Antidepressants and trazodone help people maintain good mental health, but could drinking alcohol be dangerous for someone who’s taking these medications? Overall, it is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking trazodone because trazodone can enhance the effects of alcohol leading to excessive dizziness, drowsiness, or difficulty concentrating.
Trazodone is a common prescription medication that treats depression. You may know it by its brand names, Desyrel and Oleptro. Trazodone is in a class of medications known as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors (SARI) which increase serotonin levels in the brain. The Food and Drug Administration approved trazodone to treat depression, but the drug also treats insomnia and anxiety.
It is also important to consider how alcohol affects the diseases that trazodone treats. Alcohol can worsen depression and anxiety. In other words, if you are using trazodone for depression or anxiety, alcohol may make trazodone less effective.
Side Effects of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol
If you’re currently taking trazodone, you may have experienced some of these common side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty concentrating
- Blurred vision
In general, these side effects last for a few hours. Sometimes they go away after using the medication for several weeks.
What happens when you drink alcohol and use trazodone? First, alcohol is known to worsen depression and anxiety, so alcohol makes trazodone less effective. Consuming alcohol may defeat the purpose of using trazodone.
Additionally, when alcohol is consumed with trazodone, the effects of alcohol are much stronger, and may lead to side effects like:
- Worsening of depression or anxiety
- Excessive dizziness or lightheadedness
- Priapism (prolonged erection)
- Excessive drowsiness
- Increased difficulty concentrating
It is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking trazodone because the side effects of each substance are worsened when they’re mixed, and trazodone isn’t as effective when it’s used with alcohol. To ensure that trazodone works properly, and to avoid harmful side effects, avoid drinking alcohol while taking trazodone.
Trazodone and Alcohol Overdose
Overdoses are not common unless alcohol is consumed in excess or more trazodone is taken than prescribed. An overdose likely will not occur with a drink and normal trazodone dose, but it will still cause increased side effects.
However, it is important to know the symptoms of a trazodone and alcohol overdose. These include:
- Excessive drowsiness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Slow or shallow breathing
If a trazodone and alcohol overdose is suspected, don’t wait to get help. Contact emergency medical help immediately.
If you want to drink alcohol while using trazodone, it is important to speak with a health care provider who is familiar with your unique situation. If your doctor says it’s fine to drink in moderation, start with small amounts to see how the combination affects you. Also, do so in a safe area and avoid activities that require concentration or coordination, like driving.
Many people may drink alcohol while using trazodone. However, it is important to remember how alcohol can affect anxiety or depression, as well as some common side effects of the combination to keep an eye out for.
Key Points: Trazodone and Alcohol
Important aspects to remember about trazodone and alcohol include:
- Trazodone is a prescription medication that treats depression, anxiety, and insomnia
- The combination of alcohol and trazodone can cause extreme drowsiness, dizziness and difficulty concentrating
- Alcohol can worsen depression and anxiety, so it may make trazodone less effective
- The combination of trazodone and alcohol can lead to an overdose
- If a trazodone and alcohol overdose is suspected, contact medical help immediately
- Speak to your health care provider if you would like to drink while taking trazodone
- If you choose to drink while using trazodone, start with small amounts to see how it affects you
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