Wellbutrin And Alcohol: Safety – Side Effects – Science

a picture of prescription drugs and alcohol

A certain number of people are wondering about the effects of taking 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 drinking while on Wellbutrin is actually dangerous?

Wellbutrin and Alcohol

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;

  • Taking Wellbutrin and drinking is very dangerous

There are a number of factors that combine to make this combination of drug and alcohol very risky. 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 Science

The primary reason this combination is dangerous is because they are 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 Wellbutrin reduces alcohol tolerance

Thus, an individual drinking while taking Wellbutrin will suffer from the effects of alcohol after consuming less alcohol than normal and those effects will be stronger than normal.

Wellbutrin and Alcohol – Psychological Impact

In addition to heightening side effects, mixing this drug with 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.

Side Effects Of Mixing Wellbutrin and Alcohol

One 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 include;

  • Seizures
  • 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.