Alcohol and Duloxetine | Do They Mix?

Medically Reviewed

Duloxetine, otherwise known as Cymbalta, is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) used to treat depression. Drugs like duloxetine boost the action of brain messenger chemicals known by norepinephrine and serotonin. While the medication is synonymous with depression, it can also be used to treat the following disorders:

Duloxetine is considered a potent medication, and it may have severe effects on your body, especially if it is mixed with other substances like alcohol. On their own, duloxetine and alcohol may cause liver damage or worsen symptoms of depression. When these two drugs are combined, it can make things much worse.

Liver Damage

Our liver is tasked with breaking down substances that we consume and help remove leftover waste and toxins. Alcohol and liver damage are common, especially if you drink too much. If you consume too much alcohol over a prolonged period, your liver will likely become damaged. This occurs because alcohol produces many toxins when it breaks down, and your liver will become overworked from removing these toxins all the time.

Duloxetine, however, may also cause liver damage. If you consume alcohol while using the medication, your chances of liver damage increase significantly. If you drink heavily, which is defined as three or more alcoholic drinks per day, these chances increase even more.

If you are currently prescribed the medication, you must speak with your doctor to see if you can have an occasional drink while using duloxetine. If your doctor allows you to do so, you must discuss how much is a safe amount while taking the drug.

If You’re Concerned About Potential Liver Damage, Look for These Signs, Which Include:

  • Jaundice, or icterus, which is when your skin turns yellow
  • Dark urine
  • Itching
  • Pain in your upper right abdomen

Increased Depression

As we mentioned above, duloxetine is used to treat depression and the symptoms that come along with the condition. Unfortunately, the drug may also cause depression or anxiety symptoms to worsen. Speak with your doctor immediately if you notice an increase in these symptoms:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained mood swings

Alcohol works by interrupting communication pathways in our brain that may affect how it works. This may cause mood swings and changes in behavior, which can make your symptoms worse. It may also make your anxiety worse. Alcohol affects the quality of sleep, which may also contribute to worsening depression.

benefits of not drinking alcohol

Long-term alcohol usage while using antidepressants like duloxetine may cause the medication to be less effective. As a result, your treatment may be compromised. If you consume alcohol and experience any of these effects we’ve mentioned, you must talk with your doctor immediately. Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption and duloxetine must be avoided.

Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and family history to determine if you can consume small amounts of alcohol. These question may go as follows:

  • Do you or any of your family members have a history of liver disease?
  • Are you going to take duloxetine for depression?
  • Is there a history of alcohol misuse or addiction in your family?

Listen closely to your doctor’s suggestion. Following their instructions is vital to your success with duloxetine treatment.

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