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Avatar universal

Zoloft (sertraline) and alcohol

hey im 19 and a freshman in college.. i was recently prescribed Zoloft for anxiety/depression and will be taking 50 mg (gradually starting with 25)...  my doc said it was ok for me to drink just go slow etc..  i was just gonna get yalls imput bc im afraid i'll damage my liver or something.. i drink about every weekend and i will try and drink in little amounts... its just hard not to drink when people are pushing it at you from all directions and i would usually enjoy it and have a good time.. and i dont wanna tell everyone im taking zoloft everytime someone hands me a drink... so can i drink moderately about once or twice a week and not kill my liver?
17 Responses
Avatar universal
Alcohol intesifies the effect of your medication.  It even says on your medicine bottle not to mix with alcohol.  Last year I had a friend who went out with friends and drank (don't know how much) she went home, went to sleep and never woke up again.  You should never feel the need to have an excuse for not drinking, and should be able to have fun without the effects of alcohol.  You're also at a time in your life where YOU should start being the leader, and not drink because everyone else is doing it.
Avatar universal
I understand the point you are trying to get across but don't scare him.  

Drinking on Zoloft is not recommended...but neither is drinking on ANY SSRI or anti-anxiety meds.  From personal experience i can tell you I drank on zoloft quite often and was fine.  Now, everyone is different and you need to be careful but drinking in moderation will not kill you.  But with anxiety issues, you should avoid alcohol.  I know it is tough.  I am 33 and i avoid it when people hand be a drink and it can be difficult.  Good luck to you.
Avatar universal
Fear saves many lives, and he needs to know the truth and not have it sugar coated!  The warning to "AVOID ALCOHOL",  on the side of the medication bottle says it all! You shouldn't be on here advocating drinking while on these type of medications! YOU do not know that drinking in moderation won't kill him, what is moderation to one person is abuse in another.  You're talking out of both sides of your mouth to this young man...drinking is okay.....avoid alcohol......I drank.....I don't drink.....which is it?  You're correct that everyone is different, and even though you survived drinking on this type of medication does not mean he will!  Mixing alcohol and precription meds is one of the leading causes of deaths in our country, so I hope he is scared, because he should be!  You should also at least try to be a positive role model with young people, not bragging about how you drank on medication and was fine.
Avatar universal
I can't speak for everyone, but I did drink very often and in excess back when I was taking Zoloft. I started Zoloft when I was 22 because I became sick with depression and anxiety. Obviously being 22 years old and in the party stage of my life I did drink.

I was taking 200Mgs a day of Zoloft at the time for about 4 years. (I'm on other meds now as Zoloft, actually very few antidepressant work for me anymore)

In my case I did not have any bad reaction to alcohol while on Zoloft. For the time I took the drug it worked just fine even with alcohol.

On the other hand, I am not saying this is a good idea. For all I know I could have killed myself.

My opinion is that if your dosage is a tiny 50mgs a day and you only have a couple of beers then you should be ok.

In my case it was 200Mgs a day and half a fifth of Rum. Probably a bad idea.

Use moderation.
Avatar universal
How sad it is that as adults you would come on here and brag about your drinking, and playing doctor!  With people like you advocating drinking with mixing drugs it's no wonder so many people die from this.  You are very lucky to have survived, but still you can't help another by discouraging them from doing the same?  You're giving out wrong, and dangerous advice, you need to think about what you are doing by sharing your irresponsible life style!  I hope this young man shows more sense and responsibility and chooses to not do this.  You should really just say nothing regarding this, and count your blessings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1191906 tn?1264723287
I just had to post here as I am seriously angered by your comments. This guy has come here to get some real life experiences from people who have been in his situation. Your argument is completely one sided and sounds as if there is no personal experience behind it. See below information from the official NHS website.


Now im not saying or advising anyone to drink on medication and it is obvious that the posters above were not either. Bragging lol! Now I can understand if you know someone that has died from mixing meds and I really do have sympathy for your loss but its going to have an obvious and not objective effect on your opinion which is not productive in helping this guy make a decision.

