Prozac (fluoxetine) is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and an antidepressant used to treat various mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. FDA-Approved Prozac medical applications include the following:
- Major depressive disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Bulimia nervosa
- Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia
- Acute depressive episodes related to bipolar I disorder
- Treatment-resistant depression (with Zyprexa)
Data from human and animal trials reveal that fluoxetine is believed to be generally safe and with few drug interactions. Fluoxetine overdose typically leads to a relatively benign clinical course, with the most common symptoms being rapid heart rate, drowsiness, tremors, nausea, and vomiting.
In 2017, the National Institute of Mental Health reported that 17.3 million adult Americans reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode. Other research has suggested a link between depression and an increased risk of alcohol abuse. Considering these figures, if someone is taking Prozac for depression, is it safe to consume alcohol? And if not, what are the risks involved?
Common Prozac Side Effects
Prozac has been shown to successfully treat psycho-emotional health conditions such as depression with fewer side effects than other antidepressants.
Some common side effects of Prozac include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Agitation and anxiety
- Sexual dysfunction
- Increased sweating
- Weight gain or loss
- Abnormal dreams
- Flu symptoms
- Sinus infection/sore throat
- Hot flashes
Serious Prozac Side Effects
Serious side effects may include the following:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Impaired cognition
- Abnormal bleeding
- Allergic reactions, skin rash
- Suicidal ideations and behaviors
- Serotonin syndrome
- Mania or hypomania
- Vision issues (glaucoma)
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Low sodium levels in the blood
- Problems with blood sugar
Mixing Prozac and Alcohol
Moderate or excessive alcohol consumption or binge drinking has been shown to adversely impact the effectiveness of antidepressants and increase specific symptoms of depression.
Consider the potential adverse effects of using Prozac with alcohol:
Increased depression and anxiety symptoms – Although some people may feel better after consuming alcohol, it can worsen negative emotions.
Decreased alertness and response time – In combination, alcohol and Prozac can impair mental alertness, coordination, and motor skills. These effects could lead to unnecessary impairment of necessary obligations such as childcare or driving a motor vehicle.
Drowsiness – Both alcohol and Prozac use can both result in profound sedation or sleepiness. When used in combination, lethargic effects may be more intensified than when the substances are taken independently.
Increased tendency to stop using antidepressants – One study suggested that even people who drank alcohol moderately were more likely to stop using their antidepressants as directed than those who did not consume alcohol.
Decreased effectiveness of Prozac – One study found that the efficacy of Prozac was significantly reduced after alcohol use. Alcohol consumption has been associated with lower tryptophan levels. Tryptophan is needed to synthesize serotonin, and low levels of tryptophan are related to feelings of depression.
Alcohol consumption has been associated with inadequate coping skills – Drinking alcohol to deal with depression can lead to severe drinking issues, including alcohol addiction.
Moreover, if the goal is to feel less depressed, it is probably an excellent idea to refrain entirely from alcohol consumption. However, each individual is unique, and therefore, it is recommended to speak with a doctor who can evaluate individual risk factors and the potential for alcohol abuse and addiction.
Keep these crucial points in mind if you are considering combining the use of Prozac and alcohol. You could experience:
- Increased feelings of depression
- Decreased effects of pharmacology
- Increased adverse side effects including drowsiness and decreased alertness
- Possible increase in inadequate coping skills
- Increased risk of alcohol addiction, especially in conjunction with excessive alcohol use
Getting Help for Drug Abuse and Addiction
If you or someone you know is using Prozac or another antidepressant and also abusing alcohol, we urge you to contact our center as soon as possible. Your call is 100% free and confidential, and there is no obligation to commit to undergoing a treatment program.
We offer personalized, comprehensive programs in both partial hospitalization and residential formats. These programs are clinically proven to be vital for the recovery process, including behavioral therapy, 12-step group support, individual and family counseling, art and music therapy, aftercare planning, and more.