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Antipsychotic Medications and Alcohol Interactions

Written by L. Anderson, PharmD on Nov 7, 2017

Antipsychotics are a large class of medications used to treat symptoms of psychosis such as delusions (for example, hearing voices), hallucinations, paranoia, or confused thoughts. They are used for other mental health disorders as well. They work by changing the balances of chemicals in the brain. Some of the most common uses for antipsychotic are:

Older antipsychotics are called first generation antipsychotics (or typical antipsychotics), and antipsychotics that have been developed more recently are called second generation antipsychotics (or atypical antipsychotics). Second generation antipsychotics are less likely to produce movement disorders such as tremor, Parkinson's-like symptoms and tardive dyskinesia, a serious movement disorder with abnormal, repetitive facial movements and tongue protrusion.

Antipsychotics have central nervous system (CNS) depressive properties and should not be used in combination with alcohol due to the additive effects. The combination of antipsychotics and alcohol can increase:

  • Sedation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Result in poor decision making or cognitive impairment
  • Lead to low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Put patients at risk for a fall and injury.

Learn More: Schizophrenia: A Disabling Medical Condition

Types of Antipsychotics

Review the drug classes listed below for further information:

Common Second Generation Antipsychotics*

*Note: This is not a complete list; always check with your pharmacist for possible drug-alcohol interactions.

Common First Generation Antipsychotics*

Generic Name Brand Name(s)
chlorpromazine Thorazine
fluphenazine Prolixin
haloperidol Haldol
loxapine Loxitane
mesoridazine (generic discontinued in US) Serentil
molindone Moban
perphenazine Trilafon
prochlorperazine Compro Suppositories
thioridazine Mellaril
thiothixene Navane
trifluoperazine Stelazine

*Note: This is not a complete list; always check with your pharmacist for possible drug-alcohol interactions.

Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.