Using Lexapro with Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

Share This Post

Lexapro is one of the most popular FDA-approved antidepressant medications in the United States.

Approved for use in both adults and adolescents, Lexapro has a shorter list of side effects than many prescription antidepressants, which contributes to its popularity.  

If you’re one of the millions of adults using Lexapro to treat your mental health, you may be wondering whether or not using Lexapro with alcohol is safe. 

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is a popular brand name prescription antidepressant that belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Other SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa) and fluoxetine (Prozac). 

Commonly sold under the generic name escitalopram or escitalopram oxalate, Lexapro is commonly used for the treatment of mental health conditions like major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

It can also be used alongside other antidepressant drugs to treat bipolar disorder. SSRIs like Lexapro increase the levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain by inhibiting their reabsorption.

Serotonin is a chemical messenger in the brain that sends messages back and forth between the brain cells, and people with depression and anxiety may have low levels of this neurotransmitter. 

What are the risks of using Lexapro with alcohol?

Lexapro works to treat depression and anxiety by increasing the level and activity of serotonin in the brain.

Although many people know that it’s dangerous to mix alcohol with opioids, narcotic pain medications, or benzodiazepines like Xanax, the effects of alcohol when combined with antidepressants are not as widely understood. 

However, there are many risks associated with using Lexapro with alcohol because alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is designed to slow the effects of the neurological system, including activity in the brain.

CNS depressants like alcohol provide a relaxing, calming effect by lowering the activity levels of neurotransmitters, which prevents the brain cells from communicating at the same speed.

The reduced communication speed is why your cognitive and motor abilities decline the more you drink. The effects of Lexapro and the effects of alcohol counteract each other, which means that unwanted and unexpected side effects can occur when the two substances are combined.

What side effects can occur when using Lexapro with alcohol?

Using Lexapro while drinking alcohol can cause the side effects of both substances to be noticeably worse than when either of the drugs are used alone.

The chemical reaction between Lexapro and alcohol can make it difficult to function normally, and even moderate drinking can be dangerous. 

Side effects that can occur when using Lexapro with alcohol include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Alcoholism
  • Worsening depression
  • Liver problems
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Drymouth

Some side effects noted above, including nausea, insomnia, drowsiness, dry mouth, and diarrhea, can occur from using Lexapro regardless of whether you drink alcohol or not.

However, these side effects are more likely to occur and are likely to be worse when the medication is taken alongside alcohol consumption. 

Although Lexapro is used for the treatment of anxiety and depression, using Lexapro with alcohol can make your symptoms worse. 

Is using Lexapro with alcohol ever safe?

Lexapro is intended for long term use, and many adults take it for years. While it’s never a good idea to drink to excess while using Lexapro, depending on your dose, age, and medical history, your doctor may advise you that it is safe to occasionally enjoy an alcoholic beverage while taking the medication

If you’d like to drink alcohol while taking Lexapro, talk to your doctor about what amount, if any, is safe. Some people may not be able to drink alcohol at all while using Lexapro. 

Remember that drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants can cause unwanted side effects and prevent Lexapro from working effectively. 


Using Lexapro with alcohol increases your risks of experiencing unwanted side effects of both substances and reduces the effectiveness of your medication.

Side effects commonly experienced when using Lexapro with alcohol include increased anxiety, drowsiness, alcoholism and alcohol abuse, worsening depression, suicidal thoughts, liver problems, and the exacerbation of common side effects of Lexapro. 

Patients should seek medical advice before drinking any amount of alcohol while taking Lexapro.

If you or a loved one suffers from an alcohol use disorder, alcohol dependence, or substance abuse, addiction treatment programs are available. 

Consult your healthcare provider to learn more about your options and whether Lexapro is right for you.

References and Sources:

Sesame Care

Find the best price for great doctors and specialists

  • Thousands of doctors and specialists
  • $13,000,000+ saved by patients
  • 95% patient satisfaction
  • 4.3 on TrustPilot

Popular Destinations



Telehealth Reviews


Pharmacist Membership

About Us

Pharmacy Near Me

Recent Articles

Share On:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

Cerebral Review: Online Depression & Anxiety Treatment

Today, we’re deep diving with a Cerebral review to give you some insider info to help you narrow down your choices.

What are the signs of Depression?

In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of depression as well as some treatment options for this condition.

Can You Use Gabapentin For Anxiety?

While Neurontin is the most common brand name for gabapentin, other forms (such as Horizant and Gralise) may be prescribed depending on the specific

Zoloft and Weight Loss: Everything You Need To Know

When it comes to Zoloft and weight loss, here’s everything you need to know.

What is Zoloft?

If you have been recently diagnosed with depression and are given Zoloft, you may want to know how the medication works, what common side

What is Venlafaxine HCL ER?

Common mental illnesses like major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder affect millions of Americans every year. While many different treatment options

Using Prozac With Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

Prozac has become perhaps the most well-known antidepressant in the United States since its approval for the treatment of depression in 1986. Since then,

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System?

Clonazepam is a popular medication that is most commonly associated with treatment for panic disorder, but the medication was originally developed as a treatment

What is Sertraline and What are the Side Effects?

Sertraline is the generic form of Zoloft, a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs like

Turn On, Tune In, and…. Heal Your Brain? Psychedelics Return as Potential Therapy for Mental Health Disorders

Before they fell out of favor over half a century ago, psychedelic drugs, like psilocybin and LSD, were studied for various psychiatric diseases such

How Long Does Alprazolam Stay in Your System?

Alprazolam is a fast-acting medication, but exactly how long alprazolam stays in your body varies tremendously based on the form of the medication taken,

Paxil vs Zoloft: Differences, Similarities and Which is Better

Paxil and Zoloft are both popular Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antidepressants that are used to treat a wide range of mental health conditions.

A Supplement for Stress? The Science Behind Adaptogens

Stress is part of all our lives. Adaptogens are a group of herbal supplements studied throughout history as a way to improve the body’s

Does Buspirone Cause Weight Gain?

Many antidepressants can cause weight gain as a side effect. Buspirone may cause an altered appetite as a side effect, which can lead to

Duloxetine Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Duloxetine withdrawal is very common and well documented, affecting nearly half of all patients. Common withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, headaches, and nausea, and symptoms

Cymbalta vs. Prozac: Comparison Guide

Cymbalta and Prozac are commonly prescribed medications to treat mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder. The medications are similarly effective, although one

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

Ativan is a commonly prescribed prescription drug that is used by millions of Americans for anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders. It is the brand

Why is Mental Health Important?

As the saying goes, “There is no health without mental health,” but why is mental health so important? The reality is that although we

BuSpar: What is it? Uses, Costs, Benefits, and Doses

If you’re one of 40 million American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder or experiencing symptoms of anxiety, you might think that your battle

What are Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics? 

Long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics have been shown to prevent psychosis relapse in patients with schizophrenia. To combat poor medication adherence, LAIs are a great