Duloxetine is a widely administered med; it is prescribed for treating mental conditions such as depression, mood shifts, anxieties, etc. Its active chemicals bring about relief by stabilizing sleep, boosting energy as well as reducing phobias. This medicine is categorized under a class called serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It works to establish a correct balance of neuro transmitting chemicals like serotonin. But, can you take this drug along with alcohol? If you have taken an alcoholic drink, what are likely interactions? These are important pointers to know, prior to commencing your medication plan.

Brain chemicals such as serotonin are essential to keep you happy. Happiness is a factor of good sleep, ability to avoid needless or unwanted thoughts, a good appetite and the absence of fears. Your brain has neuro transmitters; serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine are a few examples of such transmitters. An optimal availability of these chemicals is linked to your mental wellbeing and overall health.

Drugs that are categorized under the serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) genre help enhance availability of aforesaid chemicals in your brain as well as central nervous system (CNS). On the other hand, a suboptimal availability of these substances can impair your mental health; people with lesser level of brain chemicals are prone to mood shifts, hallucinations and depression. Duloxetine is a popular med belonging to the SNRI class.

Can you take duloxetine along with alcohol?

As mentioned, duloxetine enhances the presence of neuro transmitting substances in the pre-frontal cortex. Such availability minimises depression and social anxieties. But, you are advised to watch out for serotonin toxicity; a condition wherein the level of brain chemicals is at a high. You may also witness suicidal instincts, tremors, indigestion as well as nausea. When you take alcohol and duloxetine together, you are likely to witness suicidal thoughts and an urge to harm yourself.

Intake of alcohol along with duloxetine can also impair your liver function. Those who are living with liver conditions such as hepatitis or cirrhosis are advised to keep away from this combination. In some extreme cases, mixing of alcohol with this antidepressant may cause a liver failure. Other risks include increase in the production of hepatic enzymes; enhanced production is an indicator of a likely liver damage. Owing to these risks, you are advised to tell your treating doctor about prior episodes of substance abuse or addiction to intoxicants. Also, inform your caregiver if you are a habitual drinker.

Risks of overdose and side effects

Foremost of all, this drug is not an over the counter med. Hence, you must never take it through self-medication route. This SNRI drug is taken under the supervision of a qualified medical specialist. Consumption of duloxetine in enhanced dosage level i.e., more than prescribed doses, can result in near-fatal or fatal outcomes. Signs of an overdose are faster pulse rates, erratic heartbeat, restlessness, tiredness, loss of coordination and fainting. If you notice one or more of these adverse side effects, reach out to 911 on an urgent basis. You can also call the helplines of FDA. On the other hand, Canadian residents need to establish contact with Health Canada or rush to a poison control unit.

Are you taking duloxetine – What are the other safety precautions?

Strength of doses is influenced by several factors; these are age, gender, weight, presence of prior ailments, how well your system reacts to initial doses, etc. It is essential to keep your caregiver updated of treatment plans currently pursued or medications that you are presently consuming. If your treatment includes intake of blood thinning meds like Coumadin / warfarin, you are more likely to develop internal bleeding.

You need to stay aware of the risks of taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) while consuming duloxetine; co-administration of these drugs may cause profuse bleeding. As a safety precaution, intake of quinolone-based antibiotic meds or drugs such as cimetidine is known to reduce the absorption of duloxetine. Consuming this SNRI drug may also delay the discharge of a few medications such as antidepressants of tricyclic genre, antipsychotic drugs to name a few. You are advised to talk to your treating doctor to know more of the needful precautions.

More importantly, if your treatment plans include consumption of anxiety reducing and mood-boosting meds, your treating physician needs to know more about such medication plans. In general, it is unsafe to take multiple forms of mood-enhancing drugs at the same time; the net result is a likely onset of serotonin toxicity. This may get aggravated with a continued intake of SSRI or SNRI drugs along with duloxetine. Hence, a co-administration of all such drugs (for example – venlafaxine, paroxetine, etc.) is a no-go; you are advised to consult with your caregiving team to know more about possible risks. Also, tell your physician of all adverse reactions you encounter while taking this med.

What is the safe dosage level of this antidepressant med?

The initial dose of duloxetine is maintained at as low as 30 milligrams (mg) within a 24-hour timeline. At this low dosage level, your doctor will check for adverse reactions or side effects. If there are no apparent side effects, strength is enhanced to 40 mg per day. This strength is increased marginally based on severity of your mental condition.

It is unsafe to discontinue the intake of duloxetine in an abrupt manner. People who stopped taking this med all of a sudden are likely to see withdrawal symptoms. Typical symptoms of withdrawal are dizziness, feeling drowsy, abdominal conditions like nausea, headache, etc. These are reasons for your caregiver to taper off the last doses. Such tapering is known to arrest signs of withdrawal sizably.

In sum, duloxetine is a commonly used drug. This belongs to a genre known as SNRI meds. This drug enhances the availability of neuro transmitting chemicals and thus minimizes depression, phobias and several forms of anxieties. Consumption of alcohol with duloxetine can impair your hepatic wellbeing. In some one-off instances, taking alcohol along with this antidepressant can trigger a complete liver failure. Due to the presence of these risks, it is highly recommended to inform your physician about spells of substance abuse or addiction to alcohol. Upon sensing signs like itchiness, loss of appetite or discoloration of skin, you are advised to take medical help without any delay.

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