Alcohol and Citalopram
Alcohol and citalopram act upon similar chemicals in the brain, which means depression symptoms may be increased when the two are taken together. When healthcare providers do allow alcohol consumption with citalopram, they usually recommend that patients drink light to moderate amounts -- and only after they understand how the antidepressant affects them.
Sometimes people are warned to avoid alcohol while taking citalopram hydrobromide (Celexa®). This is because alcohol and medicines like citalopram act upon similar chemicals in the brain. The concern is that citalopram will increase the effects of alcohol -- whether this means increasing symptoms of depression or affecting motor skills.
When many healthcare providers are asked whether it is okay to drink alcohol on citalopram, they recommend that if people choose to drink, they drink only light to moderate amounts. In addition, they recommend that patients wait to drink until after they understand the effects that citalopram (and other medicines they are taking) may have on their body.
When healthcare providers recommend moderate alcohol drinking, they mean one drink a day for women; two drinks a day for men. Because the alcohol content in drinks varies, what counts as one drink also varies. When healthcare providers talk about one alcohol drink, they are referring to one of the following examples:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1 ounce of 80-proof whiskey, or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.
If a person decides to drink alcohol in moderation while on citalopram, it is recommended that he or she does not drink alcohol at the same time as taking citalopram. Also, a person should learn the effects of citalopram on his or her body before starting to drink. Citalopram may affect some individuals' ability to perform certain functions, such as driving a car or operating machinery.