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Antipsychotic Medications and Alcohol Interactions

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Feb 24, 2022.

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.

Check drug interactions here: Drug Interaction Checker

Antipsychotics have central nervous system (CNS) depressive properties and should not be used in combination with alcohol (ethanol) due to enhanced side effects of one or both drugs. In addition, the phenothiazines (first generation) should not be used in patients with acute alcohol intoxication or undergoing alcohol withdrawal due to elevated seizure risk. Patients who have pre-existing liver disease, such as alcoholic cirrhosis, may not be able to use some antipsychotics.

The combination of second generation antipsychotics and alcohol can cause the following side effects:

If you combine alcohol with the older first generation antipsychotics, the side effects can be more pronounced. The following reactions may occur:

Learn More: What is Schizophrenia?

Types of Antipsychotics

Avoid driving, operating machinery, or engaging in potentially hazardous activities requiring mental alertness and motor coordination until you know how these or other medications affect you.

To learn more about individual antipsychotic drug interactions with alcohol, select the Interactions tab on each monograph below and speak to your doctor and pharmacist.

Table 1. Second Generation Antipsychotics

Lybalvi (olanzapine and samidorphan) was approved in May 2021 and is a combination of olanzapine and samidorphan, a novel μ-opioid receptor antagonist for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder.

Table 2. First Generation Antipsychotics

Generic Name Example Brand Names
chlorpromazine none available
fluphenazine none available
haloperidol Haldol
loxapine Adasuve
perphenazine none available
pimozide none available
prochlorperazine Compro suppositories
thioridazine none available
thiothixene Navane
trifluoperazine none available

*Note: These tables may not be a complete list; always check with your pharmacist or doctor for possible drug-alcohol interactions or other interactions. Tell your healthcare providers about all the other medications you use, including prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal products.

Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol


  1. Freed E Alcohol-triggered-neuroleptic-induced tremor, rigidity and dystonia. Med J Aust 2 (1981): 44-5.
  2. Product Information. Seroquel (quetiapine). Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, DE. Accessed Feb. 24, 2022.
  3. Lutz EG Neuroleptic-induced akathisia and dystonia triggered by alcohol. JAMA 236 (1976): 2422-3.
  4. Product Information. Perphenazine. Sandoz. Princeton, NJ.
  5. Product Information. Nuplazid. Acadia Pharmaceuticals. San Diego.



Further information

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