Alcohol and Paxil are two commonly used substances, but should they be used together? If someone is mixing alcohol and Paxil, what are the side effects and dangers?

The following takes a look at what Paxil is, what it’s potential side effects and dangers are on its own, and also what you should know about mixing alcohol and Paxil.

What is Paxil?

Before reviewing the side effects and dangers of mixing alcohol and Paxil, what is it? Paxil is the brand name for the generic paroxetine. It’s an antidepressant that’s part of the SSRI class of drugs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. When someone takes Paxil, it impacts their brain chemicals that could be unbalanced and could result in depression, anxiety or other mood or psychological disorders.

Doctors prescribe Paxil for the treatment of not only depression and anxiety disorders, but also obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. In some cases, it may also be used for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD.

It’s important to discuss your medical history with your physician before taking Paxil. Some of the things to note in particular include having high blood pressure, a history of stroke, heart disease, or liver or kidney disease. People with epilepsy, bipolar disorder, or a history of suicidal thoughts should also disclose these things to their doctor.

There is some risk particularly in younger people that when you first start taking an antidepressant, you may experience suicidal thoughts. This is something to be aware of, and your family or caretaker should be made aware as well.

There are certain interactions that are possible with Paxil and other medicines. For example, people should tell their doctor if they’re using an NSAID including common over-the-counter medicines like Advil, Motrin or Aleve.

Some of the common side effects of Paxil include changes in vision, drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, sweating, shakiness, anxiety, sleep problems, appetite problems and decreased sex drive.

There are also possible severe side effects such as mood changes, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, racing thoughts, or severe nervous system symptoms.

So what about alcohol and Paxil? What are the side effects and dangers of mixing alcohol and Paxil?

Mixing Alcohol and Paxil

It’s not uncommon to take antidepressants like Paxil, and it’s also not uncommon to drink alcohol, but is it a problem?

First and foremost, people are strongly advised against mixing alcohol and Paxil. There are some general reasons people are advised not to combine alcohol and antidepressants including the fact that this can reduce the effectiveness of the medicine. Also, the side effects and dangers of Paxil may be amplified if the medicine is combined with alcohol.

Some of the side effects of mixing alcohol and Paxil include abnormalities in thinking, changes in vision, hallucinations, drops or spikes in blood pressure and decreased sex drive. Mixing alcohol and Paxil can increase quite a few other symptoms of the medicine such as mood swings, loss of emotional feeling, nausea, vomiting, paranoia, mania, poor muscle control and suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

There are two big schools of thought when it comes not just to mixing alcohol and Paxil, but the general relationship between the two. For example, some research shows Paxil may help people who are dependent on alcohol if they have anxiety, while other research shows the opposite. Some research has linked the use of Paxil and other SSRIs to an increase in alcohol cravings and abuse.

There’s something else to think about with the side effects and dangers of mixing alcohol and Paxil as well. That’s the fact that alcohol is a depressant. If you’re taking Paxil to treat the symptoms of depression, alcohol may make your symptoms worse which could make it appear that the medicine is ineffective, when in reality it could be the result of the alcohol.

Summing Up—What To Know About Mixing Alcohol and Paxil

If you’re on Paxil, it may be okay to have the occasional drink, usually considered light to moderate drinking. This would be no more than a drink a day for a woman and two drinks a day for a man. However, you should know how you react to both alcohol and Paxil separately, and you should speak to your doctor.

It’s also important to realize when mixing alcohol and Paxil that both work on the same areas of the brain, so the side effects and dangers of alcohol or Paxil alone can be made worse when the substances are combined.

It may be possible that since alcohol is a depressant when you’re mixing alcohol and Paxil, your depression could get worse, or you could think the medication isn’t working.

Anything above moderate drinking isn’t recommended in people with depression, regardless of whether or not you’re also taking Paxil. These are all important things to think about before mixing alcohol and Paxil.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.