Lexapro and the beer podcaster.
May 2, 2017 2:50 PM   Subscribe

So, I started Lexapro today (half a 10 mg pill) but I do kinda have a career built on beer sampling, podcasting, and reviewing.

I'm finally doing something about brain chemistry after 25 years of pretending that I didn't need to do anything about my brain chemistry. I'm being started on a half pill for the week, then a full pill for the following week, with a check-in with my GP on the 15th.

I have talked to my GP and she says moderate drinking is okay, but it might amplify the drug's effects. I am not asking permission to drink a case of beer, but I am asking if I'm looking at two drinks or one here, and if I must say goodbye to attending my beloved beer festivals.

Has anyone had experience being on Lexapro but having problems with its interactions with alcohol?

I am asking for personal experience only. Aside from anxiety and depression, I am also something of a hypochondriac so my GP has told me that "Dr Google is not your friend." (And for my brain, it really really isn't. So I'm not going to Google this.)

Also, if this drug did not work for you, that's totally cool. I do not know if it will work for me yet. But right now, I am just concerned with this particular SSRI. If it doesn't, and I go on a new one, I will talk about that one then.
posted by Kitteh to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have been on both Lexapro and its cousin Celexa for over a decade and have never noticed any issues with drinking alcohol. I drink a moderate to high amount (yeah, I know, which increases risk of depression and anxiety but here we are) so I don't know if that would make it more or less obvious to me if there was some interaction. I take about 10mg a day which is considered a low dose so maybe that's why it hasn't been an issue. In any case, if your GP is okay with it then you're probably okay.
posted by joan_holloway at 2:57 PM on May 2, 2017

I did not moderate my drinking in any way during the years I took lexapro. If anything I drank more.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 2:59 PM on May 2, 2017

I drank alcohol on Lexapro and Zoloft and Wellbutrin. I was told by my doctor a drink or two was OK, googled it and found Tales of Death and Woe, felt terrified until I asked a friend who was like "lol no I drink all the time on Wellbutrin and the only difference is it's much cheaper to get drunk," so I said damn the torpedos and did it anyway. And I wouldn't recommend doing it all the time in large amounts for the usual liver and not-knowing-your-limits reasons, but for the most part it's fine. (I noticed no difference in my getting-drunk rate on either Zoloft or Lexapro, just Wellbutrin.)
posted by stoneandstar at 2:59 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have been drinking while on Lexapro for a while. The only effect I have noticed is that I can no longer get "pleasantly schnockered" because I now get a hangover even when I after only been slightly drunk. Also, you will get slightly drunk more quickly than before.

A couple of beers with dinner is not a problem at all.
posted by bright colored sock puppet at 3:12 PM on May 2, 2017

I've been on lexapro for 8+ years. I am noticeably tipsy after 1 drink, whereas before, I could drink 2 or more and be fine.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 3:12 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have been on Cipralex/ Lexapro for 10 years. I often drink half a juice glass of beer at dinner and once a week or so have a couple of drinks out. I still have never even closely returned to having suicidal thoughts and I sleep okay. I hardly drank at all for about four years due to pregnancies and breastfeeding but noticed no difference between drinking moderately or not at all on the med.
posted by biggreenplant at 4:34 PM on May 2, 2017

I felt like a zombie when I started Lexapro and did stop drinking for a couple of weeks until I adjusted to it. YMMV
posted by biggreenplant at 4:36 PM on May 2, 2017

I should also say that whether or not I'm on antidepressants, drinking does definitely have a noticably depressive effect on me for a day or two afterward. YMMV.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:43 PM on May 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have been on various different SSRIs, including Lexapro, and I didn't moderate my drinking long term on any of them. As others have said, I maybe get drunk a bit more quickly and my hangovers may be a little worse, but not dramatically so. I tend to have a bit of a rough time with side effects and feeling less than great during the first month or so of taking a new SSRI, and also I want to be able to tell whether they're working or not, so I tend to limit my alcohol intake during this time (alcohol is a depressant after all). However, when I start to feel a bit better then I just happily return to my semi-regular boozy evenings and all is well!
posted by amerrydance at 4:46 PM on May 2, 2017

Antidepressant side effects are pretty variable from person to person, so you'll probably have to find this one out for yourself.

