What Happens When Someone Drinks Alcohol While Taking Wellbutrin

A growing number of people are wondering what the effects of mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol.

Wellbutrin is a commonly prescribed anti-depressant that is normally taken once daily to combat depressive symptoms of various mood disorders. As is true with many drugs, alcohol is contraindicated when taking Wellbutrin. Despite this, many people who are taking the drug Wellbutrin seek to drink alcohol for recreational purposes. Thus, it is common for people who are prescribed the drug to ask whether taking alcohol with Wellbutrin is actually dangerous.

The Simple Answer To Mixing Alcohol and Wellbutrin

While doctors may act with an abundance of caution in many medical situations, this is not one of those situations. Stated in the simplest terms possible: Mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol is incredibly dangerous.

There are a number of factors that combine to make this combination of drug and alcohol dangerous. Due to this, the exact consequences will differ for every single person. However, because the worst consequences can result in death, and there is no way in advance to determine the consequences for any individual, all people should avoid drinking while taking Wellbutrin.

The Medical Explanation to Drinking on Wellbutrin

The primary reason that Wellbutrin and alcohol are dangerous to mix is because both are CNS-active compounds. Because both compounds act on the central nervous system, they can each potentiate the effects of the other. In layman’s terms, this means that Wellbutrin makes the effects of alcohol more potent and vice versa.

The effects of alcohol are further increased by the fact that Wellbutrin also reduces alcohol tolerance. Thus, an individual drinking alcohol while taking Wellbutrin will suffer from the effects of alcohol after consuming less alcohol than normal and those effects will be stronger than normal.

The Psychological Problem With Drinking Alcohol and Wellbutrin

In addition to heightening side effects, mixing Wellbutrin and alcohol results in another problem. Wellbutrin is an anti-depressant. Alcohol is a depressant. When both compounds are in the system, they basically cancel each other out. As a result, people who mix these are likely to suddenly experience an episode of depression. In the worst-case scenario this can lead to serious self-harm.

Effects of Mixing Wellbutrin and Alcohol

Amoxicillin And Alcohol Don't MixOne of the most serious side effects of Wellbutrin is seizures. Doctors who prescribe this drug are usually very careful with dosage in order to minimize the danger of this side effect and definitely don’t prescribe it to people who are already at danger for seizures. When alcohol is added to the mix, that side effect, like all the others, is strengthened. This is particularly dangerous because most people taking this drug are not familiar with how to deal with seizures, which means that a sudden seizure can result in serious injury due to lack of familiarity.

Other common side effects that result from these combinations are:

  • Dizziness
  • Blackouts
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Impaired Judgment
  • Paranoia
  • Overdosing

The last one is especially dangerous if the person drinking isn’t near others who can quickly call for medical attention. As previously noted, because both compounds potentiate each other, it is possible to overdose on Wellbutrin or alcohol, or both at the same time, even if only the prescribed dosage of the drug has been taken and only modest amounts of alcohol have been drunk. And, as is true with most overdoses, if medical attention isn’t received within a relatively short time, an overdose of either alcohol or Wellbutrin can result in serious repercussions like organ damage, coma, or death.

 

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About the author

Robert M. has been in recovery since 1988. He is a sponsor and loyal member of AA. He has been working in the drug and alcohol field for nearly 20 years. During that time, he has written industry blogs and articles for a variety of industry websites including Transitions, Malibu Horizons, Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches and Lifeskills of Boca Raton.