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Alcohol and Citalopram

Citalopram and alcohol act upon similar chemicals in the brain, which means depression symptoms may be increased when the two are mixed together. If you decide to drink while taking this drug, it is recommended that you consume light to moderate amounts -- and only after you understand how the antidepressant affects you.

Is It Safe to Mix Citalopram With Alcohol?

Sometimes, people are warned to avoid alcohol while taking citalopram hydrobromide (Celexa®). This is because these two products 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 healthcare providers are asked whether it is okay to drink alcohol on citalopram, many recommend that if people choose to drink, they do so in only light to moderate amounts. In addition, they recommend that people wait to drink until after they understand the effects that citalopram (and any other medicines they are taking) may have on their body.

What Is Moderate Drinking?

Moderate drinking typically refers to one alcoholic 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.

Using Caution When Drinking Alcohol on Citalopram

If you do decide to combine citalopram and alcohol, you should not do so at the same time. Also, as mentioned, learn how this medicine affects your body before starting to drink. It could affect your ability to perform certain functions, such as driving a car or operating machinery.
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