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What happens when you drink alcohol with amitriptyline?

5 Answers

WildcatVet 24 Nov 2019

"Ask your doctor before using amitriptyline together with ethanol, this can alter the effects of amitriptyline and cause increased side effects. Call the doctor if you experience uneven heartbeats, extreme drowsiness, confusion, agitation, vomiting, blurred vision, sweating, muscle stiffness, feeling light-headed, and seizures. You should be warned not to exceed recommended dosages, to avoid alcohol, and to avoid activities requiring mental alertness."

Besides, alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant drug so it doesn't make much sense to take it with an antidepressant, does it?

Votes: +1
Babyyoda 24 Nov 2019

I took between 20mg-30mg of amitriptyline for a little over a year. Drinking increases the side effects of drowsiness but seems to also reduce the effectiveness of the drug. I work at a bar full time and drinking is part of my lifestyle and I had at least one to two drinks a day usually. I tried to never drink more than a couple drinks on this drug, but there were some nights I'd be out with friends and drink more than usual, and on those nights I would get heart palpitations sometimes and feel way more drunk than I normally would. From what I've read, this is an antidepressant that has lower risk of severe side effects from drinking on it but everyone is different.

Votes: +0
fiona bridges 1 Oct 2017

I'm on amitriptyline for neck and shoulder pain and had a couple of glasses of wine. And my God I was violently Ill the whole day..shakes, headache from hell..disorientation couldn't eat wouldn't advise anyone to eat while on these tabs.

Votes: +0
Delila 21 May 2011

Hi, I just want to add that i take amitriptyline at night (50mg) and sometimes will have drank alcohol before taking it. As Laurie says, it impairs the effectiveness of the drug. I take it for a few reason but mainly to help me sleep, so it is very frustrating if/when this happens. Also i find it harder to get up in the morning if i take the 2 together

Votes: +0
LaurieShay 21 May 2011

Hey CarterCR,

The following is the warning for drinking alcohol with amitriptyline, a TCA:

amitriptyline ↔ ethanol

Applies to: amitriptyline, Alcohol (contained in alcoholic beverages) (ethanol)

GENERALLY AVOID: Concomitant use of ethanol and a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) may result altered TCA plasma levels and efficacy, and additive impairment of motor skills, especially driving skills. Acute ethanol ingestion may inhibit TCA metabolism, while chronic ingestion of large amounts of ethanol may induce hepatic TCA metabolism.

MANAGEMENT: Patients should be advised to avoid alcohol during TCA therapy. Alcoholics who have undergone detoxification should be monitored for decreased TCA efficacy. Dosage adjustments may be required.

Therefore, drinking alcohol while on amitriptyline will affect the blood levels of the amitriptyline and keep it from working as good. It may also cause increase in the side effects of the alcohol.

Best wishes,


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amitriptyline, interaction, alcohol, antidepressant

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