Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) Interaction With Alcohol

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not there is an interaction between Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) and alcohol (including beer, wine and liquor).

Jul 26, 2018

Sammy asked

Can you take drink alcohol while taking Pristiq?


There is no documented interaction between Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) and alcohol in terms of one affecting the other. However, there is a risk of additive side effects, especially if you are just starting out on Pristiq. Potential additive side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset

It would be prudent to avoid or at the very least, limit alcohol consumption when you first start Pristiq, so you can assess how you tolerate the medication. As a side note, we when say "alcohol", that includes all alcoholic beverages including beer, wine and liquor.

Lastly, the prescribing information for Pristiq states the following regarding alcohol use with the drug:

"A clinical study has shown that desvenlafaxine [Pristiq] does not increase the impairment of mental and motor skills caused by ethanol. However, as with all CNS-active drugs, patients should be advised to avoid alcohol consumption while taking PRISTIQ."

So, while studies show that alcohol does not increase any mental or motor skill impairment that may occur with Pristiq, alcohol consumption in general is recommended to be avoided. There could still be a risk of other side effects such as nausea and dizziness.

In addition, consuming alcohol with drugs working in the CNS (central nervous system), like Pristiq, could also have effects we don't fully understand. For instance, alcohol consumption is associated with changes in several neurotransmitters in the brain. As Pristiq affects serotonin and norepinephrine, there could theoretically be conflicting effects (although this has not been shown in any study in regard to Pristiq specifically).

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