I know someone who died in a car crash but Im not going to go around telling people to not drive at any cost, I would simply advise that they drive carefully. This applies to this situation also.

One thing to remeber also is that fear mongering is just one of the many factors that can contribute to a persons depression. For me personally this has had a big affect on my life as I was brought up to be very fearful of everything and later in life i have found it hard to motivate myself to experience new things incase the worst was to happen.

Youngguy800 dont listen to the comments. What you need to do is find as much impartial information as possible and if you do decide to drink then make sure you start carefully. Hope you sort the depression out as I myself am a sertraline user and for the record I do drink from time to time and it can definately leave me feeling a little worse for a couple of days after drinking.

All the best
Avatar universal
I was on Zoloft for around 5 years (75-100mgs). At first, my Doc started me off on 50 mgs, then upped it to 75mgs and then finally 100 mgs.

We tried for me to go to 150mgs, but that was too high for me, so we went back down to 100mgs, and that's pretty much where I stayed at for a very long time.

I don't really drink alcohol , so for me, that wasn't an issue, but on the bottle (& probably all SSRIs ) it days not to take alcohol w/ the SSRIs, as others on this thread mentioned.

If I had a glass of red wine with dinner (when on Zoloft) it didn't do anything to me. But I never went beyond maybe 2 glasses of red wine with food. However, I was scared to drink any more alcohol than that, because of what it said on the bottle. Plus, I was not a young College kid like you, so I wasn't around other people that drank. Therefore, it was easy for me to stay away from alcohol.

As for you, I undertand how hard it must be, to be in College and around other kids that party, but maybe you can try to party without alcohol (eg: hold a glass in your hand with a non-alcoholic drink, so that others think your drinking and WONT ask you to take another "real" drink. That's what I used to do. Nobody knew that I wasn't drinking because of that glass of Pepsi in my hand. They thought it was rum & Coke, but it really wasn't... so no pressure on me.

It was great to be sober while partying because I got to experience life more naturally.  I liked it.

Good luck though. Plz enjoy life and hopefully in a more natural way. :-)

1042487 tn?1275283499
I'm on Cymbalta 60mg ( potent and expansive SNRI ) and i can tell you my experiences with alcohol. The SNRI increases my tolerance to alcohol so i drink more. I drink about once a week at parties and sometime twice. One day i drank to the point i forgot the end the party ( mixed strong alcohol and beer ). One thing i noticed tho is the hangovers are terrible hehe.

Now let's talk about safety rather than my experiences. You are better to take light beer and drink water in between and avoid sugar or too much sugar containing drinks. Safer for your brain, liver and you avoid having a terrible hangover.

So the key things to do when drinking that makes drinking less harmful are:

Avoid sugars  

Please consider that I'm not a doctor and everyone is different and can react differently to a drug and different combination. So if you want to drink on AD take it easy and start with extreme moderation to see how it affects you first.

Best regards,
Avatar universal
M4's right,
.... IF you are going to drink ANY alcohol (and I'm not advising such, just adding to this thread) please do drink LOTS of water, otherwise you'll end up with these HUGE headaches. Bad bad headaches. Take it from someone that's been there.

Of course, that's true of anybody that drinks alcohol, whether on SSRIs or not.

Once again, as I said before, plz try to not drink (or drink too much) while partying w/ your friends because we don't know what will happen to your liver in the long run.

Good luck youngguy800, I know it's fun being young and having friends to party with .Who wouldn't want that at your age.

Maybe you can become the "designated driver" for your group,like I was. It might sound boring, but your friends will appreciate you being able to do that for them.
1042487 tn?1275283499
Since we talked about your liver and your intention to do what's best to your liver i will explain why you should drink beer and avoid sugar or high sugar containing alcoholic beverage.

When you drink alcohol your liver is like ''oh damn here comes the alcohol, i gotta get rid of this toxic substance!''. Your liver will also say ''damn some sugar! Oh nevermind i gotta get rid of the alcohol first'' so you end up with more toxicity for your liver when adding sugar with alcohol. Beer already contains sugar but light beer have less. So light beer only and stay away from alcoholic beverage with added sugar.

