Medicated For Your Protection
I Forgot Why I Cake Topamax
Table of Contents (hide)
The question of drinking alcohol - along with some other vices - while taking neurological / psychiatric medications comes up all the time. It’s a confusing issue. On one hand crazy meds are used all the time to treat alcoholism, and some of them show a lot of promise (especially Topamax), on the other it will say in the patient information leaflet/handout (PIL) not to drink (e.g. Topamax’s PIL specifically warns you not to drink when taking it).
The simplest thing to do is not drink at all, but simple, being mentally interesting, and reality rarely go together.
OK, a couple things are simple.
- If you have a substance abuse problem, don’t drink, take drugs you haven’t been prescribed, or take anything illegal. Duh.
- Lots of meds make it easier to not drink. We’ll be getting to those a bit later.
- And some meds make it a lot harder to not drink.
- The brains of long-term, heavy drinkers react to meds differently than those of people who aren’t1.
- And that’s not even taking into consideration what has happened to your liver and kidneys.
- What this means is: this article is for people who drink socially, moderately, or have yet to make a career of their heavy drinking (i.e. 5 years or less).
- If you’ve been a daily, heavy drinker for longer than five years this article doesn’t apply to you because either:
- You’re taking one or more crazy meds in order to stop drinking, so there’s no point in worrying about short- and long-term interactions of meds & booze
- You’re not going to stop, so it doesn’t matter - except for the one bit about antipsychotics
Some, like Effexor, actually make it more difficult to abstain from drinking.
- So whether or not you’re still drinking - in which case we hope you’re using a med to help you stop drinking (or smoking pot, or snorting cocaine, or a few other things 2) - if you’ve been a heavy drinker for however long it takes to have messed with your body and mind (5–10 years on average), you and your doctor are going to have to talk about it in detail.
Pile of Pills
Vaccines Cause Immunity
Medicated For Your Protection
Unless you’re taking these meds as part of a treatment plan to stop drinking, you normally shouldn’t drink alcohol if you are taking any type of mood stabilizer, either an anticonvulsant/anti-epileptic drug (AED) or an antipsychotic (AP). Why?
Alcohol + bipolar = trouble.
If you can honestly look back at your life you’ll find that will be true far more often than for those who are not bipolar. Alcohol may or may not have been trouble 100% of the time. Booze may be something you never had a problem with. But things are different now.
- The effects of mixing booze with AEDs are completely unpredictable.
- You may get way more drunk on surprisingly less alcohol.
- You may not feel drunk no matter how much you drink.
- Your meds may suddenly stop working.
- The one thing that is relatively consistent is the hangover will be worse and last longer.
- Lamictal is notorious for causing multiday hangovers after drinking minimal amounts of alcohol.
- A reason for AEDs causing such epic hangovers may be because you had a seizure when you were asleep.
- Because alcohol is, oddly enough, an AED of sorts3. It’s just not a very good one.
- Good AEDs don’t fry your brain the way chronic, heavy drinking does.
- And having too many AEDs, especially ones with different ways of working (mechanisms of action) that aren’t particularly compatible, can cause seizures.
- So whenever an epileptic mentions “seizure hangover,” they aren’t kidding.
- Alcohol + AP = I used to think really fucking stupid, no matter what you’re taking it for. Now it’s unpredictable in different ways, but still really fucking stupid if you’re bipolar.
- You can get higher off of the combination of booze and APs.4
- Alcohol is definitely a serotonergic drug, and possibly a dopaminergic drug.
- So in addition to being a crappy AED, it’s an antidepressant (AD) of sorts, which is why people self-medicate with it for depression.
- Which means you’d be taking an AP and AD at the same time, which can act either as a souped-up AD, or effectively negate some of the actions of your AP.
- And that means you’re wasting money and side effects as your symptoms get worse instead of better.
- In spite of, or maybe because it is a crappy AED, mixing alcohol and epilepsy is generally a bad idea.
- Alcohol + benzodiazepines = dying like a rock star.
- Alcohol + stimulants = You have no idea how drunk you really are.
- Alcohol + hypnotics (Ambien, Lunesta, etc.) = Sleep driving? How about sleep DUI!
- Alcohol + antidepressants = here we go with it getting complicated again
- SSRIs are one of the few drugs where it is relatively safe to drink a moderate amount of alcohol. “Moderate” meaning a beer or two, or a glass of wine, two or three nights a week. Just one more reason why they are so popular.
- But you shouldn’t drink when taking SNRIs like Effexor and Cymbalta. As mentioned above, Effexor has this weird side effect of turning people into alcoholics. It goes away when you stop taking the drug, and it’s uncommon (fewer than 1%, more than 0.1% of people have had some kind of bad drug-drug interaction of alcohol and Effexor), but when it does happen, it can get really bad really fast. Cymbalta has a minutely small chance of causing liver problems. Cymbalta + alcohol turns that into a slight chance. I haven’t got a feel for Pristiq yet, but as it’s a derivative of Effexor, you should probably avoid it.
- The interaction of TCAs and alcohol is potentially fatal. You don’t need to use a lot of booze to wash down much more than a week’s worth of a TCA to be at the low end of a lethal amount.
- With MAOIs it depends on what you’re drinking. You still shouldn’t drink that much, and to be absolutely safe you need to stick to things like white wine (but not vermouth), crappy beer, and vodka. I.e. avoid anything with actual flavor.
