Paxil and Alcohol Cravings
Many recovering alcoholics who have been prescribed antidepressants to deal with symptoms of depression make the alarming discovery that they begin to crave alcohol while taking a drug like Paxil (paroxetine). That group includes some who never used alcohol prior to taking the medication, and some who have been sober for extended periods of time.
Paxil, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), and alcohol can have similar effects on the brain. Doctors and drug manufacturers (Paxil is made by GlaxoSmithKline) recommend that alcohol be consumed in moderation or not at all while taking these drugs. There have been some cases where patients reported strong alcohol cravings while on the drug, to the point where some began to drink obsessively while taking Paxil and other antidepressants.
Why Alcohol Cravings?
In a study published by Yale University, researchers demonstrated that the increase in serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain can produce cravings for alcohol in addition to anger and anxiety. They found this to be true especially in subjects who had a history of alcoholism. This research contradicts the prescription of antidepressants to deal with symptoms of depression experienced by patients dealing with addiction, often causing them to drink or abuse drugs while taking the medication.
Antidepressants, Alcohol and Other Prescription Drugs are a Dangerous Combination
In addition to the dangers of alcohol, the list of prescription and over-the-counter medications Paxil can potentially interact with is long. The drug can interact negatively when taken with other antidepressants, particularly another SSRI, as well as miscellaneous antidepressants and other medications used to treat bipolar disorder and certain heart medications.
Patients who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, particularly those available over-the-counter, such as Advil or Aleve, should exercise caution when taking them with Paxil. The same goes for stronger versions of these medications which are only available by prescription.
Migraine sufferers and patients who take blood thinners are also advised not to take Paxil with other medications.
Consult With Your Physician
If you have a history of alcoholism, or you only imbibe on occasion, it’s best to let your doctor know before he or she prescribes a medication to treat depression. The same goes for other prescription medications you are taking. An interaction could not only lead to abnormal behavior, it could potentially be life-threatening.
Protect Your Rights as a Consumer
The Paxil lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group have over 25 years of experience advocating for individuals in consumer product injury and mass tort cases. If you have been injured by your medication, and you believe you have cause to sue GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil, fill out our contact form and one of our lawyers will be in touch.