Alcohol and Paxil

Because alcohol and Paxil act upon similar chemicals in the brain, doctors sometimes recommend that people not combine the two. If patients choose to drink alcohol while taking Paxil, they are generally encouraged to drink only light to moderate amounts.

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Paxil?

Sometimes people are warned to avoid alcohol while taking Paxil® (paroxetine hydrochloride). This is because alcohol and medicines like Paxil act upon similar chemicals in the brain. So the concern is that Paxil will increase the effects of alcohol -- whether this is increasing symptoms of depression or affecting motor skills.
When healthcare providers are asked whether it is okay to drink alcohol while taking Paxil, they generally recommend that if people choose to drink, they drink only light to moderate amounts, and only after they understand the effects that Paxil and other medicines they are taking have on their body.

Alcohol and Paxil: What Is Moderate Drinking?

When healthcare providers recommend moderate alcohol drinking, they mean one 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
  • 1½ ounces of 80-proof whiskey, or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.

Using Caution With Alcohol and Paxil

If people do decide to drink alcohol in moderation while on Paxil, it is recommended that they do not drink alcohol at the same time that they take their Paxil. Also, a person should learn the effects of Paxil on his or her body before starting to drink. Paxil may affect an individual's ability to perform certain functions, such as driving a car or operating machinery.
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