- OK, most red wines are safe. You need to avoid Chianti and probably some other good ones.
- By “crappy beer” I mean any beer that is available in a “Lite” form. You don’t need to drink the “Lite” flavor. If you can see through it, it’s safe. It also has to come out of a bottle or can and not a keg or a tap.
- The only difference between almost all gins and vodkas these days is the name. Most distilled liquor is safe from a drug-drug interaction standpoint. Quantity is the issue. One shot/mixed drink is your new limit.
- You can tell I used to be such a booze snob.
- The restrictions aren’t as bad with the Emsam patch. You just have to avoid anything that undergoes fermentation in the bottle/container, like good beer and good sake.
- Talk to your pharmacist and read the PI sheet (and not just the patient hand-out, if you get one) for more, and probably better information.
- As for everything else, it’s a crap shoot.
- Wellbutrin + booze is mostly benign, with a couple provisos. Some people will feel less inebriated than they actually are, and it’s an ersatz epilepsy test - because too much booze and Wellbutrin both lower your seizure threshold, so you really need a way to get home that does not involve you driving.
- Remeron will make you more drunk, but liquor as no effect upon Remeron. That’s from the Remeron PI sheet.
- But wait, aren’t crazy meds used to treat alcoholism? Aren’t they given to people who are still drinking?
- Yes. As I wrote above, chronic use of alcohol changes how your brain works.
- And we get into “Which sucks less?” territory.
- Here’s a study on using Topamax and Abilify to treat alcoholism. I like this part
There was no evidence that AE[adverse effects]s of aripiprazole and topiramate are additive and can, therefore, be administered safely together with a modest amount of alcohol.
- In Effects of Alcohol Dependence Comorbidity and Antipsychotic Medication on Volumes of the Thalamus and Pons in Schizophrenia the researchers found that alcoholism shrinks those two areas of the brain more than schizophrenia does, and antipsychotics help to prevent that - mostly in the thalamus - for both alcoholism and schizophrenia. So while the booze is messing with the immediate effects of the AP, the AP is still able to do some good in the long run.
- As long as you manage to stay medication compliant.
- Which isn’t easy when drinking interferes with how your meds are working.
- Then again, if the meds make you more drunk that might be an incentive to be med complaint.
- So even if the data are contradictory regarding your brain when mixing booze and APs, various other internal organs will hate you for doing so.
||Keep Crazymeds on the air.
Donate some spare electronic currency
you have floating around The Cloud
Don’t worry about actually buying one. Windows shop and share the designs you’d like to buy or find worthy of ridicule. What else are you doing now? Working? Sure you are.
2 Except smoking tobacco. The long-term neurological effects and drug-drug interactions on that particular vice are really well known. It may still get a section of a page, or even an entire page of its own Real Soon Now.
3 Which is why heavy drinkers go into seizures when they suddenly stop drinking.
4 Now I know why Seroquel and other antipsychotics are so popular in prisons: so the inmates can get higher off of their toilet wine! Those who get the APs from prison doctors are artificially inflating the percentage of mentally interesting in the prison population, making it appear as if there are more of us locked up for various crimes than there actually are. Which just feeds the stereotype that we're all a bunch of psychokillers waiting explode.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Crazy Meds? by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011 Jerod Poore
|Last modified on Monday, 18 April, 2016 at 00:16:22 by JerodPoore||Page Author: Jerod Poore||Date created: 13 August 2011|
All drug names are the trademarks of someone else. Look on the appropriate PI sheets or ask Google who the owners are. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of any trademarks may have changed without my noticing.
Page design and explanatory material by Jerod Poore, copyright © 2003 - 2016. All rights reserved.
Keep up with Crazymeds and and/or my
slow descent into irreparable madness boring life. Pick your preferred social media target(s):
Follow me for site updates
and research & pharm news.
|Wear my Straitjacket||Batshit Crazy Blog|
Crazymeds | Promote Your Page Too||
Follow for site updates and
high weirdness to distract you.
|Crazymeds’ Tumblr||Crazymeds: The Blog|
Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and something along the lines of following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.
All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else. Plus we are big pottymouths and talk about S-E-X a lot.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained from the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets and/or medication guides - which is all you get from sites like WebMD, RxList,
NAMBLA NAMI, etc., the sources that are referenced throughout the site, our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, and what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or medication guide/patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
Crazymeds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
Crazymeds is optimized for ridiculously large screens and browsers that don’t block ads. I use Firefox and Chrome, running under Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazymeds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazymeds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
Crazymeds now uses a secure server, but it is not so secure that you can discuss anything having to do with nuclear power facilities, air traffic control systems, aircraft navigation systems, weapons control systems, or any other system requiring failsafe operation whose failure could lead to injury, death or environmental damage. Just so you know. So if you’re mentally interesting and have a job that deals with that sort of thing, talk about said job elsewhere. Otherwise feel free to discuss your meds and brain cooties.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices, in the 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society, or in all dimensions of reality. Hail Xenu!
‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore
1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.
2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.
3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?* I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion as anonymity on teh Intergoogles. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.
* Yes, I know I’m using open source browsers. I also test the site using the now-defunct IE and Safari browsers. Their popularity - and superiority - killed IE and Safari, so that’s why I rely on the open source browsers. It’s like brand vs. generic meds. Sometimes the generic is better than the brand.