Before beginning any new medication, it’s imperative to get a full understanding of the drug and how it works. It’s also important to know of any side effects or interactions that may arise while taking the new medication.
Some prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs can have adverse reactions when taken with alcohol or other substances. One medication that is not recommended to be taken with alcohol is the antidepressant, fluoxetine (Prozac).
Prozac is a common drug prescribed for depression and anxiety and has helped countless people lead normal and fulfilling lives. However, mixing Prozac and alcohol can have serious side effects, such as increased depression, anxiety, and drowsiness.
What Is Prozac (Fluoxetine)?
Fluoxetine, brand name Prozac, is an incredibly popular and well-known antidepressant. Prozac is most often prescribed for depression, but can also be used in the treatment of panic disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and bulimia.
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Prozac is an SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. These types of drugs work on the serotonin neurotransmitter in the brain and help to boost mood and prevent feelings of anxiety and depression. SSRIs are a very popular form of antidepressant used today because they cause very little side effects and interactions when compared to other types of antidepressants.
Before you begin taking Prozac, or any new medication, your doctor will first review your medical history and any other drugs you are currently taking. It’s important to inform your doctor of any over-the-counter or prescribed medications you are on as well as whether you drink alcohol or use drugs. This is to prevent you from experiencing any adverse reactions when taking Prozac.
Can You Mix Alcohol With Prozac?
Side effects are always a possibility when mixing any two substances, and it’s important to understand how both drugs work before deciding to mix them.
Both Prozac and alcohol can cause tiredness and interfere with alertness as well as coordinated motion. When combined, these effects are only enhanced, which means that drinking alcohol while taking Prozac can cause intense drowsiness much quicker than using any one substance on its own.
The drowsiness that can be caused by mixing these two substances can result in potentially dangerous situations, such as impaired driving and poor decision-making skills. You are also at an increased risk of falling and becoming injured.
Additionally, alcohol can exacerbate any side effects that may be caused by Prozac. Common side effects include the following:
- feeling anxious
- upset stomach
Drinking alcohol while taking Prozac can potentially make these side effects worse.
Long-Term Effects Of Mixing Alcohol And Prozac
While no long-term effects have been found through research or studies, this doesn’t mean that long-term effects don’t exist. It’s very possible for the effects of mixing Prozac and alcohol to worsen over time.
Prozac is a drug that is taken for extended periods of time. As a result, it’s best to discuss your drinking habits with your doctor before consuming alcohol while taking Prozac. Your doctor may suggest that you avoid alcohol entirely while taking fluoxetine, or they may say it’s okay to drink on occasion. Whatever is suggested, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders.
The Dangers Of Mixing Prozac And Alcohol
What’s more, mixing Prozac and alcohol comes with a risk of fluoxetine not working to its fullest. This means that, for example, if you are taking Prozac to treat depression, you run the risk of continued symptoms of depression when drinking alcohol. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can even make symptoms of depression worse than when you started taking Prozac.
Other potential risks that can arise when mixing Prozac and alcohol include the following:
- sudden fatigue and weakness
- feelings of hopelessness
- suicidal thoughts
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to stop drinking immediately and contact your physician.
Medically Supervised Detox Programs For Alcohol Abuse
If you believe you are struggling with alcohol addiction, the first step to overcoming it is to detox from alcohol. However, it is not suggested that you do this alone. Withdrawing from alcohol can be extremely uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, especially if you have a high physical dependence on the substance.
Medically supervised detox programs provide the medical support needed to ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal from alcohol. These programs also provide a substance-free environment, allowing individuals to detox without the temptation to drink. Most detox programs are three to 10 days, but the exact length will depend on the patient’s unique condition.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be not only uncomfortable but potentially dangerous and even life-threatening in some cases. Symptoms can begin two to six hours after the last drink and can last several days or even weeks. Symptoms depend largely on the level of physical dependence an individual has on alcohol.
Mild symptoms can include vomiting, insomnia, shaky hands, nausea, and excessive sweating. More severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include seizures and hallucinations. If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.
What’s more, individuals with an extremely high physical dependence on alcohol can also experience something called delirium tremens, or DTs. DTs typically begin 48 to 72 hours after the last drink and can be life-threatening if not medically treated.
Symptoms of delirium tremens include hallucinations, high blood pressure, confusion, and shaking. If you experience any of these symptoms while withdrawing from alcohol, get medical help immediately.
Inpatient Treatment For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
Once a medically assisted detox program has been successfully completed, many people choose to continue with some form of alcohol addiction treatment. The most common type of treatment, and often the most successful, is inpatient alcohol addiction treatment. This type of program requires individuals to reside at the treatment facility for an extended length of time, usually 10 to 30 days. The exact amount of time an individual spends in inpatient treatment will be determined by his or her condition and unique needs.
Many treatment facilities offer a variety of therapies to supplement a comprehensive approach to recovery. Most rehab centers will personalize each individual’s treatment plan to suit his or her specific needs and situation.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Many alcohol addiction treatment centers offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as part of their approach to recovery. While not to be used on its own, MAT is a great supplement and can assist in the overall success of an alcohol addiction treatment plan.
The three drugs currently used in the treatment of alcoholism include acamprosate calcium (Campral), disulfiram (Antabuse), and naltrexone (Vivitrol). Antabuse is a drug that works by causing people to become sick when they drink alcohol, which in turn prevents individuals from drinking. Campral is used during the detox process to ease physical and emotional discomfort. Vivitrol is a drug that prevents individuals from feeling the euphoric sensations produced by alcohol in the brain and body.
Many treatment facilities utilize behavioral therapy, which is a therapy aimed at changing negative or destructive behaviors (such as using drugs or excessively drinking alcohol). There are several forms of behavioral therapy, with the most popular being cognitive behavioral therapy, aversion therapy, and motivational interviewing.
Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders
If you or your loved one is on Prozac and suffering from an alcohol use disorder, there is a likely chance that your loved one has a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. This is when an individual has both a mental health disorder, such as depression, as well as a substance use disorder. While this can often make treatment more difficult, there are many rehab centers that offer treatment specifically for co-occurring disorders.
Support Groups For Alcohol Abuse
Support groups are a great way to supplement the overall recovery experience during and after treatment. Many treatment facilities center their programs around a 12-step program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Support groups such as AA give individuals the opportunity to meet others in recovery and form lasting bonds in a sober community.
In addition to inpatient alcohol addiction treatment, there are also many outpatient treatment programs for those with a less severe alcohol use disorder or who cannot get away from their responsibilities for an extended length of time. The most popular forms of outpatient treatment include intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs. If you are unsure which type of treatment is best for you, speak with your primary care physician.
To learn more about the interactions and side effects that can arise when mixing alcohol and Prozac, or for information on treatment programs, contact us today.