Interaction between antidepressants and alcohol: signal amplification by multiple case reports

For instance, depression may be the first disorder and is a risk factor for the development of excessive alcohol consumption and the progression to alcohol dependence. In this case, depression is defined as the primary disorder and alcohol dependence is the secondary disorder (Schuckit 2006). However, when the two conditions are of significant duration or severity, both require treatment for as long as is necessary (Schuckit 2006). In contrast to other reviews in the field of addiction, for which a large majority of studies were conducted in the USA, more than one third of the studies included in this review were conducted in other countries. Considering confounders/moderators, trials lasting more than four weeks or including only people with primary major depression showed no impact on the efficacy of antidepressants in reducing the severity of depression at the end of treatment and rate of response. The other confounders/moderators (typology of depression, setting, and psychotherapy) did not have a substantial impact on these results, which were often limited by the small number of included studies in the subgroup and confounders/moderators analyses.

lexapro and alcohol craving

Effects of alcohol on anxiety

These side effects, if they occur at all, tend to subside after the first few weeks of taking the drug. More serious side effects that are less common include lowered sex drive or diminished interest in sex, muscle stiffness, irregular heartbeat, fainting, fever, and panic attacks. While highly uncommon, if these symptoms arise, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. When mixing any two substances, there is always a danger of potential side effects. This is especially true when mixing an antidepressant like Lexapro and alcohol.

Why People Mix Lexapro and Alcohol

It is worth noting that not everyone will experience side effects from taking Lexapro. Each person’s response to the medication can vary, and it is important to communicate any changes or concerns with your healthcare provider. There were few studies comparing one antidepressant versus another or antidepressants versus other interventions, and these had a small sample size and were heterogeneous in terms of the types of interventions that were compared, yielding results that were not informative.

Risk of overdose

  • Craving carbohydrates, like thirst when not enough water has been consumed, may be the signal sent to indicate that the brain needs to make serotonin.
  • SSRIs and SNRIs are often referred to as second‐generation antidepressants and are considered to be as effective and safer than the older first‐generation antidepressants, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) (O’Donnell 2011).
  • This can lead to increased drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination.
  • Spontaneous recovery and intermittent periods of lower alcohol intake are of typical in alcohol dependence [54,55].
  • This guidance is because alcohol can make depression worse and can counteract the benefits of a person taking antidepressants.
  • SSRI drugs are among the safest classes of antidepressants, so they’re often doctors’ first choice for treating depression.
  • We examined the effect of including people with uncertain diagnoses in the sensitivity analyses.

The only difference observed was the higher percentage of women, which can probably be attributed to the inclusion criterion of major depression. We did not attempt to distinguish between patients with primary depressive disorders and substance-induced depression. This situation Sober House corresponds to that at the onset of treatment; it is when the clinician has to decide which medications to prescribe. Our patients were treatment-seeking, so the option of providing no active medication was not accepted by either the treating professionals or the patients.

Why is it bad to mix antidepressants and alcohol?

The rating instruments used in the included studies are listed in Appendix 8. Studies assessed compliance as the return of unused medications (six studies), trough plasma concentrations (two studies), and use of an electronic monitoring device that recorded the date and time of bottle cap openings (two studies). It was not possible to extract and combine the results of nine studies as their comparisons were not evaluated by more than one study. We extracted data from the other 24 studies (1498 participants) (see Figure 1). For substantive descriptions of studies see Characteristics of included studies; Characteristics of excluded studies; and Characteristics of ongoing studies tables.

lexapro and alcohol craving

Find an Inpatient Treatment Center Now

The results of the meta‐analysis (11 trials) showed that antidepressants are more efficacious than placebo in this population. This review did not consider the impact of antidepressants on alcohol consumption. For some reported outcomes, it was difficult to make comparisons and pool results due to the different modes of measurement, the selected cut‐off value, and the availability of data from the study or the primary investigator.

  • We also searched for ongoing and unpublished studies via () and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (
  • Research suggests that depressive symptoms may not improve with the use of SSRIs in people with active AUD.
  • All statistical evaluation utilized SAS Procedures in SAS® system for Windows (Version 8.2), SAS-institute, Espoo, Finland.
  • If you feel drowsy, dizzy, and less alert on Lexapro alone, you will likely not be able to tolerate the combined effects of alcohol.

In this case, a sensitivity analysis was carried out to assess how the results were sensitive to changes. Both the two studies (168 participants; Adamson 2015; Hernandez‐Avila 2004) were without high risk of bias, conducted in an outpatient setting, with a duration of four weeks or greater, in which participants were actively drinking at the beginning of the trial, and with psychotherapy. The analysis found no significant difference between antidepressants and placebo (2 studies; 168 participants; SMD ‐0.14, 95% CI ‐0.44 to 0.17; Analysis 1.21) (Adamson 2015; Hernandez‐Avila 2004). There were no differences between antidepressants and placebo when confounder factors were examined (analyses not shown).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *