Alcohol and benzo's/ambien? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Alcohol and benzo's/ambien?


The meds I'm on:

300mg Lamictal
600mg Lithium
5mg Ambien (half a pill)
1mg Lorazepam

I've drank on the first three without much problem. I know drinking on Ambien can be bad for your liver so I try to keep my drinking fairly light. Thing is, I recently started taking a benzo (the Lorazepam) for sleep, and it's worked out pretty well. However, I know it's not a good idea to drink on that either (not so much for the liver part cause Lorazepam isn't metabolized by your liver).

How much do you think is safe to drink while on these? Over the course of a six-hour party (like the one tonight) I'll have maybe 12-15 beers. I hardly feel a buzz near the mid-end of it.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 12:17 PM
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Lorazepam has about 5-8x the half life of Ambien. So when you take an Ambien at night to fall asleep, by the next night when you want to drink, it will have been out of your system for hours. The Ativan, on the other hand, will STILL be in your system and with cause the alcohol to have a much stronger effect. I mixed the two of them once thinking I could handle it...and don't remember about 6 hours of the night.

If you take it only as needed and you are talking about the night after drinking, the alcohol + ambien + ativan does have potential to seriously depress your breathing and other vital functions. I doubt it would be lethal, but it isn't something I would really mess around with if I could avoid it. If you MUST drink, have a few less beers and ride the buzz for the last couple hours of the night before taking the ambien and ativan for sleep.

Edit- and also not feeling a buzz is part of alcohol's fun little trick where as the longer you stay drunk, the less drunk you feel, despite there being alcohol in your system. 12-15 beers in 6 hours equates to ~6-9 beers which is ~.12-.18 BAC. This means when you stop drinking your blood alcohol is still well above what is legally allowed as the driving limit. When you add the pills to it, even if you don't feel drunk, the alcohol is still in the mix to depress vital functions

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 12:43 PM
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im not sure what your definition of "hardly feel a buzz" is but a BAC of .15 is pretty damn drunk. Not to mention either ativan or ambien alone can potentiate impairment by untold amounts. I hope you feel like hearing stories of your adventure of which you have no recollection.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 12:52 PM
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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I should also mention that my alcohol tolerance is pretty high, so 12-15 beers really doesn't make me feel that drunk. I'm not sure if high tolerance to alcohol would make a difference. I just take such low doses of those drugs that I'm wondering just how bad it'll be.

Edit: And I can always scale back on those already-low doses (maybe .5mg lorazepam and no ambien) to compensate for the depressive effects of alcohol.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 49erJT View Post
Don't want to sound parental but this combination sounds very dangerous so you should probably ask your doctor/pharmacist this question...
That won't work. Doctors need to cover their asses by simply telling you not to do it, just in case you make a tremendously stupid decision involving alcohol and your medications. That way the patient can't say "the doctor said it would be okay." I've been told this by my psychiatrist himself.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 02:17 PM
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I should also mention that my alcohol tolerance is pretty high, so 12-15 beers really doesn't make me feel that drunk. I'm not sure if high tolerance to alcohol would make a difference. I just take such low doses of those drugs that I'm wondering just how bad it'll be.

Edit: And I can always scale back on those already-low doses (maybe .5mg lorazepam and no ambien) to compensate for the depressive effects of alcohol.
I've found tolerance doesnt make much a difference. I frequently raise my BAC to .40+. One time I took an ativan hours before drinking. I think I made it six beers and a couple shots in before I completely lost all my memory. Much, much, much less than my usual ~30 drink equivalents a night.

Just a fair warning.

