Side effects of Prozac and alcohol

Written by lex hubbard
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Side effects of Prozac and alcohol
Avoid drinking too much while you're taking Prozac. (james steidl/iStock/Getty Images)

Prozac (fluoxetine in generic form) is an anti-depressant intended to help sufferers of depression. It comes with many side effects, but most are mild or easily treated. However when combined with alcohol, the side effects can be severely increased. Therefore it is recommended that people who take Prozac only consume light to moderate amounts of alcohol.

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Almost all doctors recommend not combining alcohol with anti-depressants like Prozac. This is because Prozac is metabolised in the liver and can compete with the metabolisation of alcohol, and Prozac can stay in your system for weeks. At the very least someone taking Prozac should cut their consumption of alcohol to moderate amounts.

Moderate drinking

Moderate drinking is described as no more than one drink a day. A drink is defined as 350 ml (12 fl oz) of beer, 140 g (5 fl oz) of wine or 28 g (1 fl oz) of spirits. More than moderate drinking while taking Prozac can lead to serious side effects.

Alcohol effects

Prozac can cause the effects of alcohol to be more severe. If a person is already depressed, the combination of alcohol and Prozac can worsen depression, which is the opposite of the desired effect of the drug. The side effects of Prozac may make it difficult to operate machinery or drive a car, which could be worse when combined with alcohol.


Sleepiness is a potential side effect of Prozac that can become much worse when combined with alcohol. A person should not perform any activity where they are required to be particularly awake and alert while under the influence of alcohol and Prozac.


Some depressed people may self-medicate their depression with alcohol, but alcohol itself is a depressant and therefore Prozac is a more effective treatment.

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