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Re: psych meds and substance abuse (to saint james

Posted by Elizabeth on October 31, 1999, at 13:04:38

In reply to Re: psych meds and substance abuse (to saint james, posted by Carol on October 31, 1999, at 11:34:04

> James--I've had difficulty getting straight answers on this. inserts and Rx's just say, "Don't use alcohol", but never will say why. I mean, I don't want to get drunk every night, but if I take 400mgs. Wellbutrin/day, and then have 3 or 4 beers over the course of a long evening out, will I fry my brain or something? Anybody know the consequences?

A problem with the PDR (two sites that have many of the monographs online are and - don't know how up-to-date they are, though; sometimes the web site for the pharmaceutical company will include the monograph) is that the monographs are written by the drug companies. They tend to do a lot of CYAing. The seemingly universal "avoid alcohol" warnings are an example. (They never include anything on interactions with illegal drugs, even some really dangerous ones (e.g., MAOI + MDMA).)

That said, my general impression has been that moderate alcohol use is fine with most antidepressants. (Ask your doctor what counts as "moderation;" I've never been clear on this.) Some people find that alcohol makes them sick when they are on antidepressants. Others say that it takes less to get them drunk. My experience on Nardil was that the alcohol actually had less effect than it ordinarily would have. (Maybe because most of the effect alcohol has on me is sedation, while Nardil made me more alert.) With other antidepressants I've noticed little or no difference.

A particular concern with Wellbutrin might be that rebound effects from alcohol could lower the seizure threshhold, always something to watch out for with Wellbutrin.




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