The Dangers of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol
Trazodone is a serotonin antagonist reuptake inhibitor (SARI) that is prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It works by increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain to combat a variety of mental health issues. Thankfully, trazodone is not considered to be habit-forming and is relatively safe to take long-term.
While trazodone is a great tool for people struggling with mental health, there are some precautions to take. For example, individuals who take trazodone should not combine it with alcohol. Mixing alcohol and trazodone could lead to adverse effects and even overdoses in some cases.
What are the Side Effects of Trazodone?
Like any medication, trazodone can cause side effects. Most people experience these side effects while their bodies adjust to the medication, so it is common for the side effects to go away after taking trazodone for a few weeks.
Common side effects of trazodone include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Weakness and tiredness
- Nightmares or strange dreams
- Muscle pain
- Dry mouth
- Stuffy nose
- Changes in sex drive or ability
Some people might not be tolerant of trazodone or have an allergic reaction to the medication. If you experience the following severe side effects, contact your doctor immediately:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden dizziness
- Slowed heartbeat
- Unusual thoughts or behavior
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
Can You Mix Trazodone and Alcohol?
Drinking alcohol while taking trazodone can be incredibly dangerous. First, alcohol can amplify the effects of trazodone, so any symptoms of dizziness, drowsiness, or vomiting can be increased.
Additionally, alcohol is known to worsen mental health issues like anxiety or depression. As a result, drinking alcohol while taking trazodone could negate the positive effects of your medication.
Possible dangers of mixing alcohol and trazodone include:
- Dizziness and drowsiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impairments in thinking and judgment
- Losing consciousness or fainting
- Extreme mood changes
- Increased depression or anxiety
Lastly, alcohol is a depressant that can cause drowsiness, dizziness, decreased heartbeat, and slowed breathing. When you mix alcohol with trazodone, the central nervous system depression you experience could become deadly.
What is Serotonin Syndrome?
Another danger associated with mixing trazodone and alcohol is developing serotonin syndrome. Because both substances can increase the amount of serotonin, you could have too much of the chemical in your brain, leading to serotonin syndrome.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Abnormal eye movements
- Fast heartbeat and high blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Loss of coordination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Overactive reflexes
Serotonin syndrome must be treated in a hospital setting, as many of the symptoms can become life-threatening without treatment. As a result, you should always avoid drinking alcohol while taking trazodone.
How Long Should You Wait to Drink Alcohol After Taking Trazodone?
The amount of time you should wait to consume alcohol after taking your trazodone depends heavily on your metabolism, overall health, and the dosage you are consuming.
However, you can look at trazodone’s half-life to determine when it is safe to drink alcohol. A half-life explains how long it takes your body to eliminate half of a single dose of a substance. It usually takes about 4 to 5 half-lives for trazodone to be completely removed from your system.
Trazodone’s half-life is between 10 to 12 hours, so it could take 2 to 3 days for the drug to be out of your system. As a result, you should wait several days before drinking alcohol after stopping the medication.
Signs of a Trazodone and Alcohol Overdose
If you combine trazodone and alcohol, you are at risk of experiencing an overdose because the two substances exacerbate the side effects of one another.
Overdose symptoms inlude:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Losing consciousness
- Rapid or pounding heartbeat
- Slowed or stopped breathing
If you experience the above-mentioned symptoms, contact emergency medical services immediately.
Find Help for Alcohol Abuse
If you or a loved one are prescribed trazodone but can’t stop drinking, you may be struggling with alcoholism. Alcoholism is a serious medical condition that can have devastating effects on physical and mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. While trazodone may be prescribed for various reasons, its effectiveness can be severely compromised by ongoing alcohol misuse.
At South Carolina Addiction Treatment, our addiction specialists provide guidance and tailored support for your specific needs. To take the first step toward recovery or learn more about our alcohol rehab programs, please contact us today.
- Medline Plus: Trazodone, Retrieved September 2023 From https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a681038.html
- Medline Plus: Serotonin syndrome, Retrieved September 2023 From https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007272.htm
- The Food and Drug Administration: Trazodone Label, Retrieved September 2023 From https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/071196s062lbl.pdf
Medically Reviewed: June 21, 2023
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.