Diagnosis: SAD, GAD, Bipolar II

Meds: Wellbutrin SR 2x 150mg/day, Klonopin 0.5mg 3x/day, Celexa 10mg PRN, Seroquel 50-100mg PRN

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Stopped Meds: Atenolol 75mg/day, Ativan 0.5mg PRN
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Memory loss is not an issue I really care about. Usually friends tell me if I did anything stupid, and I ask them afterwards anyway. I just don't want to get, uh, hospitalized or anything :P
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 03:27 PM
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Memory loss is not an issue I really care about. Usually friends tell me if I did anything stupid, and I ask them afterwards anyway. I just don't want to get, uh, hospitalized or anything :P
That same night I also fell asleep in a chair, and it took my friends 15 minutes to wake me up. I would not move. Like I said: be careful.

Diagnosis: SAD, GAD, Bipolar II

Meds: Wellbutrin SR 2x 150mg/day, Klonopin 0.5mg 3x/day, Celexa 10mg PRN, Seroquel 50-100mg PRN

Failed Meds (so far...): Zoloft, Celexa (daily), Buspar

Stopped Meds: Atenolol 75mg/day, Ativan 0.5mg PRN
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Well, you didn't take the ativan until a couple hours before drinking. The last one I took was 17 hours ago and I don't plan to take one for sleeping later tonight if I don't have to. You're not supposed to take benzos every day anyway from what I hear.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 04:32 PM
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Well, you didn't take the ativan until a couple hours before drinking. The last one I took was 17 hours ago and I don't plan to take one for sleeping later tonight if I don't have to. You're not supposed to take benzos every day anyway from what I hear.
If you took it 17 hours ago, that means that ~1/3 of that dose is still in your system right now. Even the short-acting benzos stick with you for a while.

And you are correct. You aren't technically supposed to take them every day. In practice, it is quite different though. I am prescribed ativan as needed, and just started daily klonopin

Edit- Once again, all I am doing is urging caution. I thought I was being cautious and it still knocked me on my ***. For one night take it a little easier, and just be aware of how it affecting you. From the doses, it won't kill you, and 99% sure it wont hospitalize you. But it is always better to err on the side of safety. You can always get drunk another day once you know how it all mixes

Diagnosis: SAD, GAD, Bipolar II

Meds: Wellbutrin SR 2x 150mg/day, Klonopin 0.5mg 3x/day, Celexa 10mg PRN, Seroquel 50-100mg PRN

Failed Meds (so far...): Zoloft, Celexa (daily), Buspar

Stopped Meds: Atenolol 75mg/day, Ativan 0.5mg PRN
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius View Post
The meds I'm on:

300mg Lamictal
600mg Lithium
5mg Ambien (half a pill)
1mg Lorazepam

I've drank on the first three without much problem. I know drinking on Ambien can be bad for your liver so I try to keep my drinking fairly light. Thing is, I recently started taking a benzo (the Lorazepam) for sleep, and it's worked out pretty well. However, I know it's not a good idea to drink on that either (not so much for the liver part cause Lorazepam isn't metabolized by your liver).

How much do you think is safe to drink while on these? Over the course of a six-hour party (like the one tonight) I'll have maybe 12-15 beers. I hardly feel a buzz near the mid-end of it.
Drinking one beer on a benzo = 3 beers. Your hitting the same receptors or similar receptors with 2 drugs. They both effect the GABAa receptors. It's a bad idea to combine the two.

And your liver won't be very happy!!

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Lorazepam isn't metabolized by the liver. It's actually given to people going through alcohol withdrawal to ease the process.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 05:29 PM
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Lorazepam isn't metabolized by the liver. It's actually given to people going through alcohol withdrawal to ease the process.
Lorazaepam is metabolized in phase two in the liver. Not in phase one which can cause liver damage or is contraindicated with people that have cirrhosis or hepatitis etc. But it is metabolized in the liver!!!

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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*shrug* my point is that the liver won't be adversely harmed.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Well I had 12 beers over the course of like 7 hours and took half a pill of Ambien + half a pill of Lorazepam and nothing bad happened either during the party or after.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 03:50 PM
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Cheers mate!!!

- The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.
- There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.- Leonard Cohen
- The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.- Ernest Hemingway
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