Drinking while taking Keppra can increase your risk of side effects and can increase the risk of seizure if you drink heavily.

When people take medicines, whether prescription or otherwise, they should be aware if interactions with other drugs or substances — like alcohol — are possible. One such example is alcohol and Keppra.

Alcohol and Keppra should not be used together. Keep reading for more information about Keppra, the relationship between alcohol and Keppra, and additional details about the side effects and withdrawal seizures related to this medicine.

What Is Keppra?

Keppra is a prescription medicine that is FDA-approved to control the symptoms of epilepsy, a condition where a person has repeated seizures. The type of seizure can vary from mild to severe. Keppra can also be used to treat alcohol withdrawal seizures.

Keppra is part of a class of drugs called antiepileptics and it’s believed they work by controlling certain chemicals in the brain to prevent seizures from happening. Sometimes Keppra is used alone but can be used in conjunction with other drugs. This anticonvulsant goes by the generic name levetiracetam, and it can be used in children and adults.

Mixing Alcohol & Keppra

Generally, it’s advised that you don’t take alcohol and Keppra at the same time. Both alcohol and Keppra affect the nervous system and they can heighten the side effects of each other.

For example, if you were to combine alcohol and Keppra you could impair your judgment and thinking, and experience extreme dizziness, drowsiness, and problems with concentration. People are advised to limit their drinking while they’re taking Keppra, particularly if they don’t know the effect it will have on them.

Keppra for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms & Detox

Keppra can be used to treat side effects and withdrawal seizures associated with alcohol detox. Keppra is just one of the potential anticonvulsants that may be used during alcohol detox to manage potential seizures that can occur, although other, more common, options are available.

With Keppra, one of the biggest risks is the possibility of mood swings and increases in suicidal thoughts. This is one reason why a medically supervised detox is so important during alcohol withdrawal. Your medical team can give you the medicines they think will be most appropriate for your symptoms, while also monitoring you for any potential adverse side effects of those medications.

Side Effects of Drinking on Keppra

There are a number of side effects associated with Keppra, one of the most serious being suicidal thoughts. Doctors warn patients to monitor their mood when they’ve been prescribed this medicine, to watch for any changes, and report them as they experience them. Keppra can also impair your reaction or confuse your thinking, so you should be aware of this if you take it and need to do something requiring you to be alert, like driving.

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or tendencies, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

If you become pregnant while taking Keppra, it’s important to continue using this medicine unless your doctor says otherwise. This is because having a seizure while pregnant can be extremely dangerous for your baby.

Outside of possible side effects of combining alcohol and Keppra, possible side effects of using Keppra can include:

  • Feeling drowsy or weak
  • Bruising
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Coordination problems
  • Problems with walking or movement
  • Skin reactions
  • Signs of infection

If any of these side effects become severe, it’s important that you seek medical attention right away.

Summing Up

To sum up, Keppra is an anti-seizure medicine. Alcohol and Keppra shouldn’t be used together because they can lead to intensified symptoms of intoxication, since both impact the central nervous system. There are some uses of Keppra to deal with the side effects and withdrawal seizures that come with alcohol detox, but this is something that should be monitored by a physician.

Nicole LaNeve
Editor – Nicole LaNeve
Nicole leads a team of passionate, experienced writers, editors and other contributors to create and share accurate, trustworthy information about drug and alcohol addiction, treatment and recovery for The Recovery Village and all Advanced Recovery Systems sites. Read more
Jessica Pyhtila
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more
Sources

Drugs.com. “Drug Interaction Report: Ethanol and Keppra.” n.d. Accessed August 14, 2021.

Drugs.com. “Keppra.” October 1, 2020. Accessed August 14, 2021.

Newman, RK; Gallagher, MAS; Gomez, AE. “Alcohol Withdrawal,” StatPearls, May 29, 2021. Accessed August 14, 2021.

Hammond, CJ; Niciu, MJ; Drew, S; Arias, AJ. “Anticonvulsants for the Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome and Alcohol Use Disorders,” CNS Drugs, January 9, 2018. Accessed August 14, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.