Published on 28 April 2022

Can You Take Lexapro and Alcohol Together?

Escitalopram (Lexapro) can-you-take-lexapro-and-alcohol-together
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Depression is common among adults but is no less common in children. People above 12 years go through this condition. Millions of Americans face depression because of many reasons.

Symptoms may vary according to the person and the mental behavior they have been through. Typical symptoms include feeling sad, angry, losing interest in everything, tiredness, disturbed sleep, and many more. At that moment, Lexapro comes into place, which helps through the condition.

While you are about to take Lexapro, it is always necessary to know what all things you can consume to avoid any trouble. You should know if it would be beneficial to drink alcohol while on Lexapro or not.

What Is Lexapro?

Lexapro is an antidepressant medication commonly sold under the generic name Escitalopram. This medication is considered a first-line treatment for depression and anxiety and is classified as an SSRI. 

youngsters aged 12-17 can use it for acute and maintenance treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and for the acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults. 

In addition to these approved indications, Lexapro can also be used to treat a variety of other conditions such as Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Panic disorder, and Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Frequently asked questions

Make sure you take the dose as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose.
It may be safe to have an occasional intake of alcohol. However, a person should consult a doctor before consuming alcohol with any anti-depressant.
Yes, Lexapro is considered the best antidepressant available in the market. But for the safest work, you should get a prescription.

How Does Lexapro Work?

Lexapro works by preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed, resulting in an increased amount in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects one's mood and well-being. This alteration helps in treating people suffering from anxiety and depression.

Scientifically, it works by preventing serotonin reuptake into the presynaptic neuron; Lexapro raises Intra synaptic levels of the neurotransmitter. It has the highest selectivity for the serotonin transporter (SERT) compared to the norepinephrine transporter (NET) of all the available SSRIs, resulting in a milder side-effect profile than less-selective SSRIs.

Lexapro is a P-glycoprotein substrate, and P-glycoprotein inhibitors like verapamil and quinidine may help it cross the blood-brain barrier. Lexapro effects were improved in preclinical research in rats when combined with a P-glycoprotein inhibitor.

Can You Take Lexapro And Drink Alcohol?

A study conducted at the Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, Finland, it shown that in the clinical environment, alcoholism combined with major depressive disorder provided a significant issue. The outcomes of using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to treat depression have been variable.


According to the study, eighty alcohol-dependent individuals with major depressive disorder were randomized 1:1 to receive escitalopram 20 mg in municipal alcohol clinics. Patients received their usual care at the clinics during the 26-week research period. The patients were seen weekly for the first month, then every three and six months after that. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the Obsessive-Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS), and the Drinking Diary were used as outcome measures.

The completion rate was high, especially among the patients who had been abstinent at the start of the research. However, those who were not abstinent dropped out. Alcohol intake, as judged by the AUDIT QF (quantity-frequency) score, and alcohol craving, as measured by the OCDS, were considerably reduced in both groups. Early commencement of the first depressive episode, like the early onset of the first alcohol intoxication, predicted poor treatment results in patients treated with escitalopram.

If you drink while on Lexapro, you will not feel any more intoxicated than usual. On the other hand, combining anti-depressants and alcohol is not advised: it can be lethal and harmful. 

Can You Take Any Quantity Of Alcohol When Taking Lexapro?

As mentioned above, Moderate consumption of alcohol will impact depression. But it is ok to consume the smallest amount of alcohol occasionally. Still, the first concern is to talk to your doctor about alcohol consumption. 

Moderate consumption should not increase by more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men. A person should drink alcohol slowly while on medication and eat while drinking.

Effects Of Alcohol On Mental Health

Alcohol can be one of the most addictive drinks if taken more than normal. It can affect your body negatively in many ways. It has temporary components that can improve and calm your mood. It can severely affect your mental health. Mostly, your anxiety and depression would worsen. 

Excessive consumption of alcohol can affect you from:

  • Accidents
  • Violent or aggressive
  • Mood swings
  • Uncontrolled memory or consciousness
  • slurred speech
  • Respiratory difficulties.

Who Should Not Take Lexapro?

