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Alcohol and Health

Dangers of Mixing Latuda and Alcohol

April 17, 2024
17 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
April 17, 2024
17 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
April 17, 2024
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
April 17, 2024
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Reframe Content Team
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Why You Shouldn’t Mix Alcohol and Latuda

  • Latuda is an antipsychotic medication with antidepressant effects. When combined with alcohol, it can increase our risk of complications like respiratory depression and overdose.
  • It’s best to avoid drinking while taking medications for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. 
  • If you need help quitting alcohol, Reframe offers 24/7 support and educational programming that can help you.

Sitting in your psychiatrist’s office, you may feel nervous about starting a new prescription. After all, there’s a learning curve with any medication, especially when you’re trying to manage conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. What can you do while taking these prescriptions? What should you avoid? Can you even drink alcohol anymore? Let’s explore Latuda, its side effects, and its contraindications.

What Is Latuda?

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Available under the generic name lurasidone hydrochloride, Latuda is a popular antipsychotic medication designed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It’s especially helpful for battling bouts of bipolar depression — the weeks-long lows you may experience from time to time.

Latuda works by blocking the action of certain dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. This balances the levels of these neurotransmitters. Reducing excess dopamine alleviates psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, while enhancing serotonin activity regulates our mood. Additionally, blocking certain serotonin receptors improves cognition and reduces psychosis.

To summarize: by altering our serotonin and dopamine levels, Latuda (lurasidone) acts as an antidepressant and antipsychotic.

Latuda Side Effects

Unlike many antipsychotics, Latuda leaves most other receptors alone, meaning that we’re a bit less likely to experience serious complications like cognitive impairment, weight gain, and oversedation. However, we may still experience side effects after starting this medication:

  • Irritability and impulsivity
  • Nausea and difficulty swallowing
  • Insomnia and drowsiness
  • Dizziness and disorientation
  • Risk of overheating
  • Muscle stiffness and jerking motions
  • Restlessness or slow, molasses-like movements
  • Depression and suicidal ideation

Latuda side effects: long-term, they vary from person to person. We might observe instances of involuntary movement (tardive dyskinesia) and metabolic change. Discontinuing the medication may result in Latuda withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and dizziness. We shouldn’t try to stop taking the drug on our own — instead, it’s best to seek medical advice before making any changes.

Some side effects are a warning sign that something is very wrong. High blood sugar can be a major concern, especially for those of us with diabetes. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include confusion, frequent urination, excessive hunger or thirst, nausea, weakness, and fruit-scented breath. If your blood sugar levels seem to change after starting Latuda, or if you begin to have thoughts of suicide, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

How To Avoid Alcohol While Taking Latuda

Latuda Contraindications

Whenever we start a new medication, it’s important to be aware of how it will interact with other substances we eat or use. Antibiotics, antifungals, herbs (especially cannabis and St. John’s Wort), and even grapefruit can influence the effects of lurasidone hydrochloride. To prevent any problems, tell your doctor about all over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are currently taking.

It’s also important to be aware of how lifestyle choices will interact with Latuda. For example, since Latuda reduces our ability to regulate our body temperature, we should avoid dehydration, heavy exercise, and prolonged sun exposure to avoid overheating.

Drinking on lurasidone hydrochloride can also be a bad idea. Let’s explore the relationship between Latuda and alcohol, how these substances interact with one another, and the potential risks of combining them.

Alcohol, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar Disorder

First, we need to consider the conditions Latuda is prescribed for and how alcohol can impact them. Those of us with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia may be more likely to drink heavily than the general population, which places us at increased risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Alcohol is the most misused substance among people diagnosed with schizophrenia. In fact, an estimated 24% to 36% of those diagnosed with schizophrenia have struggled with alcohol use disorder. The numbers are similar in the bipolar population — over 46% of those with bipolar disorder meet the criteria for AUD.

Schizophrenia and Alcohol Use Disorder

Ongoing alcohol misuse can worsen the symptoms of people with schizophrenia, placing us at increased risk of depression, suicidality, aggression, and acts of violence. Additionally, it heightens the likelihood of medication nonadherence, meaning that we probably won’t take our antipsychotics on time. This reduces the efficacy of our meds and may cause a resurgence of delusions or visual and auditory hallucinations.

Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol Misuse

If we’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, especially if we have hallmarks of treatment-resistant bipolar, we should be mindful of our alcohol use. Research shows that AUD exposes those of us with this condition to risks like rapid cycling, mixed mania, frequent hospitalizations, and slower recovery from our symptoms.

Now that we understand how drinking can impact our underlying conditions, let’s explore the interaction of alcohol and Latuda.

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Latuda

While there is limited research about how drinking affects those of us taking Latuda, the available information paints an unsettling picture. Everyone will be affected by both lurasidone hydrochloride and alcohol differently; however, many trends have emerged.

Respiratory Depression and Overdose Risk

Both alcohol and Latuda are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. This means they suppress automatic functions like breathing and the beating of our heart. Combining these drugs multiplies their depressant effects, which increases our risk of respiratory depression: slow, shallow breathing that may stop entirely.

Although respiratory depression is the main factor behind many overdoses, taking too much Latuda can also trigger seizures, low blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. These potentially fatal consequences should be top of mind when we think about drinking while on our antipsychotic. If you begin experiencing these symptoms, contact the poison control center at 800-222-1222 or call 911.

