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Is It Safe to Combine Gabapentin and Alcohol?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Gabapentin is a prescription drug used to help people suffering from seizures and nerve pain. This medication is helpful to many patients, but it may cause a variety of side effects. Patients wishing to consume alcohol while taking this medication should first speak to their doctor. Combining Gabapentin and alcohol has different effects on different people, so the decision to drink while taking this medication should be made on a case-by-case basis.

Some common side effects of gabapentin include blurred vision, drowsiness, dry mouth, memory issues and dizziness. These are some of the same side effects that can occur when a person drinks too much alcohol, even if he is not using gabapentin. A person who has just begun taking gabapentin should avoid alcoholic beverages until he determines which gabapentin side effects specifically affect him. Combining gabapentin with alcohol may intensify existing side effects of the medication. It also is possible that a person simply may not be able to tolerate alcohol the way he used to before beginning the medication, so a person drinking for the first time after starting gabapentin should drink lightly until the level of tolerance has been determined.

A person taking a low dose of gabapentin or a person who has been using gabapentin for a long time may be able to safely consume alcohol in moderation. Someone who wants to have an occasional cocktail while taking gabapentin should still go over any possible risks with his doctor. It is important for a patient to tell his doctor about every medication he is taking in addition to gabapentin. Mixing gabapentin and alcohol in small doses may be OK for some patients if gabapentin is the only medication they are using regularly. If a person is taking two or three other medications in addition to gabapentin, then there could be added risks and side effects.

Doctors may discourage certain groups of people to avoid combining gabapentin with alcohol more than others. Any person with a brittle bone disease and older individuals may want to avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication. A person fitting either of these descriptions may become uncoordinated when combining gabapentin and alcohol and could be injured more easily than others. Patients taking the medication who also suffer from an anxiety disorder also may want to steer clear of drinking alcohol. Both gabapentin and alcohol can increase a person's anxiety and put the person in danger of having an anxiety or panic attack.

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Discussion Comments
By Azuza — On Jan 04, 2013

@Pharoah - There are several different seizure medications out there. I have a friend with epilepsy, and she takes dilantin for her seizures. As far as I know she doesn't have any unpleasant side effects from the medication. I guess everyone reacts differently to things, so I'm sure some people go through several different medications before they find the one that works best for them.

By Pharoah — On Jan 03, 2013

It's pretty disturbing that the side effects of gabapentin make some people feel like they're drunk. I don't know if I would want to take a medication that made me feel like that all the time. It would be pretty difficult to function in regular life if you felt dizzy and out of it all the time.

On the other hand, I'm sure it's difficult to function if you're having seizures also. I wonder if there are other anti-seizure medications people can take if they don't like the gabapentin side effects.

By JessicaLynn — On Jan 03, 2013

@JaneAir - I bet your friend did some experimenting before he figured out how alcohol and gabapentin interacted for him. I think if it were me, I'd be scared to have even one drink if it affected me that much.

By JaneAir — On Jan 02, 2013

One of my friends has epilepsy and I'm pretty sure he takes gabapentin to combat seizures. I hardly ever see my friend drink, and the few times I saw him drink only one beer, he seemed very drunk afterward.

It seems like my friend is someone for whom gabapentin intensifies the affects of alcohol. It's probably a good thing my friend doesn't ever drink more than one beer. He would probably be dangerously drunk and unsteady if he did.

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