Drinking on Prozac: Is It Safe to Mix Fluoxetine and Alcohol?

Last Updated: June 24, 2020

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Prozac and alcohol shouldn’t mix. Fluoxetine, the medicine’s active ingredient, belongs to a class of substances called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These substances interact with the neurotransmitters to help those who suffer from anxiety, depression, and other conditions. To control one’s symptoms, this treatment has to be respected for a long time. Alcohol is considered a brain-altering substance, so mixing Fluoxetine and alcohol can have harmful consequences.

Prozac (Fluoxetine) Interaction With Alcohol

Fluoxetine is a medication that alters the brain’s chemistry. This substance maintains higher levels of serotonin in the brain by stopping its quick reabsorption. As a result, the user feels less anxious and depressed.
Similarly to Prozac, alcohol can also increase the levels of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. This is why many people who suffer from anxiety and depression use booze as a coping method. Prozac causes weight gain in rare cases, which might lead to depression and drinking as a coping mechanism. Since both substances produce similar effects, the ethanol and Prozac interactions have a dangerous potential.
However, the interactions between booze and SSRIs can sometimes be helpful. Since both substances affect the brain in a similar way, Fluoxetine can actually attenuate the alcohol cravings in some people. While that doesn’t mean one should take Prozac to abstain from drinking, Fluoxetine might help those suffering from alcoholism to give up liquor.

Side Effects Of Drinking On Prozac

Prozac is an antidepressant that’s designed to promote calmness and to soothe one’s anxiety. However, one of the adverse effects of using this drug is a sense of tiredness. Sometimes, the medicine can affect the user’s alertness and movement coordination, just like booze does. Since alcohol and Prozac produce similar effects, having only one drink while using the medicine can exacerbate its side effects. Drinking on Prozac can lead to:

  • Extreme drowsinessdepressed man with headache holding his head in hands
  • Sudden fatigue and weakness
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Dizziness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Ethanol depresses the central nervous system. As a result, an inebriated person experiences a low blood pressure and heart rate, and reduced breathing levels. Fluoxetine HCl also affects some of these functions. Moreover, a person who abuses Fluoxetine can experience an irregular heart rate, drowsiness, tremors, nausea, vomiting, and even seizures. These effects are very similar to those people experience when they drink too much and suffer from ethanol poisoning.

Does Alcohol Stop Fluoxetine From Working?

man siiting at the table with whiskey and pills on itTaking Prozac and drinking is never a good idea. Not only does the booze amplify the unpleasant effects of Fluoxetine, but it can also stop it from working as it should. Alcohol consumption is a risk factor for anxiety and depression. Heavy drinkers often manifest depressive behaviors, and ethanol can prevent the medication from working to its full potential. Drinking bout might lead to fatigue, anxiety, depression, and impaired judgment. That, combined with the Fluoxetine-alcohol interaction, can make one’s condition worse.
It’s important to note that one shouldn’t skip their prescribed dose of Prozac just to avoid the dangers of mixing alcohol and fluoxetine. SSRIs are prescribed for long-term use, and skipping a dose might affect the entire treatment process. The daily prescribed amount is necessary to maintain a constant level of fluoxetine in thr system and to produce the desired effects. Constantly stopping and restarting the medicine can actually make the patient’s depression worse.

Is There A “Safe” Amount Of Alcohol To Drink On Prozac?

So, can one drink on Prozac or not? Well, the short answer is no. One shouldn’t drink while taking Fluoxetine. Drinking while taking even the lowest dose of Prozac can produce unpleasant effects; thus it is not advisable to drink until Fluoxetine is removed from system.

Connection between Fluoxetine, Alcohol, and Depression

Consult With Physician Before Drinking

However, sometimes exceptions can be made. One should consult with physician to see if they’re allowed to have a drink once in a while. Since Fluoxetine is prescribed for long-term use, a doctor might agree to allow to have an occasional drink, depending on the health conditions, alcohol use history, and other medications one need to take. However, one shall be prepared that Prozac withdrawal symptoms will be more severe if the drug was consumed with alcohol.
Prozac and alcohol shouldn’t mix. Booze might interact with the way the antidepressants works in the body which can make depression seem worse. Specialized rehab and addiction centers can help to treat alcohol or Fluoxetine addiction using advanced therapy methods.


Page Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1800314/

Published on: June 27th, 2018

Updated on: June 24th, 2020

About Author

Roger Weiss, MD

Dr. Roger Weiss is a practicing mental health specialist at the hospital. Dr. Weiss combines his clinical practice and medical writing career since 2009. Apart from these activities, Dr. Weiss also delivers lectures for youth, former addicts, and everyone interested in topics such as substance abuse and treatment.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.

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