Antidepressants and Alcohol

Antidepressants' Interactions and Side Effects

What do we know about using Citalopram and alcohol cravings?

Citalopram is effective for the treatment of depression, but like with all other medicines there is also some warnings and precautions. And there are risks when the medicinal product is used with alcohol. Actually there is a warning against concomitant use of Citalopram with alcohol.

citalopram

We know that Citalopram does not enhance the effects of alcohol; Nevertheless, person taking Citalopram should not drink alcohol. Combining the alcohol with this medicinal product can lead to drug overdose and some other problems.

Thus, we must confess that there are serious risks of overdose when mixing Citalopram with alcohol; and these effects can even happen when taking Citalopram at a prescribed dosage regimen. The symptoms of overdose usually include nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and increased sweating.

There may also be a tremor in one of the limbs or a racing heart rate. In case of any of these symptoms, you must call a local emergency service right away.

Other Side effects of combining alcohol with Citalopram can also include irregular heart rate, amnesia, coma (loss of consciousness), convulsions, hyperventilation, severe heart issues, and even death. Also side effects of other medicinal products can also be more severe and serious if you drink alcohol and take Citalopram at the same time.

So, we advise you to avoid drinking alcohol while using Citalopram in order to prevent dangerous complications, especially if you have a history of heart disorders. If you are planning to have a drink, in any case don't stop suddenly taking Citalopram to do so. For the proper medication effect, you have to take it on a prescribed schedule. Your depression may get worse if you stop taking Citalopram abruptly.

Also, if you skip one dose on one day, it does not mean that the drug is already washed out of your body on that day. Citalopram accumulates in your body over time to exert its treatment effect. So, even if you skip your Citalopram for one day, there is still the possibility of side effects while drinking alcohol.

What is Citalopram and what it is used for?

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

ssri

SSRIs prevent the destruction of such mediators as serotonin and noripinephrine which affect our mood. SSRIs examples are phenyuzine, tranylcypromine and isocarboxazide.

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Citalopram is one of the drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This medicinal product is used for the treatment of depression. All this group of medicines (SSRIs) increases the level of a specific substance - serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in several areas of the brain, and improves the ability of the brain to transfer messages between nerve cells, thus ultimately leading to improvement of depression.

Usually the full effect of the drug is reached only after several weeks, but you may feel an improvement already after a few weeks of treatment.

Citalopram has also some off-label indications and is also used for treating of such conditions as alcoholism, obsessive compulsive disorder, binge-eating disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, hot flashes.

Pharmaceutical forms of Citalopram

Citalopram is available in tablet form, with doses of 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg. Also it comes as a liquid solution for oral intake.

How Citalopram should be used

You are likely to be prescribed initially a 20 mg dose of Сitalopram. Thereafter dependent on individual response this dose may be gradually increased by your doctor to a maximum of 40 mg daily. This also depends on whether you experience side effects.

You should take the medication regularly, even if you don't feel better or even you think the medication is not working.

The medication is to be taken once daily, either in the morning or in the evening. But it should be taken at the same time of the day, every day. Usually the tablet should be swallowed whole unchewed with water: it could be taken with or without food (on an empty stomach).

The required dose of a medication depends on many things, such as other medical conditions, body weight, and other medications.

In some cases your physician can recommended a dose different from the doses indicated here or in prescribing information, in such a situation you should not change the way you are using the medication without consulting your physician.

If you stop taking Citalopram suddenly, that kind of withdrawal can cause some withdrawal effects and symptoms including anxiety, difficulty concentrating, irritability or poor mood, dizziness , tiredness, vivid, tingling sensations, agitation, nausea, and vomiting.

In cases where it is required for you to stop treatment with citalopram, you should always consult your doctor in order to receive an advise what is the best way to gradually reduce the dose and to avoid abovementioned withdrawal effects.

The medicinal product is to be taken exactly as prescribed by a physician.

If you notice that you have missed your dose, skip this missed dose and continue with your previous regular dosing schedule. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Keep this medicinal product out of the reach of children!

What are the contraindications for Citalopram?

