Zoloft and alcohol
Zoloft, alcohol and food interactions
Certain foods and beverages such as alcohol can interact with medicines and make them less effective, cause dangerous side effects or other problems. This is true for Zoloft, as well. In fact, changes in the effects of Zoloft due to alcohol intake can be significant. However, other individual factors influence personal variations of effect such as:
- general health
As a rule, food increases absorption of Zoloft, so you should take Zoloft consistently (either always with food or always on empty stomach) to reduce variations in absorption. Additionally, grapefruit juice can increase the quantities of some medications such as Zoloft in your body, leading to adverse effects. So, avoid grapefruit juice when taking Zoloft.
Is it safe to take Zoloft and drink?
Experts can’t seem to agree on this question, and prefer to take it on a case-by-case basis. This is why most people will tell you to talk with your Zoloft prescribing doctor.
However, you should know that alcohol has not been found to significantly interact with Zoloft/setraline to affect mental or motor skills. Simply put, experiments have not proven that the Zoloft increases the mental and motor skill impairments caused by alcohol. Nonetheless, the use of ZOLOFT and alcohol at the same time is not advised. Why? Two main reasons:
1. Benefits decrease while adverse effects increase
The first reason to avoid drinking alcohol or while you are taking antidepressant medications like Zoloft is because the beneficial effects of the medication may be decreased and adverse effects may be increased (ex. sedation). so even though Zoloft has not clinically increased the likelihood of lowered cognitive and psychomotor skills, the risk is present. Avoid alcohol on Zoloft, and avoid unnecessary bad judgment or accidents.
2. Alcohol is not good for depression
Which leads us to the main reason that physicians and pharmacists advise that people who are on Zoloft avoid alcohol. The logic is that people who are depressed should not drink alcohol. Rather straightforward, alcohol can increase symptoms of depression. And if you are taking Zoloft for depression, you may be cancelling out the positive effects of the anti-depressant by drinking. This is also why experts suggest that you avoid kava kava or valerian while taking Zoloft.
Zoloft and Antabuse
As an aside here, Zoloft (setraline) comes in oral concentrate form , and has as an inactive ingredient 12% alcohol content. Therefore, Zoloft oral concentrate is contraindicated with Antabuse (disulfiram) due to the alcohol content of the concentrate.
Questions about Zoloft
In summary, ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking sertraline. Do you have a question about taking or using Zoloft? Please leave your questions here and we’ll do our best to field them. Or, if you are taking Zoloft and want to comment on the experience of drinking alcohol on Zoloft, please let us know. We welcome all comments.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the ideas presented here should not replace the advice from your doctor or pharmacist. If you have any questions or concerns about possible drug interactions between Zoloft and alcohol, consult a medical professional.
Sertraline American Society of Health-System Pharmacists encyclopedia entry on sertraline
Department of Health and Human Services, State of Maine Drug Guide
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