Taking the prescription medication gabapentin and alcohol in combination can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and problems with concentration and focus.
If your physician prescribes you gabapentin as an anticonvulsant, you should limit your alcohol consumption. If possible, avoid alcohol completely while taking this medication.
Using alcohol and gabapentin together will increase the likelihood of experiencing adverse side effects from the medication.
What Happens if You Drink Alcohol with Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is available in both branded and generic forms. An anticonvulsant, gabapentin is prescribed for the prevention and management of seizures. Physicians also prescribe gabapentin for nerve pain after an outbreak of shingles.
The various brands of gabapentin are approved for the FDA for the treatment of different conditions and are not interchangeable:
- Gralise: prescribed only for postherpetic nerve pain (pain after a shingles diagnosis).
- Neurontin: prescribed for the treatment of partial-onset seizures and for postherpetic nerve pain.
- Horizant: prescribed in extended-release form as supplementary therapy for partial-onset seizures and for postherpetic nerve pain.
Like most prescription medications, there is a risk of side effects when taking gabapentin. These include any of the following:
- Impaired coordination
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Abnormal eye movements
Less common side effects of this anticonvulsant include:
- Mood changes
- Depressive episodes
- Suicidal thoughts
Mixing gabapentin with alcohol can increase feelings of drowsiness and dizziness, as well as further impacting concentration. You should avoid performing any activities that require mental alertness or balance when combing alcohol with gabapentin.
Pfizer, the manufacturer of the form of gabapentin branded as Neurontin, advises against drinking alcohol or consuming other medications that trigger dizziness or drowsiness without first consulting your healthcare provider while taking Neurontin.
The Dangers of Gabapentin and Alcohol Use
If you mix gabapentin and alcohol, this can trigger the following serious side effects:
- Extreme fatigue
- Mood changes
- Behavioral changes
- Worsening depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Impaired bodily functions
- Respiratory distress
Using gabapentin long-term can also bring about physical dependence. If you subsequently discontinue use of the medications you will experience adverse withdrawal symptoms like confusion, anxiety, and possibly seizures.
While the side effects triggered by gabapentin are typically mild and fleeting, they can become much more pronounced when you combine the medication with alcohol.
Can you OD on gabapentin and alcohol, then?
Can You Overdose on Gabapentin and Alcohol?
Using either gabapentin or alcohol in isolation can cause depression of the CNS (central nervous system), as well as respiratory depression. Combining the substances can inflame either or both of these depressive effects.
CNS depressants slow down activity in the brain. These medications also frequently cause dizziness and drowsiness. Since both alcohol and gabapentin are depressants of the central nervous system, combining the substances can increase dizziness and drowsiness, increasing your risk of experiencing impairments or accidents. Using alcohol and gabapentin together also heightens the chance of seizures.
If combining alcohol and gabapentin triggers respiratory depression, your breathing could become so slow and shallow that it stops completely. A 2019 FDA Drug Safety Communication reports that the risk of respiratory depression is increased when gabapentin is used in combination with other CNS depressants, leading to potentially fatal overdose.
You should never abruptly stop using gabapentin, though, due to the heightened risk of seizures.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Help at California Detox
Whether you are addicted to prescription medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs, we have a variety of treatment programs here at California Detox to help you kickstart your recovery.
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Those with mild or moderate addictions might find outpatient treatment offers sufficient structure and support. In addition to OPs (traditional outpatient programs), you can also access IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) or PHPs (partial hospitalization programs) at our beachside treatment facility.
Before engaging with therapy, you must first detox from drink or drugs. Our supervised medical detox program can help reduce the intensity of both cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Both alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder respond positively to MAT (medication-assisted treatment). Several FDA-approved medications can alleviate cravings and inhibit further substance use. MAT is always most effective if delivered in combination with behavioral interventions. In addition to MAT, access the following evidence-based therapies at California Detox:
Take advantage of inpatient or outpatient rehab at our luxury Huntington Beach facility and move from active to addiction into ongoing recovery. Call admissions right now at 949.567.8790 for immediate assistance.