Know you now why people who drink sugar added alcoholic beverage end up throwing up faster, because the system need to get rid of the excess of sugar and alcohol that might overwhelm the liver.

Best regards,
Avatar universal
...yup, and because of that sugar ,that's why if you drink a lot of alcohol you'll start looking real bloated and fat eventually.

You're probably too young to care about weight gain, but alcohol's sugar content's weight gain problem's another reason why you may want to consider lessening the consumption (if not omitting it all together).
Just another thought....
Avatar universal
just fyi. I am on Zoloft and have never had a problem with depression. I have OCD and serious anxiety I am taking 100mg. I never drink but I had an old friend in town and pretty much went on a week long drinking bindge. I am now in a serious funk, I don't feel like doing my school work or working or anything. I just sit around pretty much doing nothing and I feel like my mind is all cloudy. I do not recomend drinking while on Zoloft.
1192491 tn?1265035429
I have drank with all the SSRI's and I personally haven't had an issue; but we are all different.  I have noticed I start to feel the effects of the alcohol much quicker so if it is to be an all night get together, I order drinks with 1/2 shot and drink water or diet coke inbetween to delay the effects.
Avatar universal
Hey youngguy800 I'm 20 and have been on sertraline (zoloft) for 2 and a half years. Obviously that means I started taking antidepressants when I was 17 and a half and have therefore spent the years when it has been legal for me to drink on antideprssants. This has not stopped me from going out and having a good time ever. There have been times that I haven't drunk for months and it did make me feel mentally well as alcohol does really affect my mood. However there have been times I have completely binged and am still drunk the day after ( I'm talking seriously drunk). I am still alive, I'm fine, I have no liver problems although I admit I don't know the long term affects. I DO NOT think it is a good idea to get drunk on antidepressants even though I still do, but not because of the affects on my body, but because of my mental health and the low it causes the day after. I felt so much better not drinking and I think i'm gna try another perioid of not touching alcohol.
I think certain ppl in this forum are scaremongering which I think is disgusting considering the type of mental health issues sertraline treats (anxiety - you're going to make it worse). Even though I drink on my meds, i don't think it is a good idea, try moderation hunnie but don't beat urself up about it. It's good to let your hair down once in a while whether that's with alcohol or teetotal.
This post is poorly judged and immature. Please disregard
Avatar universal
I have been on Zoloft 50-100mg for about 3 years now. I am a heavy drinker as a college kid. I can say I haven't really had to much trouble with alcohol and Zoloft, even though the first thing my doctor mentioned to me is to NOT drink alcohol while on this medicine. The only things I truly notice is I get drunk fast, I get dizzy which leads to nausea. I've only thrown up once, other times I've been able to somewhat calm myself down and not be sick. I have honestly never drank alcohol without being on Zoloft so I do not know what it feels like to be be drunk/drink without being on the medicine.

I do not advise that people drink while on this drug but i mean it's going to happen just be cautious and aware!!
480448 tn?1426952138
Drinking while on these medications definitely isn't adviseable.  For the obvious reasons, there are some risks involved with the way alcohol interacts with the medication..  The other reason, is because alcohol is a depressant and actually exacerebates anxiety and depression.  It's kind of pointless to be on a medication to help address anxiety and/or depression if one is going to continue to drink with any kind of regularity.

It goes without saying that one should always follow the advice of their medical providers for something like this.  Most docs will tell their pts an occasional drink here and there would be okay...but not drinking excessively or frequently.  Honestly, if a person is going to do that, it's much better to just be tapered off the medication all together, as being compliant with the recommendations that come with taking a medication is important.

If anyone has a question..ask your doctor, and then be sure to follow their instructions.  They don't put warnings out there for sh*ts and giggles, there is a good reason for it.
20857888 tn?1544580861
I am on Zoloft too. My doctor said that I should only drink about once or twice a week and spread it out. But, I would still be SUPER careful.
Thanks for sharing that!  Is Zoloft working for you?  
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