We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Is It Safe to Combine Venlafaxine and Alcohol?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Venlafaxine is a common prescription drug used to help treat depression. This medication can have many side effects, including but not limited to dry mouth, drowsiness, diarrhea, headache and suicidal thoughts. It is recommended by many medical professionals that people do not mix venlafaxine and alcohol. Combining venlafaxine and alcohol can cause many of the side effects of venlafaxine to intensify.

One major side effect of venlafaxine is drowsiness. Some people report feeling sleepy, weak and tired while taking the medication. Mixing venlafaxine and even a small amount of alcohol can increase a patient's level of drowsiness and fatigue, making it unsafe for that person to drive a car or perform other tasks.

Another reason it is not wise to mix venlafaxine and alcohol is that most patients consuming the drug are taking it because they have been diagnosed with depression. Alcohol has a depressive effect on the body, so people suffering from depression are encouraged to steer clear of alcoholic beverages. A rare but serious side effect of venlafaxine is that it can cause a person to want to engage in dangerous, suicidal behavior. A person who drinks alcohol when he is already having suicidal thoughts because of the medication may not have the same control over his or her actions as he or she would sober. An intoxicated, suicidal person who is on venlafaxine can put himself or herself and others at risk.

Weight gain is a common complaint of patients who take venlafaxine for depression. Many people on this medication feel hungrier than they did before they began taking the medication. Some patients even crave unhealthy foods or have urges to eat sweets during the night. It takes a lot of will power for some people on venlafaxine to make the right choices to help keep their bodies at healthy weights. When a person combines venlafaxine and alcohol, his or her inhibitions will be down and he or she may be more likely to overeat.

A person interested in drinking alcohol while on venlafaxine should talk about it with his or her doctor. Not all patients react the same way to medications, so some healthcare providers may say it is OK for a particular patient to drink alcohol in moderation or on special occasions while taking venlafaxine. A doctor can make an educated decision about whether it is safe for a patient to drink while taking an antidepressant based on factors such as how long the patient has been on the drug, the dosage of the medication the patient takes and what kinds of side effects the person experiences.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon990687 — On May 05, 2015

I have been on venlafaxine for many years, plus loads of other drugs for MS. I also like a few glasses of wine in the evening. Originally I took ven in the evening as recommended and found I couldn't sleep and had terrible night sweats. I now take it in the morning and have found I can have a couple of glasses of wine with no problem. Still have some bad nights but that could be down to the other seven drugs I am prescribed.

By anon988413 — On Feb 11, 2015

Since I've been on venlafaxine, I have noticed that if I drink alcohol it increases the effect greatly. Last weekend I was found by the police about to jump off a bridge. (I have no recollection of this) I have now been told I am not to drink alcohol at all while on venlafaxine. Pity they didn't tell me before I nearly died.

By anon945123 — On Apr 10, 2014

Well, I've been absolutely hammered on it. Yeah, it makes you a lot more intoxicated and the next day stinks, but that's about it.

By turquoise — On Sep 18, 2013

@SarahGen-- It's not safe to drink wile on venlafaxine because it puts extra pressure on the liver and increases the effects of the drug.

Venlafaxine and alcohol are broken down by the liver. But when alcohol enters the system, the liver gives it priority which makes venlafaxine stay in the system longer than usual. The longer it stays, the more side effects it can cause.

When the liver is done breaking down the alcohol, it will move on to velafaxine. Depending on the medication dose and the amount of alcohol, that can be a lot of work for a liver. People with decreased liver function can have serious complications from this.

By fBoyle — On Sep 18, 2013

@SarahGen-- I tried mixing venlafaxine and alcohol once and it was not a pleasant experience. I was doing so well on the medication and I was finally feeling better. Alcohol ruined it for me. It made me severely depressed for a few days and I even started to think that the medication wasn't working.

Combining antidepressants and alcohol can cause all sorts of physical problems, but I think the emotional and psychological side effects are more important. For someone trying to treat their depression and be positive and happy again, alcohol is like taking a few steps back instead of going forward.

By SarahGen — On Sep 17, 2013

I've had a beer once or twice while on venlafaxine. I know that it's not recommended but since I don't overdo it and have not had any negative side effects, I think it's okay. I don't want to be an example for anyone though.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.