The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 51.6 percent of Americans describe themselves as current drinkers of alcohol. However, alcohol and certain medications can interact when ingested together. In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that the interaction between alcohol and medication may contribute to at least 25 percent of emergency room visits. Seroquel is a medication prescribed by doctors to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Taking Seroquel and alcohol together may have serious consequences.
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Alcohol and Medication
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) advises against using Seroquel and alcohol together. The FDA clearly directs people to "not drink alcohol while taking Seroquel" because it may make some of the side effects worse. Furthermore, the NIAAA advises that drinking even a little alcohol is too much when a person is taking medications that interact with alcohol.
AstraZeneca, which makes Seroquel, explains that ingesting alcohol with Seroquel may cause alcohol intolerance. This means a person drinking alcohol and taking Seroquel at the same time may feel the effects of alcohol more acutely than usual.
Data from a clinical trial conducted with AstraZeneca indicate that Seroquel affects the central nervous system. Seroquel caused people to have diminished motor control, and they were not as coordinated at operating machinery when under the influence of the medication. The clinical trial showed that mixing alcohol and Seroquel together made coordination worse.
AstraZeneca also reports that Seroquel has the potential for causing hypotension, or low blood pressure. According to the NIAAA, alcohol affects a person's blood pressure as well, providing another reason to avoid ingesting alcohol and Seroquel together.
Other Side Effects
The FDA and AstraZeneca report that alcohol may make the side effects of Seroquel worse. These side effects frequently include flu-like symptoms, reduced appetite and cough; infrequently, people experienced abnormal thinking and dreams, dizziness, hallucinations, migraine, irregular pulse, neck pain and thirst. To minimize these affects, both the FDA and AstraZeneca advise users of Seroquel to refrain from alcohol use.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
- National Association of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Alcohol Alert No. 27
- AstraZeneca: Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate)
- Federal Drug Administration (FDA): Medication Guide - Seroquel
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Rethinking Drinking