Mirtazapine is a prescription medication that is sometimes prescribed to patients suffering from depression. The medication is usually taken by mouth around bedtime. It is important for patients to discuss potential mirtazapine interactions with their doctors. Taking mirtazapine while consuming certain other medications or beverages can lead a patient to experience increased side effects or a decrease in the medicine's potency. Common mirtazapine interactions include — but are not limited to — alcohol, benzodiazepine medications and certain herbal remedies.
It is recommended by many doctors and pharmacists that people do not mix alcohol with this medication to avoid mirtazapine interactions. Mirtazapine causes side effects such as drowsiness, confusion and dizziness. Drinking alcohol while on this medication may amplify these side effects. If a patient wants to have an alcoholic beverage or two for a special occasion, then he or she should talk to his or her doctor, who can make a decision on whether it is safe for that patient's individual situation.
Potential mirtazapine interactions also can occur if a patient takes a benzodiazepine medication while also taking his or her dosage of mirtazapine. Many benzodiazepine-class medications have sedative effects, making them potentially dangerous to take with mirtazapine, which can on its own cause a person to be drowsy. Common medications that fall under the category of a benzodiazepine are diazepam, clonazepam and alprazolam. Many psychiatric patients take these drugs to reduce anxiety and panic attacks, and it is important for patients to alert any new doctor they visit to the fact that they are taking one of these drugs. That way, the doctor will know not to prescribe mirtazapine or a similar medication.
Some people may not realize that natural remedies such as herbs also can cause mirtazapine interactions. St. John's wort is a natural remedy made from plants that some people use in a bid to treat their depression symptoms. Teas and pills containing St. John's wort are available over the counter. A patient may believe that adding St. John's wort to his or her treatment plan will help to improve the symptoms of depression more quickly but, if the patient is already taking mirtazapine, then there can be potential combination complications.
St. John's wort has the potential to interfere with the way mirtazapine works, and the patient may no longer receive the full benefit of the medication. Patients also may experience increased drowsiness and nausea by mixing St. John's wort with their prescription antidepressant pills. A person should always check with his or her doctor before adding anything, even a natural substance, to his or her treatment plan.