Psychiatrist Questions Medicines

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Zoloft?

I don't normally drink, but I am going away soon and am wondering if I can drink alcohol while taking Zoloft. I've been on it for 6 months.

25 Answers

It is be better not to mix Zoloft and alcohol because alcohol is causing depression.
Even though it's a real bad combination if you drink alcohol while on psychotropic medications, stopping medication for the purpose of drinking is worse as it becomes a double edge sword knowing that alcohol is a depression-causing substance. Anyone having mental health problems whether they take medication or not should essentially stay away from alcohol completely.
I am frequently asked this question, not just about Zoloft, but with many other psychiatric medications. My standard response is designed to help my patients make an informed decision: alcohol is likewise a drug, and it acts by stimulating the brain's main inhibitory mechanisms, thus slowing down brain activity generally. When paired up with Zoloft, which functions by increasing brain activity along certain channels (serotonin, if you've done your research), the result is likely to be neutralization of antidepressant activity while the alcohol is in your system. Thus, I do not encourage drinking while taking antidepressants. I am aware, however, that many people enjoy alcohol in moderation and that a number of patients (mine and others) have consumed alcohol while taking prescription drugs with no apparent untoward effects. The ultimate decision to drink, then, rests with you--the patient.
No one is going to say it is absolutely safe to mix alcohol with psychiatric medications of any kind. But Zoloft does not affect the same brain systems that alcohol and some other medications do. So it is likely not absolutely forbidden, at least for some people. That being said, it is the ideal for you to speak directly with your doctor and see what that person's perspective is on the question. He or she may not wish to prescribe a particular medication when a patient is using alcohol, so please do ask your provider directly about this.
There is no particular interaction between Zoloft and alcohol, unless the Zoloft makes you feel sedated.  Then any sedation from alcohol might be accentuated since you are already sedated from Zoloft.  Don't forget that the maximum recommended drink limit for women is 2 drinks per day.  A drink is defined as 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1 oz of hard liquor.  And, of course, better on a full stomach than on an empty one.
The two big no-no's to avoid combining with alcohol are opioid substances (such as Vicodin, Percocet, codeine, morphine, OxyContin, fentanyl, heroin, methadone, Suboxone, etc.) and/or benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medications.  The latter include lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin) and temazepam (Restoril.)  Both benzos and opioids can have a lethal interaction with alcohol and with each other by shutting down the breathing center in the brain. 
Jennifer Nagode, M.D., Ph.D. 
Alcohol effects your liver and is a depressant drug You need a good liver for Zoloft to be metabolized and both alcohol and Zoloft are working against each other and the good effects of Zoloft may be getting cancelled by alchohol
There are probably warning about this in the in the zoloft literature. In actual practice I think that a reasonable amount of alcohol (up to 2- 3 drinks) is permissible with Zoloft. Other medications may interact differently.
Hi, this is a great question and thank you for asking. It's not recommended to drink alcohol (depressant) with an anti-depressant of any kind. This is due to the competing effects of the substances. Also some people experience sedation with Zoloft and the concurrent use of another substance such as alcohol that can also cause sedation would increase the risk of sleepiness. Also, meds such as Zoloft are psychoactive meaning that some people can have nightmares or other cognitive changes. Alcohol can, unfortunately, cause similar reactions. In short, I wouldn't recommend the combination as it's potentially unsafe. If you have any other questions please let me know. Thank you, Tanya.
It's never safe to take any drug with alcohol. Best would be to stick with social drinking rather than everyday . You should also consult the doctor who prescribed it
one drink feels like two. two feels like seven often enough. some increase
risk of stomach bleeding
For my patients, I generally recommend not drinking alcohol during the initial phase of treatment, but after they are fully well, occasional alcohol is generally fine, as long as it is not regularly consumed. I strongly recommend you discuss this with your treating physician.
Both alcohol and Zoloft are sedatives so combining them risks respiratory depression
No, it's not safe to consume alcohol while you are on these medications.
It is not advised to drink alcohol with Zoloft. The combination can accentuate the effects of alcohol, causing great impairment with only a little alcohol consumption.
Yes, while all psychotropics caution against imbibing alcohol while taking them, and there is a theoretical danger of combining CNS depressants, many medications can be taken without precluding consumption of alcohol in moderation. The real danger arises primarily from mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines and opiates, then from mixing alcohol with anticonvulsants and hypnotics ("downers").
It is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking Zoloft (sertraline). You may have additive sedating effects from the medication with alcohol. This means the effects of alcohol are heightened, and the side effects will be heightened as well. An occasional drink is not likely to cause significant harm, but you would need to be aware that drinking may be much more potent and much more likely to lead to intoxication, impairment, and even overdose.
Greetings! I typically advise patients to not drink alcohol when taking antidepressants. Alcohol is a depressant and may counteract the effects of the medication / antidepressant (Zoloft).
No, it is not safe to drink with drugs called psychotropic medications and Zoloft is one of them.

It is recommended to avoid alcohol use with psychotropic medications due to alcohol being a CNS depressant and drug-alcohol interactions. Each individual must weigh risks versus benefits of combining alcohol with medications. It is recommended that Zoloft not be abruptly discontinued due to serotonin withdrawal syndrome. Please consult with the medical provider who is prescribing you Zoloft for additional questions related to alcohol use while taking medications.

Thank you for your question.

Kind regards,
Ruchira Densert, MD
It is not good to mix alcohol while taking any antidepressants.
Please don't drink with zoloft, as it ruins the whole purpose of medication. I see older folks all the time with long-term issues with alcohol.
It is generally considered unwise and dangerous to do so. Zoloft or Sertraline is a potent drug with a potential for serious side effects affecting consciousness, balance, nausea etc., all of which are made worse by alcohol.
Sorry, I just retired and can't advise as a physician. When I was practicing, I had no qualms if a patient of mine took a Zoloft in AM and consumed a moderate amount of alcohol with dinner in the evening.     
Since I am not your physician, this is not a professional opinion. There is no doctor patient relationship. It is safest for everyone to avoid alcohol, as the benefits rarely outweigh the dangers. All that said, small amounts of alcohol - one or two mixed drinks or beers in an evening - should not cause any immediate problems with Zoloft. Further clarity should come from the person who prescribed the drug.
Drinking a glass of wine while taking an SSRI like sertraline (Zoloft) is relatively safe, however your blood alcohol level will increase faster than if you were not taking the medication. You may feel as if you drank two glasses of wine after drinking only one, and you may become drunk faster than usual. Be careful and drink slowly to understand how your body responds to alcohol while on an SSRI like sertraline.