Is It Safe to Combine Amitriptyline and Alcohol?

Amitriptyline is an antidepressant medication that belongs to the family of drugs known as tricyclics. It works by increasing the levels of a hormonal substance known as serotonin in the brain. Serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood, and inadequate levels of serotonin have been associated with depression and other mood disorders.

Unfortunately, many people believe that drinking while taking psychotropic medication is safe since both substances are available legally. Alcohol can be hazardous when taken with a number of medications, and amitriptyline is no exception. Unlike some other medications that assist in regulating mood, there is not a large chance of life-threatening complications from drinking while taking this medication. Safety issues can arise with this mixture, however, which is why the patient literature included with the medication recommends that patients do not drink at all while taking it.

Several reasons make the prospect of this combination hazardous, mainly pertaining to adverse effects that can occur rather unpredictably. Mixing amitriptyline and alcohol can increase the chances of experiencing negative side effects from the medication. Adverse side effects that have been seen in people taking this drug include nausea, stomach discomfort, and drowsiness. These same effects can often result from drinking alcohol, as well, and the combination of alcohol and amitriptyline makes these effects occur with a much greater frequency.

Other effects that result from alcohol consumption can become much more pronounced when amitriptyline and alcohol are taken together. Slowed reactions to outside stimuli, problems with judgment and higher-order thought, and poor motor control can all be the products of drinking excessive alcohol. These effects can become even more apparent when combining amitriptyline and alcohol. Due to the additive effect of these two drugs, these types of side effects can arise from drinking relatively small amounts of alcohol.

It is possible for people to operate heavy machinery and drive while taking this antidepressant after an individual knows how they respond to it and have grown used to the side effects. The unpredictability of side effects that can come about from drinking with this medication means that these activities might not be engaged in safely after even a single drink. Despite the fact that many laws allow a small blood alcohol content while driving, mixing amitriptyline and alcohol in any amount can still be dangerous. Even activities that do not involve machinery, but that require intense concentration, may not be completed properly after drinking and taking this medication.

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