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Anti-Depressants and Food

Hi All,

I am holding a dinner party and my boyfriend's brother in law is taking anti-depressants....While I know that probably means I shouldn't put out our best bottles of wine, is there anything else the drug does in terms of food. Does anybody know? Does it numb certain tastes?...I'm sorry if that's a dumb question, but rather look dumb to all of you than make anyone feel uncomfortable. Thanks for your help!

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  1. It's sweet of you to ask, but why would his medication affect his ability to drink good wine? If he can't drink, he can't drink. People are probably more likely to be taste-impaired from a cold than they are antidepressants. Some antidepressants make some people a little more sensitive to alcohol, at least early on, but that's true of lots of drugs. Don't sweat it; it's not like you're pushing alcohol at an alcoholic. You're not going to make him uncomfortable unless you draw attention to his prescription or private medical history. It's just another prescription drug.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Vetter

      Half the country (or more) is taking anti-depressants, and yes, it is very nice of you to worry, but Vetter's right. You aren't supposed to drink on a lot of anti-depressants, but that is your brother-in-law's responsibility, not yours. just have other options on hand for him. But if he decides to drink (and I know a lot of people who do mix), he isn't going to have a fit at your dinner table - sorry if that's flip, but i meant that as far as i know, most antidepressants will not induce a violently sick reaction - at most, the wine renders the antidepressant less or non effective. but i think even that is only on an ongoing basis, not just after one evening.

      1. re: Vetter

        Actually...this is more about food than wine...I thought that you can't mix antidepressants with Alcohol so that's why I said that. I thought that much I knew. My question is more about how it affects the brain when it comes to food. Does it dumb it down so to speak? Does the flavors get lost with food, kinda like you have a cold, because it is a suppressant and if it affects emotions and highs and lows and feelings does it impede the way one tastes?

        1. re: lulubean

          Actually, I am on Zoloft (have been for about a month and a half), 50 mil, and I have noticed a change in my appetite. I can't eat as much, or as many rich foods, as I have in the past, and I love most everything. However, I'm also going through menopause, have a lot of stress, etc. I guess, what I'm trying to say is, you never know what's going on with other people, and trying to guess what they can eat, and should eat, other than obvious things like potentially dangerous food allergies, is just almost impossible. Just do the best you can, and he will decide what, and how much, he can eat. AND drink.

        2. I'm a pharmacist, and the classic 'do not drink with this' referring to anti-depressants is primarily with MAO-I old school anti-depressants. It is not good to have high tyramine foods (wine, cheese, beer, etc.) with those type of anti-depressants; however, we don't really use those much anymore. Zoloft and Prozac and the such are newer SSRI anti-depressants. Without delving into his medical history, it'd be hard to know which one he's on. If I was betting, I'd say it was the newer ones (as it seems about 40% of my customers are on them). I'd probably just be safe and ask if he has any diet restrictions.

          I'm not gonna say you should drink with any medication, just freakin ask BEFORE you do.

          8 Replies
          1. re: drdelicious

            I'm surprised it's only 40% newer anti-depressants where you're at. Where I am, I see primarily SSRIs, some tricyclics, wellbutrin, and SNRIs, and almost never any MAOIs. Guess it just depends what's popular near you.

            But yeah, to the OP - Dr delicious is right - you won't know unless you ask. If you're not close enough with him to ask comfortably, you can always provide an array of food and let your guest pick whichever are good by him - you'll be fine as long as you don't serve nothing but wine, cheese, and forcemeats.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              I read that as "40 percent of his customers are on anti-depressants" not "40 percent of people who are on antidepressants are on the newer ones" -- which sounds pretty much in line with the recent statistics I've heard about antidepressant use. Me, I can't function without my Welbutrin, and yes I can drink with it and no I don't have any food restrictions.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                That does make a lot more sense now that i read it that way. Prescribing trends vary place to place, but I would be pretty surprised to find a place where MAOIs are still the majority.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Sorry - yeah, that's what I meant... like, the city should consider putting it in the water... along with sleeping meds. They seem to go together.

              2. re: drdelicious

                since we will generally not know what meds our friends and family take unless they go on and on ad infinitum/nauseum assume people know if they can or can't drink or eat grapefruit (common with some statins) or have other dietary restrictions just like anyone else coming to dinner - ask.

                1. re: smartie

                  This is one of my real bugaboos. Just ask. I don't think I have ever invited someone over for the first time and not asked some version of "Is there anything that you can't or would prefer not to eat?" KISS - keep it simple, stupid :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I ask 'is there anything you prefer?' I also like to cook a spread so there's plenty to choose from. I realized once I made some fabulous margaritas for my guests who were mucisians, only to turn out some were on methadone and were very sick because they didn't realize how much tequila I used. Lesson leared.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      That's the easiest...and it also gives a chance for them to give you some guidance without coming out an saying "I'm a recovering alcoholic - I'm Muslim - I'm a vegetarian".

                      All that matters is what the no-no's are...WHY isn't the issue (even if it's bizarre mental hangup about something).

                2. For some people, anti-depressants seem to inhibit their will power when it comes to dieting, so if anything, he may enjoy it more. And as drdelicious points out, there's lots of folks taking them. In my ICU experience, it's mostly large quantities of both that get folks into trouble. Have your party and let him handle it.

                  1. By all means, ask all invitees if they have dietary restrictions if that makes you more comfortable as a host. Barring any, put out your best bottles and some good chilled water, (I always have both on the table anyway), prepare the meal of your choice, and enjoy! Heaven only knows what meds other guests youv'e had have been taking. Unless it matters, it doesn't matter.

                    You're sweet to care. Just throw your usual great party and have fun. :)

                    1. Antidepressants shouldn't affect his experience of food. Agree with others that suggest that you simply ask him, as well as the other guests, if they have any dietary restrictions.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Nicole

                        And just to reiterate: there are many kinds of anti-depressants that are chemically very different and that work in the body in different ways, so just knowing that someone is "on anti-depressants" is virtually meaningless from the standpoint of food/drug interactions.

                      2. Most people are private (thankfully) about their medications and ailments, and as curteous as you want to be, you should go about your party planning as usual and BIL is responsible for learning / practicing his no-can-do's, if any.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Veggo

                          I agree. I also think it would be weird to change a menu drastically as a result of the medicine change. Presumably the BIL doesn't want the whole world to know he's on anti-depressants and any major/unexpected changes to the normal party practice would bring attention to that. If there is a change in his dietary restrictions, it's his responsibility to tell you. I would feel really awkward if someone came up to me and said "I know you're on X medicine now, can you eat the same as you did before?"

                          1. re: queencru

                            Exactly! I don't want to do that. I didn't. Dinner is tomorrow. I thought that anti depressants affect TASTE....maybe it numbs the senses some way..but none of you said that was your experience. You are also right in that I can't worry about it either way. It's 5 against 1. I will just pull out my best dishes, have fun with it and enjoy it. No use over thinking...Thank you all! :o)

                              1. re: lulubean

                                Let us know how everything turned out...

                          2. I was on antidepressants at one time and the doctor said 'yes, you can drink in moderation'... we had a dinner party and I proceeded to get stark staring drunk - on half a glass of white wine! Not much fun for any of us...

                            Why don't you just ask your boyfriend to find out if there are any dietary restrictions in the dinner party? Most meds are fine with food, but if he's taking an old-fashioned MAOI then he needs to watch out for things like grapefruit juice and aged cheese. They can interact with the food to cause a dangerous reaction, but it's not supposed to be a problem with the newer meds.