Not everyone can take Lexapro for their condition as the medicine cannot suit everyone. Some might get through side effects if they consume the medicine without the doctor's advice. Here is a list of the conditions under which it is advised NOT to take Lexapro:

  • A disorder with an excess antidiuretic hormone called syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone
  • Low amount of sodium in the blood
  • Low amount of potassium
  • Low amount of magnesium
  • Risk of bleeding
  • Manic-depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Closed-angle glaucoma
  • Heart attack within the last 30 days
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Prolonged QT interval
  • Liver problems
  • Bleeding from the stomach, esophagus, duodenum
  • Seizures
  • Chronic kidney disease (stage 4-severe)

It is advisable to take your doctor’s guidance before taking Lexapro, and also tell your health conditions to the doctor so they can prescribe a suitable strength of the medicine. 

Lexapro Dosage

Follow the directions on the prescription label or take as the doctor prescribes. Take the medicine with or without food. While measuring the oral dosage, remember to use a measuring device, do not use a kitchen spoon. The medicine would take 4 weeks to improve the symptoms. In case you don't see a difference, consult your doctor.

Standard adult dosage for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Initial dose: 10 mg orally once daily; increase to 20 mg if necessary after at least one week of treatment.
  • Maintenance dose: 10 to 20 mg orally, once a day.
  • Maximum dose: 20 mg orally once a day.

Note: Treatment should be evaluated on a regular basis. Efficacy beyond eight weeks has not been systematically studied.

Acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder:

  • Initial dose: 10 mg orally once daily; increase to 20 mg daily if necessary after at least one week of treatment.
  • Maintenance dose: 10 to 20 mg orally once a day
  • Maximum dose: 20 mg orally once a day

Note: Acute episodes may require sustained pharmacological therapy beyond response to the acute episode for several months or longer. Patients should be periodically evaluated to determine the need for maintenance treatment.

Acute and maintenance treatment of a major depressive disorder.

Age limit: 12 years and older

  • Initial dose: 10 mg orally once daily; increase only if necessary after at least three weeks of treatment to 20 mg once daily.
  • Maintenance dose: 10 to 20 mg orally once a day.
  • Maximum dose: 20 mg orally once a day.

Note: Acute episodes may require sustained pharmacological therapy beyond response to the acute episode for several months or longer. Patients should be periodically evaluated to determine the need for maintenance treatment.


Lexapro is suggested to be stored at room temperature, away from light and moisture. Do not store it in the bathroom.

Possible Side Effects

Every medication has some or the other side effects. It affects people due to various aspects. If the person is suffering from common side effects can be dealt with time, but if you are suffering severely, You should consult a doctor.

Common side effects

Severe Side Effects

Painful urination

Blurred vision


Unusual risk-taking behavior

Feeling anxious or agitated

Burning sensation while urinating


Severe weakness


High fever


stiffness of muscles

Get immediate medical help if you encounter any allergic signs to Lexapro, such as skin rashes, hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, and throat.

Warning Of Lexapro

Any person who consumes Lexapro should know the following warnings that are set by the manufacturers or doctors. These warnings are set for you to get the best out of the medicine according to various aspects.

  • Pregnant women: Research has shown adverse effects on the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  • Senior Citizen: This drug can decrease sodium levels; seniors may be at even higher risk for low sodium levels.
  • Children: Children may experience decreased appetite and weight loss.
  • If You overdose: Overdosing Lexapro could cause serotonin toxicity, QT prolongation, and bradycardia.
  • Interaction with Alcohol: Lexapro and alcohol work individually on altering brain signals. When taken together, they might cause drowsiness and liver problems.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Lexapro is an anti-depressant used to treat anxiety and depression. It works by assisting in the restoration of a natural substance (serotonin) equilibrium in the brain. It is suggested not to take Lexapro with alcohol as it can be harmful or, at worst, lethal.

As the medicine has side effects, you should take the following precautions accordingly. Always get a proper consultation before you take the medicine and inform your medical history to your doctor. Otherwise, you might get affected by the severe side effects.

  • Davidson, Jonathan R.T., et al. “Escitalopram in the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Flexible-Dose Study.” Depression and Anxiety, vol. 19, no. 4, 2004, pp. 234–240, Accessed 26 Feb. 2019.
  • Klieger-Grossmann, Chagit, et al. “Pregnancy Outcomes Following Use of Escitalopram: A Prospective Comparative Cohort Study.” The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 52, no. 5, May 2012, pp. 766–770, Accessed 3 Sept. 2020.
  • Pinder, R. M., and M. Sandler. “Alcohol, Wine and Mental Health: Focus on Dementia and Stroke.” Journal of Psychopharmacology, vol. 18, no. 4, Dec. 2004, pp. 449–456,
  • Whitaker, Leighton C. “EDITORIAL.” Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, vol. 18, no. 4, 8 July 2004, pp. 3–5, Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.