Is it Safe to Take Olanzapine with Alcohol?

Olanzapine, also known by the trade name Zyprexa, is sometimes prescribed to treat bipolar disorder.
Both alcohol and olanzapine depress the central nervous system.
A doctor should carefully consider whether it is safe to prescribe olanzapine to a patient who will most likely drink while on the medication.
No drugs should ever be combined with alcohol.
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  • Written By: Marco Sumayao
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2014
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Most doctors advise against taking olanzapine with alcohol, as the interaction between the substances can lead to serious medical risks. Olanzapine, along with other psychoactive drugs, has the potential to strengthen the effects of alcohol in an individual's brain, resulting in abnormal function. There is also the possibility of the interaction affecting the patient's cardiovascular health. Although some doctors might allow patients some leeway in taking olanzapine with alcohol, it is only after rigorous testing and in minimal amounts. In general, it is best to avoid alcohol while under olanzapine to minimize health risks.

Olanzapine and alcohol both have depressant qualities; taking the two together can have a cumulative effect. Patients who take olanzapine with alcohol are prone to bouts of severe drowsiness and confusion, both of which could increase the risk for physical harm. Some experts believe that a combination of the two substances could result in comas or death when taken in significantly large amounts. The combination could also lower an individual's blood pressure to abnormal levels, causing problems in the circulatory system. One of the rarer side effects of olanzine is negative liver function, which could be worsened by regular alcohol consumption.

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In general, individuals who need olanzapine should not be drinking alcohol, regardless of whether or not they take the drug. The most common uses of olanzapine are for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychological disorders. Consumption of alcohol has long been identified to worsen the symptoms of mental problems; alcohol abuse itself is categorized as a mental illness.

Patients can, however, take olanzapine with alcohol if their doctors clear them. This usually takes one to two months of medication without alcohol to determine whether or not the drug has any negative effects on the patient's system. The period of observation varies in duration based on other drugs the patient might be taking, as olanzapine drug interactions might differ between patients. Once the doctor has cleared a patient for drinking alcohol, the patient can consume alcohol beverages in limited quantities.

Although taking olanzapine with alcohol is permitted in some cases, most experts advise against it. There is a chance that some patients might go beyond the recommended amount and put themselves at risk of harm, as alcohol tends to cloud a person's judgment and lower his inhibitions. It is also possible that negative drug interactions with olanzapine will show up after a certain amount of alcohol consumption.

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ysmina
Post 3

Diabetics and people with blood sugar issues should be careful with this combination too. I'm a diabetic and olanzapine raises my blood sugar and alcohol does too.

burcinc
Post 2

@feruze-- I highly doubt that the drug was out of your system because olanzapine has a half-life of up to fifty hours. So the drug was very much in your system. I hope no one takes your experience seriously, because it's dangerous to mix olanzapine with alcohol.

Olanzapine is an antipsychotic drug that acts on the central nervous system and so does alcohol. When they're combined, not only does the side effects of olanzapine intensify, but so does the side effects of alcohol. You could have had some major issues like changes in blood pressure, confusion, loss of motor skills and aggression.

And by the way, how can you stop an antipsychotic drug for two days like that? That comes with dangers of its own.

bear78
Post 1

I'm on a low dose of olanzapine and I had to attend a wedding last weekend. The day before the wedding and on the wedding day, I did not take my medication so that I could have a glass of champagne. I ended up having two glasses but everything was fine. I didn't get sick. I guess the drug was out of my system by then.

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