Written by: Dale Conlon
Medically Reviewed by: Dr Mateen Durrani – MBBS, DPM, MSc, BCPsych
Last Updated: February 7th, 2023
While amitriptyline is not considered an addictive substance, there is still some debate regarding its safety for those to take it alongside other substances like alcohol.
Amitriptyline is a medication commonly prescribed to treat depression and low mood. At lower doses, it can also be used in those suffering from pain-related conditions like arthritis or migraines. In this guide, we will take a closer look into amitriptyline and some of the potential risks that can arise when using it with alcohol.
Can you mix amitriptyline and alcohol?
As alcohol and amitriptyline are both depressants, mixing both can make users sleepy and disoriented. For this reason, it is advised that users hold off on their alcohol use while they are taking amitriptyline, especially if they are drinking in large quantities.
Therefore, while it is encouraged that users abstain from drinking alcohol and taking amitriptyline at the same time, we will look over each substance independently and examine some of the potential dangers that come from this combination.
How much amitriptyline is safe for use?
When it comes to amitriptyline, your dosage will strongly impact how the drug works in your system. While someone’s recommended dosage of the drug will depend on their individual needs, those using amitriptyline for pain-relief are typically advised to take up to 75 milligrams in any twenty-four-hour period, consuming it in smaller doses throughout the day.
This is because splitting your doses can reduce the chances of unwanted side effects, some of which include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dry mouth
For those using amitriptyline as an antidepressant, the medication works by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, improving users’ moods and helping to regulate their emotions.
Individuals using the substance for depression are usually given anywhere from 50 to 100 mg of the drug per day. However, the strength of amitriptyline can be upped to 150mg if a lower dose is ineffective, but this should always be done with the guidance of a medical professional.
Bearing this information in mind, you can come to a better conclusion about your own alcohol consumption. We would still always ask that you closely monitor your drinking habits to ensure that your intake does not fall into unsafe territory.
Dangers of mixing amitriptyline and alcohol
As mentioned above, users are advised to abstain from mixing alcohol and amitriptyline. This is because of the way the substances work in the body, and there are dangers associated with combining them.
As mentioned above, alcohol and amitriptyline are depressants. This means that both substances can induce sensations of drowsiness and poor coordination, often making users feel that they could easily fall asleep.
In fact, doctors often recommend that users take their amitriptyline half an hour before bed to ensure that this symptom does not interfere with the quality of their day. Therefore, when individuals mix both amitriptyline and alcohol at the same time, this can heighten the sensation of sleepiness, causing users to feel unnaturally tired and low in energy.
In some cases, users have experienced blackouts from this combination or even lost consciousness. For this reason, we would advise that users steer clear of this combination, or if they have already mixed both, that they abstain from operating heavy machinery or performing highly technical activities when it is in their system.
How much alcohol should I be drinking?
It is important to be mindful that there is no such thing as totally ‘safe’ drinking, and the best way to protect yourself would be to avoid alcohol entirely. This is because drinking, especially in large volumes, can pose serious consequences to users’ health and well-being. Not to mention that drinking can pose a high potential for addiction.
In fact, even users drinking in safe quantities can still fall victim to this dangerous and harmful condition; therefore, we would implore individuals to approach this substance with a great deal of caution and attention.
However, if totally abstaining from alcohol is not an option, the next best thing would be to find a safe drinking limit that is not hazardous to your health and well-being. We must remember that ‘safe drinking’ for one person may not be safe for another, and this will all come down to certain factors, which include:
- General state of health
Generally, alcohol guidelines suggest that adults drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This equals to about:
- Six medium glasses of wine
- Six pints of beer
- Seven 50ml measures of spirits (such as rum or whisky)
Yet, we would always recommend speaking with your GP for more details on how much alcohol your body can consume without risk.
Primrose Lodge can help
At Primrose Lodge, we endeavour to help any individual who requires some extra support in seeing the other side of their addiction once and for all. With a variety of holistic therapies, programmes and activities all designed to help them recover, we operate an excellent alcohol rehab service that supports our residents to start the road to recovery with the help of skilled professionals.
If you have consulted with the page above and are starting to question whether your alcohol use is a cause for concern, we would strongly recommend taking a closer look into alcohol addiction and ways to spot the signs in yourself or someone you love.
If you feel like you are ready to get help, or you have any further questions about mixing amitriptyline and alcohol, contact our friendly admissions team today, who can advise you further on your next steps.