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Can You Mix Strattera With Alcohol?

Alcohol use is extremely common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “more than half of US adults report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. Nearly 17% of adults binge drink and 6% report heavy drinking.”[1]

While occasional use of alcohol is typically not harmful, it’s important to take into consideration whether you are taking any medications that interact negatively with the substance. Unfortunately, because many people take medications daily, they often forget to consider that some medications can cause negative side effects when combined with alcohol. 

If you suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you might be taking a medication known as Strattera. While this medication is a non-stimulant option for ADHD treatment, mixing Strattera and alcohol can be detrimental to your health and even life-threatening in certain situations. 

What is Strattera (Atomoxetine)?

Strattera is the name brand for a prescription medication called atomoxetine. Atomoxetine is a non-stimulant option for people suffering from ADHD.[2] 

Strattera belongs to a class of drugs known as selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which means the substance increases levels of norepinephrine in your brain.[3] Atomoxetine occurs naturally in your brain to control behavior, however, in people with ADHD, the chemical is often lacking. By increasing norepinephrine, the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity can be improved.

Unlike most ADHD medications, Strattera is non-habit forming, so you do not have to worry about becoming addicted to it. However, there are some things to consider, including the possibility of overdose and increased side effects, especially when mixing Strattera with substances like alcohol. 

Can You Mix Strattera With Alcohol?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), you should avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while you are taking Strattera. Alcohol or other drugs may decrease the benefits, worsen your condition, and increase adverse effects (such as sedation) of the medication.[2]

Drinking alcohol while you are taking atomoxetine can cause the symptoms of your ADHD to worsen, such as impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. Even further, the side effects of Strattera could increase substantially when you drink alcohol. 

Even though Strattera is not a stimulant drug, it can have stimulating effects. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so the stimulating effects of atomoxetine can decrease the effects of alcohol, causing you to drink more alcohol than you normally would. Similarly, the depressing effects of alcohol could lead you to believe that your Strattera is not working, causing you to take too much of the medication. 

Dangers of Mixing Strattera and Alcohol 

Mixing atomoxetine and alcohol can be dangerous. If you take this medication and frequently use alcohol, being aware of the possible risks can prevent you from experiencing adverse effects.

If you mix alcohol with Strattera, the side effects of the medication could become increased. These include:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Flatulence
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Muscle pain
  • Sweating and hot flashes

It is important to note that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that mixing alcohol with certain medications can result in health complications, including life-threatening emergencies.[4]

While Strattera is not known to be habit-forming, some individuals may abuse it. If you are abusing Strattera and alcohol, this is known as polysubstance abuse. 

According to the CDC, polysubstance abuse including alcohol can result in:[4]

  • Overdose
  • Injury
  • Violence
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Chronic disease
  • Alcohol or other substance use disorders

If you drink alcohol, the effects of the substance may cause you to believe that the atomoxetine is not working. As a result, you might take more of the substance than you should take. This could lead to an overdose.

The symptoms of a Strattera overdose include:[3]

  • Sleepiness
  • Agitation
  • An increase in activity or talking
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Stomach problems
  • Wide, dilated pupils 
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dry mouth

A Strattera overdose can be life-threatening. If you believe that you or someone you love is experiencing an overdose, always call emergency medical services.

Finding Help for Strattera and Alcohol Abuse 

While Strattera is one of the least risky ADHD medications, mixing it with alcohol can become deadly. If you struggle with Strattera or alcohol abuse, attending an addiction treatment program can provide you with the tools and services you require to achieve long-term recovery. 

At Mandala Healing Center, we provide every patient with an individualized treatment plan. Any needs you may have will be addressed during your stay at the facility. For a free and confidential consultation, contact our experts at Mandala Healing Center today. We can help you begin a new way of life.