Drinking alcohol while taking medications can cause several unsafe and potentially deadly side effects. One medication that people may sometimes take while they are using alcohol is Lyrica.

Lyrica, also called pregabalin, is a medication that helps with nerve pain and can prevent seizures. It acts by activating receptors within the brain and changing the way that signals are transmitted along nerves. As both alcohol and Lyrica affect similar receptors in the brain, combining them can lead to serious side effects.

Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Lyrica

Mixing alcohol and Lyrica creates side effects because of the way that they both act in the brain. While they do not work in the same way, their actions are similar enough that both of these substances will increase the effects of the other.

The symptoms that a person experiences when they have been drinking alcohol will be stronger with the same amount of alcohol use if they take Lyrica at the same time. It also means that if a person has side effects from Lyrica, they are likely to be worse if they drink alcohol, even if the dose is the same.

Common side effects of mixing Lyrica and alcohol include:

  • Sleepiness and dizziness: This side effect is the one most prominent in the warnings provided by the manufacturer of Lyrica and by the National Institute of Health (NIH). This sleepiness and dizziness can lead to a lack of coordination and sedation. It may also interfere with the ability to stay awake for important activities such as work.
  • Increased risk of injury: As the intoxicating effects of alcohol are increased and dizziness and sleepiness are added to these effects, the risk of injury becomes much greater. This risk is greatest when someone who is combining these substances is involved in a potentially dangerous activity, such as driving or swimming.
  • Onset or worsening of depression: A possible side effect of Lyrica that may occur when mixed with alcohol is depression. Alcohol has been known to contribute to depression in some people, and as these two substances increase the effects of each other, depression may become more pronounced. A person may even develop suicidal thoughts or actions. People who are most at risk for this serious side effect include those who have underlying depression or those who already sometimes experience depression as a side effect of alcohol or Lyrica use.

Key Points: Lyrica and Alcohol

Mixing Lyrica and alcohol can cause side effects that may be dangerous or lead to dangerous situations. Some of the dangers of mixing alcohol and Lyrica include:

  • Increased risk of sleepiness or dizziness
  • Decreased ability to participate in normal activities
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Depression
  • Risk of suicidal thoughts or actions

Avoid using alcohol and Lyrica together under any circumstances unless a physician says otherwise. Only use Lyrica to help with alcohol cravings if directed to do so by a doctor and in conditions where your doctor can monitor the effects of mixing these two substances.

There has been a small amount of research into using Lyrica to treat alcoholism, however, the use of Lyrica for alcoholism is not a typical treatment or a common use for Lyrica.

If you or a loved one struggle with Lyrica misuse or alcohol abuse or are taking these two substances within the same 24 hour period, don’t wait to seek professional help. The Recovery Village offers high-quality treatment for drug abuse and alcohol addiction. Reach out to one of our caring professionals today to see how we can help you start your road to recovery.

Medscape. “Pregabalin (Rx).” 2018. Accessed April 10, 2019.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol With Medicines.” 2014. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Lyrica.com. “Frequently Asked Questions.” 2019. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Martinotti, G, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Pregabalin in Alcohol Dependence.” Advances in Therapy, June 2008. Accessed April 10, 2019.