Antidepressants and Alcohol

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Question

Can I drink alcohol while taking a tricyclic antidepressant?

Answer

In general, it's recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol while taking tricyclic antidepressants. Example of tricyclic antidepressant drugs include amitriptyline (Elavil®), amoxapine (Asendin®), clomipramine (Anafranil®), desipramine (Norpramin®), doxepin (Sinequan®), imipramine (Tofranil®), and nortriptyline (Pamelor®). Tricyclic antidepressants are also referred to as TCAs.

Potential side effects

Drinking alcohol while taking a TCA can increase the chance or severity of side effects such as drowsiness, slow reflexes, and clouded judgment. This can be dangerous when driving a car or operating other machinery. Additionally, if you are taking one of these medicines for depression, keep in mind that alcohol alone can may make you feel depressed. In this way, alcohol can interfere with the actions of your TCA to treat depression.

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