Sertraline is a prescription-only antidepressant, and if you combine it with alcohol side effects of both these substances may get worse; also in some instances it can lead you very quickly to feel badly intoxicated.
It is known that both alcohol and Sertraline exert their certain effects on the brain, and when the two are used in combination it can lead to serious problems. It is proven and well known that alcohol itself can worsen the symptoms of an underlying mental condition, including anxiety and depression. This is also the reason why you should avoid alcohol concomitantly with Sertraline.
You can of course drink alcohol during a period of treatment with Sertraline, but it could make you increasingly sleepy and unsteady. Drinking alcohol frequently and every day, or drinking it in a large amount, can always make your symptoms more severe and the prescribed medicine Sertraline will not get the best chance to exert it beneficial effects on your mental health.
You should be aware that alcohol craving during the treatment with Sertraline can make you unsteady on your feet and make you feel very sleepy. So precaution is indeed needed while using both Sertraline and alcohol in order to secure your safety while performing difficult tasks.
What is Sertraline and when it should be used?
Sertraline is one of the drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Most commonly this medicinal product is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and panic disorder. Sertraline works via changing the balance of a specific chemical substance, which is normally present in the brain (e.g., increases the level of a neurotransmitter called serotonin). It is established that increasing the levels of serotonin can help us to improve mood, to reduce panic attacks, and eventually to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. As sertraline is used not only to treat the abovementioned disorders, your physician may prescribe this medicinal product also for other indications than these three listed above.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
SSRIs prevent the destruction of such mediators as serotonin and noripinephrine which affect our mood. SSRIs examples are phenyuzine, tranylcypromine and isocarboxazide.
Side effects when taking Sertraline with 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.
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:
- decreased sexual desire or ability, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, sleep disturbance, tremor (shakiness)
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 sertraline:
- Change of you vision ability, including eye pain or blurred vision;
- Abnormal prickling sensation or burning sensation (usually found in arms, or hands, feet or legs, actually these sensations may occur in any region of the body);
- When you notice the inability to sit still;
- When you notice unusual or sudden movements or postures of the body or of the face;
- When you notice a fast talking and excited feelings or actions that are out of control;
- Also in cases of any liver problems that are manifested by yellowing of the eyes or skin, sometime by abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, and dark urine;
- Also when you suspect a low blood sugar that is usually manifested by weakness, sweating, hunger, numbness/tingling in arms/legs, anxiety;
- When you notice any signs of clotting problems, manifesting by e.g., unusual frequent of profuse nosebleeds, any blood in urine, bleeding gums, bruising, also coughing blood, cuts that don't stop bleeding);
- Also when you suspect a low blood sodium that is commonly but not always manifested by e.g., weakness, tiredness, and confusion state in combination with stiff, achy, or uncoordinated muscles;
- If you notice some signs of symptoms of paranoia, usually presenting as suspicions of people, organizations, or situations, that has no basis in actual reality;
- If you notice red or purple spots throughout the skin of you body;
- In any signs of restlessness;
- Also you should be aware of serotonin syndrome, that is a complex of signs and symptoms commonly including the following: diarrhea, increased sweating, increased body temperature, changes of your mood or behavior, emergence of overactive reflexes, restlessness, racing heartbeat, shaking or shivering);
You should immediately stop taking the medicinal product and seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following listed below:
- If you experience seizure;
- In case of any signs of an allergic reaction, that usually include hives, conditions accompanying with difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, swelling of tongue and/or throat);
- Also if you notice of suspect any signs of bleeding in your stomach, that are usually manifest by e.g., black, bloody, or tarry stools, or by spitting up of blood; also bleeding in your stomach may manifest by vomiting with the blood or materials that resemble or looks like coffee grounds.
After withdrawal of sertraline (after you stop taking sertraline), your body may need time to adjust to new condition without the medication. The length of time required for adaptation depends usually on the amount of medication you have used during the treatment, and on the duration of the treatment with this medication. During this period of time - body adjustment time, always contact your doctor if you notice any of listed below side effects:
- When you see abnormal unusual dreams;
- When you experience agitation;
- When you feel anxiety;
- If you feel nausea, shaking or trembling;
- In case of emergence of sensations similar to electric shocks;
- If you have dizziness of notice difficulty concentrating;
- If start to suffer headaches;
- If you notice an increased sweating;
In case your doctor prescribed you sertraline to treat depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, then the recommended doses of sertraline usually range from 50 mg to 200 mg. This medicinal product is to be taken once daily. It should be taken with food. In case your doctor prescribed you sertraline to treat your panic disorder, the recommended doses range lye within 25 mg to 200 mg. It is also to be taken once daily. Your physician may start the treatment using a lower dose and then gradually increase your dose to the level that is appropriate exactly for you.
Sertraline and weight gain
You probably have heard that treatment with Sertraline may be associated with Weight Gain. Indeed weight gain is one the possible side effect of this medicinal product (it is also a side effect of almost all other Selective Serotonin and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors), nevertheless it is not very common. Weight gain as a side effect of Sertraline usually may occur in about 1% of people who take this medicinal product. But it is now actually known whether weight gain is caused definitely by the medicine itself, as it may be the consequence of another medical condition, also by change in eating behavior and/or by change in physical activity, or even whether by a combination of these listed factors, or some other reasons. So if you notice a weight gain, it is advised to try to get back to your usual physical activity and eating habits, and also to talk to your physician about these concerns. Consequently you doctor probably will try to find a medication regimen that does not cause weight gain or to give you an advice to change a life-style.