads to improved sleep, appetite, and energy and lessened anxiety and fear in people.
Alcohol works as a depressant that can cause or deteriorate depression. It can lead to more depressed feelings and even suicidal behavior.
When you take Lexapro along with alcohol, then it could negate the effects of the antidepressant (Lexapro) and cause a person to feel sad, anxious, and depressed. This combination may make symptoms harder to treat.
Possible side effects resulting from the combination of alcohol and Lexapro include:
- Negative moods
- Mood Swings
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Impaired alertness and memory
- Excessive Sleepiness
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty breathing
- Slowed breathing
- Reduced Lexapro efficacy
- Increased anxiety
- Worsened depression
- Liver damage
- Weight loss
- Higher risk of alcohol dependence
- Increased aggressive or violent behavior
- Severe hangover symptoms lasting for a longer time
- flu-like symptoms
These side effects are more likely to be severe if you consume a higher dose of Lexapro and more alcohol in one sitting.
5 Reasons Why You Should Not Combine Lexapro With Alcohol
As Lexapro develops in your body with time, you can’t simply skip a dose of Lexapro to enjoy a drink. Doing this won’t lessen the adverse effects of Lexapro or alcohol, but missing a dose can make depression worse. Knowing the risks of drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants like Lexapro, doctors usually don’t recommend drinking alcohol while a person is on depression treatment.
Possible risks of mixing alcohol and Lexapro:
1. Psychological Dangers
Combing even moderate amounts of alcohol with Lexapro can lead to blackouts or temporary memory loss in a person. It can cause temporary insanity that often shows up as violent behavior.
2. Physical Dangers
Drinking while on Lexapro medication may contribute to liver issues and antidepressant-induced hepatic injury.
As alcohol reduces Lexapro’s impact to ease depression, most people consume more alcohol to escape sadness. It eventually leads to alcohol-induced liver damage.
Mixing both drugs can raise the heart rate and workload on the heart, leading to long-term heart damage. It can be worse for patients with health conditions related to the heart, liver, kidney, and high blood pressure. It requires discussing with the healthcare provider the safety of drinking alcohol while consuming Lexapro.
3. Deteriorated Depression
Some people resort to drinking to treat their depression without knowing that it could negatively impact their mental health and put them at risk for substance abuse.
Considering the strong connection between alcohol and depression, intake of alcohol while on an antidepressant can aggravate your depression, leading to fatal consequences like suicide.
4. Danger Of Serotonin Syndrome
As mentioned above, Lexapro works by raising levels of serotonin in the brain. Alcohol does the same temporarily. The combined result of both drugs causes dangerous serotonin levels in the body. So, mixing Lexapro with alcohol leads to another risk factor, “serotonin syndrome,” which occurs when the serotonin levels in the brain rise to a considerable extent.
Likely symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome are:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Over-responsive reflexes
- High blood pressure
Serotonin syndrome is an emergency condition, so one must seek immediate medical attention to deal with it.
5. Suicidal Tendencies
Besides the common side effects, the worsening scenario is likely dangerous as it can cause suicidal behavior and tendencies in people. This risk is notably higher in teenagers, kids, and youths and is highly likely to happen during the initial treatment period and if your dosage changes.
Note – Remember, a lower dosage of Lexapro doesn’t give you a ticket to drink more alcohol. You should avoid drinking alcohol even when you stop taking Lexapro, which can cause rebound anxiety or depression.
What Should You Do In This Case?
Both alcohol and Lexapro modify the way the brain works. To avoid the dangerous consequences of taking them together, it is best to not drink alcoholic beverages while on treatment with this medication.
Remember that every person’s body processes medication and alcohol differently. So, you should speak to your doctor before drinking to find the safest.
Is There Any Safe Limit Of Alcohol While Taking Lexapro?
Regardless of how much you consume alcohol, it will impact your treatment of depression negatively.
If you still like to drink while on depression treatment, it may be safe to consume alcohol occasionally and in small amounts if you are at a small risk of AUD (alcohol use disorder).
Generally, doctors consider moderate drinking as one alcoholic drink daily for women and two alcoholic beverages daily for men. Here one drink is equivalent to 12 ounces (oz) of 5% ABV beer/ 5 oz of a 12% ABV wine/1.5 oz of a 40% ABV whiskey.
When taking antidepressants, doctors recommend that people drink alcohol slowly and have it with food.
Lexapro is a safe and effective method to manage anxiety and depression. However, as alcohol counteracts the effect of this antidepressant, one must refrain from or reduce alcohol intake when taking Lexapro. If you wish to consume alcohol while taking an antidepressant like Lexapro should consult your doctor first.
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