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Prozac and Alcohol Interactions

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What is Prozac (Fluoxetine)?

Fluoxetine is sold under the brand name Prozac. It’s an antidepressant medication used to treat depressive symptoms and other mental health conditions like: 

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Prozac helps manage severe symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, binge eating behaviors, obsessive thoughts, and compulsive behaviors.

How is Prozac Used?

Fluoxetine (Prozac) is one of the most recognizable SSRIs. SSRIs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. 

These drugs treat depression and other mental health disorders. They work by increasing the amount of serotonin available in the brain.

In 1987 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Prozac for marketing as an antidepressant drug. Prozac is also FDA-approved for use by children ages 7 to 17, depending on the condition being treated. 

Take Prozac exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the amount you take until it’s right for you. 

If you mistakenly skip a dose of fluoxetine, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Don’t take 2 doses at the same time.

Side Effects & Risks of Prozac 

Prescribed antidepressants like Prozac have side effects. 

To avoid unwanted effects, seek professional medical advice before taking or combining any medications.

Common side effects of Prozac

Below are some common side effects you might experience when you start taking Prozac. 

They include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Unusual dreams
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling tired
  • Sexual problems
  • Hot flashes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Tremors

Call 911 and seek medical attention if you have serotonin syndrome

This condition can be life-threatening, with symptoms that include:

  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Mental status changes
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Flushing
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
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Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Taking Prozac?

It’s advised not to drink alcohol while taking Prozac. Consuming alcohol and Prozac may lead to an increase in adverse effects such as feeling tired or fatigued, changes in sleep habits, and stomach upset.6 

What Happens to Your Body When You Take Prozac and Drink Alcohol?

Drinking alcohol affects the brain and the entire central nervous system (CNS). Since alcohol and Prozac both affect the CNS, drinking can worsen medication side effects. 

Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about drinking alcohol and taking Prozac. 

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Dangers of Mixing Prozac and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol will affect your motor skills, coordination, concentration, and judgment.  

Combining alcohol and Prozac may lead to an increased risk of impaired driving and poor decision-making.

There are some antidepressants, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), that can cause serious side effects when combined with alcohol. These include dangerous increases in blood pressure and stroke. 

Alcohol should be avoided completely when taking medications like MAOIs.

How Does Alcohol Affect Depression?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and depression may co-occur, and one can make the other worse. Drinking may counteract the benefits of antidepressant medications.

Alcohol is a depressant. Although it may improve mood in the short-term, over time, it can make depressive symptoms worse.

Alcohol might have a short-term positive effect on mood, but it can worsen mental health disorders. Alcohol consumption has been linked to depression and memory loss.1

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Is Any Amount of Alcohol Safe to Drink on Antidepressants?

It’s safer to avoid drinking alcohol when taking antidepressants like Prozac to avoid making your depressive symptoms or medication side effects worse.

If you must drink alcohol when taking Prozac, drink only small amounts and pay attention to how you feel.7 Don’t stop taking your antidepressant just because you want to drink alcohol, or you may experience withdrawal effects.3

If you’re taking monoamine-oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), avoid drinking alcohol completely. However, manufacturers generally advise against drinking alcohol while taking any antidepressant medications. 

Precautions While Taking Antidepressants 

Here are some things to keep in mind while taking antidepressants:

  • Avoid taking medications that can interact with your antidepressant
  • Tell your doctor about your health history and any medications you’re taking
  • Avoid taking herbal remedies (e.g., St John’s Wort) while taking a prescribed antidepressant unless under the direction of a medical professional 
  • Avoid the use of illegal drugs if you are taking antidepressants
  • Don’t drive or operate certain machinery while taking antidepressants as they can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision

Treatment for Alcohol Misuse & Addiction

Most people that are addicted to alcohol find it difficult to stop even when it hurts them and makes them feel more depressed and anxious. 

Symptoms of alcohol misuse and addiction:

  • Drinking too much and longer than you planned to
  • Increased frequency of alcohol use
  • Wanting alcohol so bad that it affects your thinking
  • Increased depression, lethargy, anxiety, or other emotional issues
  • Having professional and legal problems associated with your drinking habit
  • Avoiding contact with loved ones and having relationship issues because of your drinking habit
  • Drinking at inappropriate times
  • High dependence on alcohol

Treatment options for alcohol use disorder (AUD):

Rehab

For someone showing symptoms of alcohol addiction, a common initial option for seeking addiction treatment is attending a rehabilitation program.

A rehab program could be inpatient or outpatient, full hospital admission and partial admission, respectively. Both provide you with the support needed to recover and manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Medications and behavioral therapies

Some medications help patients quit drinking and can help treat their withdrawal symptoms (your doctor may prescribe one for you).

Also, behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are helpful when treating alcohol addiction.

Support groups

Some people who use alcohol attend 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to treat alcohol use disorder. AA is an internationally recognized mutual aid group that focuses on helping people who use alcohol achieve sobriety.

There are other addiction support groups that don’t follow a 12-step program model like AA that you can join. These communities will help support you on your path to recovery.

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Updated on March 25, 2022
7 sources cited
  1. Alcohol and mental health.” Drinkaware.
  2. Boden, Joseph M, and David, M Fergusson. “Alcohol and Depression.” Addiction (Abingdon, England) vol. 106,5 : 906-4. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03351.x.
  3. Can I Drink Alcohol If I’m Taking Antidepressants?National Health Service, NHS, 2 April 2019. 
  4. "Fluoxetine (including Prozac)." National Health Service, NHS, 10 December 2018.
  5. FDA Approved Drug Products.” US Food and Drug Administration. 
  6. Fluoxetine (Prozac).” National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dec. 2020.
  7. Ponen, Sandra. “Fluoxetine.” Health navigator, New Zealand, 22 March 2021. Wehrwein, Peter. “Astounding Increase In Antidepressant Use By Americans.” Harvard Health Publishing, 20 October 2011.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.

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