Alcohol and Effexor
The combined effects of Effexor and alcohol in people with depression have not been studied. However, the manufacturer of Effexor recommends that people not drink alcohol while taking the drug. If you do decide to drink while on Effexor, you should drink light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol (one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men).
According to the manufacturer or Effexor® (venlafaxine hydrochloride), drinking alcohol while using the medication is not recommended. This is because drugs like Effexor and alcohol act upon similar chemicals in the brain. The concern is that Effexor will increase the effects of alcohol -- whether this is increasing depression symptoms or affecting motor skills.
Practically, when many healthcare providers are asked whether it is okay to drink alcohol while on Effexor, they recommend drinking light-to-moderate amounts. They also recommend that you wait to drink alcohol until you understand how Effexor and other medicines you may be currently taking affect your body.
When healthcare providers recommend moderate alcohol drinking, they mean one drink a day for women and 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 alcoholic 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.
Drinking alcohol while on Effexor does not seem to increase the mental and motor skills impairments caused by alcohol in normal subjects taking Effexor. However, the effects of Effexor and alcohol in those with depression have not been studied. This is one reason for exercising caution with alcohol and Effexor.