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Is it Safe to Combine Bupropion and Alcohol?

Combining bupropion and alcohol can increase depression symptoms.
Mixing alcohol with medication is very harmful to the liver.
People taking bupropion or any other antidepressant should check with their doctor before consuming alcohol.
Most doctors recommend that patients taking bupropion drink lightly.
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  • Written By: Amanda Barnhart
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 15 December 2014
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Bupropion is an antidepressant that affects the same chemicals in the brain that alcohol does. Combining bupropion and alcohol can increase the effects of alcohol because the two substances create similar reactions in the brain. Since alcohol acts as a depressant, consuming it, particularly in large amounts, while taking bupropion can increase depression symptoms and affect both motor and judgment skills to a larger extent than if the patient had consumed the alcohol while not on the antidepressant.

Patients who wish to drink lightly or socially can sometimes combine bupropion and alcohol without suffering any adverse effects. People taking the antidepressant should check with their doctors before consuming any amount of alcohol, since other medications and previously diagnosed medical conditions could also affect the safety of the combination of bupropion and alcohol. Patients who suffer adverse affects when using bupropion and alcohol concurrently may be able to take another antidepressant for their symptoms that does not react in the brain the same way alcohol does.

In general, most doctors recommend patients on bupropion drink light to moderate amounts. Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. How much constitutes one drink depends on the type of alcohol. For example, one drink could be 12 ounces (about 355 ml) of beer, 5 ounces (about 148 ml) of wine, or 1 ounce (about 30 ml) of 100-proof liquor.

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It is important for patients who take this antidepressant to be aware of the potential for an interaction between bupropion and alcohol before drinking. Any alcoholic effects may be intensified, so consuming an amount of alcohol that does not normally result in impairment could significantly impair a person's motor or driving skills while taking bupropion. It is also important for patients on bupropion to disclose their drinking habits to their doctors prior to starting the medication. While drinking excessive amounts of alcohol when taking bupropion can cause problems, patients who consume regularly should not stop drinking suddenly while on the medication, as this can increase the risk of seizures.

Another risk of consuming alcohol while taking bupropion is an increased risk of alcohol addiction. Some patients find that they feel euphoric or have other intense feelings while drinking on bupropion. The desire to replicate these feelings, especially in patients who are dealing with depression, could lead to alcohol abuse and addiction.

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Discuss this Article

ysmina
Post 3

It might be relatively safe to combine bupropion and alcohol. I don't because I feel more depressed. I'm trying to fight depression, not make it worse.

ddljohn
Post 2

@SarahGen-- I think it's a bad idea to mix bupropion and alcohol, not only because of the possible side effects, but because it increases the risk of alcohol abuse.

I used to drink while on bupropion. I have no history of alcohol abuse but for some reason, bupropion increases my desire to drink. I was having only one drink at first, but noticed after a while that I couldn't control myself and started to drink more. This of course caused me to experience side effects that I normally wouldn't.

I'm not saying that everyone will have the same problem from bupropion and alcohol interaction. But I know that I am not the only one who has experienced this. It's not wise to mix these two substances.

SarahGen
Post 1

I was under the impression that it is generally not advised to drink alcohol while using antidepressants. However, my doctor said that I may drink moderately while on bupropion. I haven't done so as of yet because I'm scared of the possible side effects. But I will be attending a wedding next week and I'm considering having a drink during the reception.

Does anyone here take bupropion and drink moderately? Has this combination ever caused problems for you?

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