This medicine is contraindicated in case if there is an allergy to Citalopram or to any of the product ingredients; it is contraindicated if you receive treatment with antipsychotic medication Pimozide; if recently (within past 2 weeks) you have taken a monoaminooxidase inhibitors (medications also known as an MAO inhibitors, e.g., Tranylcypromine, Phenelzine or Moclobemide). And also it is to be noted that you shouldn't start MAO inhibitor for at least 2 weeks after accomplishment of treatment with Citalopram; Citalopram is contraindicated for patients with heart rhythm disturbance called a "long QT syndrome".

What side effects are associated with citalopram when taking alcohol?

It is known that side effect is an adverse reaction to a medicinal product, occurring during or sometime after the medicinal product is taken in recommended doses and with recommended time intervals.

In any case when you experience any of the side effects listed below, and these effects become severe or bothersome, and especially when you experience effects not listed below, you should contact your doctor.

According to Сitalopram reviews commonly reported side effects of Сitalopram include: nausea, drowsiness, ejaculatory disorder, diaphoresis, and insomnia.

In some circumstances your pharmacist can give you some valuable advices on managing side effects commonly emerging when using your medicinal product, including the following: loose stools, diarrhea, dry mouth, drowsiness, increased sweating, nausea, sexual difficulties, shakiness, sleepiness, fatigue, stuffy or runny nose.

You should check with your treating physician as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur during a period of use or sometime after you use Сitalopram.

These side effects include confusion state, feeling restless or unable to sit still, any mood or mental changes, overactive thoughts and behavior. Also you should be aware of signs of liver problems (e.g., nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, pale stools, dark urine), signs of clotting problems (that is manifested by e.g., unusual nosebleeds, blood in urine, coughing blood, bruising, bleeding gums, cuts that don't stop bleeding). You should be alert regarding slow or irregular heartbeat (less than 50 beats per minute), symptoms of glaucoma (e.g., seeing bright colours around lights, blurred vision, red eyes, eye pain or discomfort, increased pressure in your eyes), symptoms of low sodium in the blood (e.g., weakness; tiredness; confusion; or achy, stiff, or uncoordinated muscles), and symptoms of changed heart rhythm (e.g., dizziness, pounding heartbeat, seizures, fainting)

You should immediately stop taking the medicinal product and seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following listed below.

These effects include seizure or convulsions.

Also this should be the case a serotonin syndrome occur (you can recognize this syndrome by signs including confusion, agitation, fever, diarrhea, poor coordination, overactive reflexes, restlessness, sweating, shivering, talking or acting with excitement you cannot control, twitching, trembling or shaking).

You should be alert against signs of stomach bleeding (this state is usually manifested by black, bloody, or tarry stools, spitting up with blood, vomiting with blood or with material that usually looks like coffee grounds).

Signs of a severe skin reaction also always require to stop medication. These signs include peeling, blistering, a rash affecting a huge area of the body, a quickly spreading rash, or a rash that is associated with fever or discomfort, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself.

Citalopram also may exert side-effects that in any way might affect your sexual life.

It is to be noted, that the positive Citalopram effects may, after some time, exert a positive effect on your sexual life. This is because your mood becomes lifted and you become again more interested in surrounding life and relationships.

But unfortunately, there may be some negative side effects on your sexual life. Here are some of them.

For example in men there is a possibility for painful erections, or vice versa - possibility of problems with getting hard (reaching the satisfactory level of erection) and also problems of coming (ejaculating).

In women there is a possibility of some bleeding from vagina, possibility of not reaching the orgasm (might not come) in the same way as before.

Also a patient may have a lower sex drive.

For example if you gain or lose your weight, or experience other physical side-effects, you may not feel as sexy as before.

The good news is that these effects should pass after the some couples of weeks. If it is not happened and this becomes a problem for you, you should go back to the physician and consult regarding what else you could try or do.

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed here. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Citalopram can affect your bodyweight

When you first start taking Citalopram it can cause you to lose your weight. And there is a trend to lose more body weight in a person who was heavier at the beginning of the treatment. Some people report that after a long-term treatment they even gain a little weight, which can be due to a return of a normal appetite. So, actually, it is very difficult to predict how Citalopram will affect a certain person who uses this medicinal product; nevertheless, if you start to have problems with your bodyweight during the treatment period with citalopram you have to talk to your physician or your pharmacist about this problem. And don't forget that depression as a medical condition itself can also affect your bodyweight.