That said, I have been on the similar drug Celexa for a year and a half and had zero discernable change to alcohol tolerance, effects, or hangovers. I still drink in moderation a couple times a week, which my doctor had no problem with. I would suggest avoiding the booze while you are just starting on the meds-- I felt high as shit for a couple days after every dose increase.
posted by noxperpetua at 4:55 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

My husband's been on Lexapro for years and has not had any issues with moderate drinking.
posted by jrobin276 at 5:17 PM on May 2, 2017

I've been on 15-20 mg of Lexapro for years now and haven't ever noticed a significant change related to drinking.
posted by augustimagination at 5:28 PM on May 2, 2017

Loved Lexapro, no problems with alcohol at 5-10mg. Never needed more. Good for you! I hope you find as much benefit as I did.
posted by superfish at 6:23 PM on May 2, 2017

I didn't get warned about alcohol at all, and while I'm a fairly light social only drinker, I've had a couple of good parties of moderate drinking and a pleasant holiday with a beer at dinner and seen no change in the effect or the day after. Same dosage as you.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:27 PM on May 2, 2017

Celexa has had no measurable impact on my reaction to alcohol. (Other SSRIs did, FWIW.)

That said, the first month or so is not representative - you may be dealing with other side effects that may go away once you reach a good dose for you. So you might want to consider skipping the festivals for a month or two, if you can do that without career repercussions, to give you a clear shot at seeing exactly how you're going to respond to the med with minimal confounding drinking.
posted by Stacey at 7:08 PM on May 2, 2017

I've been taking 20-30 mg of Lexapro daily for about 6 months.

It has made no difference to the effect alcohol has on me, at all. I haven't noticed that I get drunk more quickly, or more hungover.

For reference, I regularly drink 3 or 4 glasses of wine after work, more on the weekend. (Not ideal, I know, but there you have it.)
posted by Salamander at 8:37 PM on May 2, 2017

Lexapro 10/20 mg also made me feel drunker faster in 2003, but had no other unwelcome effects with alcohol that I can recall. Two caveats: I've never been a beer guy, and I cut wayyyyyy back on the drinking in 2005 for unrelated reasons and never really started again.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:32 AM on May 3, 2017

When I started Lexapro, my doctor warned me that alcohol could hit me a little faster, but I didn't really notice it. I'm a lightweight and a very moderate drinker anyway, so I always felt a little tipsy after a drink. Any moderating I've done with my drinking since I've started taking it has been due to nasty hangovers that I believe are more due getting old than to my SSRIs.
posted by marshmallow peep at 6:35 AM on May 3, 2017

Another person who's been on lexapro for years and is a moderate drinker (also craft beer! sometimes with crazy high ABVs!) with no issues.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:21 AM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Popping into say thanks to everyone for responding and their candor. My beer intake is not at all what it was when I was in my 20s (what up, being 40??), so basically, it's at beer festivals where overindulging can happen or three pints in one go when out with friends. I'm training to run 10K so I'm cutting back because of calories, but I just needed an idea of what to expect with SSRI plus beer.

This is why this community is rad. Thanks, guys.
posted by Kitteh at 8:24 AM on May 3, 2017

Yeah, you may find that two pints now puts you where three used to (I did), but I wouldn't expect anything more dramatic.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:56 AM on May 3, 2017

5mg/day, no issues with alcohol.
posted by Miko at 10:28 AM on May 3, 2017

First off, congrats for deciding to go on the drug. It was a life-changer for me. I can remember the day the clouds parted so clearly. I hope it helps you.

When I first started Lexapro, my doctor warned me alcohol could be much more potent, so I took it very carefully. But as others have said here, I quickly adjusted (I honestly don't know if I even experienced any side effects early on). I'm only an occasional drinker, but when I do, I like to get my party on, and I have no problems whatsoever.

Obviously your situation could vary, so definitely take it easy at first. But I'm guessing you'll find you adapt without an issue and beer fests will be in your future. :) Good luck!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:57 PM on May 3, 2017

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