Double Depressants

CNS depressants also affect our cognitive abilities. Mixing Latuda and alcohol may slow brain activity, increasing feelings of sedation and reducing our ability to make well-reasoned decisions. All told, CNS depressants can weaken our problem-solving skills, blunt our emotions, slow our processing speed, and impair our concentration. They might also increase our risk of delirium, leaving us dizzy and disoriented.

Orthostatic Hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension is an abrupt drop in blood pressure that happens when standing: if you’ve ever felt dizzy after suddenly changing positions, you’ve probably experienced it. As mentioned, Latuda can affect our blood pressure, which increases our chances of balance/stability-altering issues like orthostatic hypotension.

Unexpected Side Effects

Even if we’ve taken Latuda for months or years, adding new substances to the mix can surprise us. Alcohol may enhance certain side effects of this drug, including confusion, nausea, and dizziness. As a result, tasks that aren’t usually difficult for us — like driving our car on familiar roadways or walking around the house — may become incredibly challenging, increasing our risk of accidents, falls, and other injury-causing incidents.

How To Avoid Alcohol While Taking Latuda

Fortunately, with some lifestyle changes and a dash of professional help, we can successfully avoid alcohol while taking Latuda. If you’re sober curious, consider trying one or more of these 10 actionable tips.

  1. Remind yourself of your priorities. What are your greatest priorities? Mental wellness? A sense of emotional balance? No more hallucinations? Writing out your priorities and taping that list in an obvious place (like a bathroom mirror or refrigerator) can reinforce our decision to avoid alcohol while on Latuda.

  2. Cope differently. Meditation, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, and creative outlets are all great ways to deal with life’s challenges — all without alcohol.

  3. Try boozeless alternatives. Craving a fun bev? Substitute mocktails, smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, herbal teas, and other non-alcoholic beverages for that after-work glass of wine. Sometimes we’re more attached to the ritual than the drink, so whip one up that doesn’t interact with Latuda.

  4. Set financial goals. It’s no secret that alcohol costs us a lot of money. If you’re having a hard time getting started on your alcohol journey, calculating your expenses and setting financial goals can help you muster the motivation to quit or cut back.

  5. Stay busy. Fill your hours with engaging activities like painting, gentle exercise, museum trips, catching up with friends, playing with pets, or volunteering. The busier you are, the less time you’ll spend thinking about drinking.
  6. Focus on living well. Self-care is key to both sobriety and mental health. Prioritizing sleep, nutrition, physical activity, stress management, and socializing with others can give you the peace and clarity you need to achieve your goals.
  7. Clear out your bar cart. It’s hard to stay on track with substances in the house. If your home is brimming with beverages you’d rather avoid, consider donating them to friends and family. That way, you don’t have to deal with the temptation of on-hand alcohol.

  8. Learn how to deal with triggers. For some of us, drinking is a near-automatic response after encountering triggers, which are people, places, and events we associate with alcohol use. If you feel compelled to drink, note it in a journal or contact a supportive friend to better understand that feeling.

  9. Find folks who understand. Not everyone will understand your experiences with alcohol, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, but someone will. Seek out local or virtual support groups full of people who know what you’re going through — for example, the 24/7 Forum available through Reframe. These folks will be your biggest supporters. They can also offer advice when times are tough because they’ve been in the same situation before.
  10. Talk to professionals. Alcohol use disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia all require treatment from credentialed experts. If you’re struggling with one or more of these conditions, talk to a therapist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional.

It will take some time and consistent effort, but applying any of these tips will be a step toward a healthier, happier life.

Ready for Relief?

If your psychiatrist recommends Latuda, have an open and honest conversation with them about your lifestyle, including how much you drink. This medication can be incredibly effective for managing bipolar depression and schizophrenia, but its interaction with alcohol may pose a risk to your health and safety. Drinking while on Latuda can increase the risk of severe side effects, respiratory depression, and overdosing. However, for some of us, it’s the best medication for hallucinations, delusions, and depressive episodes.

If you’re ready to rethink your relationship with alcohol in preparation to start taking Latuda, Reframe can help. Our proven alcohol cessation app offers the support and scientific backing you need to make a sustainable, lasting change.

Summary FAQs

1. What is Latuda used for?

Latuda is used for the treatment of schizophrenia (specifically hallucinations and delusions) and bipolar depression.

2. Why can't you drink alcohol on antipsychotics?

Antipsychotics alter your brain chemistry. Many of them are CNS depressants, which increase your risk of respiratory and cardiac depression.

3. Can you drink alcohol while on Latuda?

It’s safest to avoid alcohol while drinking Latuda.

4. How much alcohol can you drink while on antipsychotics?

Experts recommend that we entirely abstain from alcohol while taking antipsychotic medications.

5. Does alcohol cancel out antipsychotics?

Yes, alcohol can reduce the efficacy of antipsychotics.

6. Can you drink alcohol with any other bipolar medications?

It is safest to avoid drinking while taking any bipolar medications.

7. Does alcohol make bipolar depression worse?

Yes, alcohol is a depressant, and it can worsen bipolar depression.

Ready To Focus on Your Health? Reframe Can Help!

If you need to cut out alcohol so you can safely take Latuda, try Reframe! Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 forum and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today! 

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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