Drinking alcohol while taking the prescription gabapentin can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Patients are advised to avoid alcohol or limit the use of alcohol while taking this medication due to the likelihood of these side effects.

Keep your doctor informed of your alcohol use while taking gabapentin, as well as any prescription and non-prescription drugs you’re taking, and report any side effects you may experience.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is the brand name for the generic prescription gabapentin. Doctors prescribe this anticonvulsant to prevent and control seizures. It’s also used to treat nerve pain following an outbreak of shingles.

Although doctors aren’t exactly sure how gabapentin works in the body, its structure is like the neurotransmitter in the brain called GABA. Gabapentin is thought to change the way these neurochemicals communicate with one another, achieving the desired result.

Gabapentin is available in pill form and can be taken either with or without food. The dosage of this anticonvulsant depends on what you are being treated for.

As with most prescription medications, gabapentin carries with it a risk of side effects. These may include:

  1. Drowsiness
  2. Dizziness
  3. Loss of coordination
  4. Tiredness
  5. Blurred/double vision
  6. Unusual eye movements
  7. Tremors

A small number of patients have reported mood changes, such as thoughts of suicide and depression. If you experience any side effects at all while taking gabapentin, talk to your doctor to make sure this is the right prescription for you.

Mixing Alcohol And Gabapentin

As mentioned above, mixing alcohol with gabapentin can lead to increased dizziness, drowsiness, and trouble concentrating. Avoid any activities requiring balance or mental alertness while taking gabapentin with alcohol.

A recent study has been conducted on the effectiveness of anticonvulsants in alcoholics to reduce cravings and wean the alcoholic off alcohol. The study didn’t show any proof that these anticonvulsants have any effect on the cravings of an alcoholic; however, it did show that the combination was tolerated.

Still, keep your doctor informed of your alcohol use while on gabapentin so they can monitor any possible side effects specific to you.

Summing Up: Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol with Gabapentin

Drinking alcohol while taking gabapentin will probably increase the chances of dizziness and drowsiness. The fact that alcohol is a depressant and gabapentin affects the nervous system only makes the combination more likely to adversely affect you, so avoid or limit alcohol consumption while taking gabapentin.

Be honest with your doctor about your habits with alcohol and any drugs you are taking when you’re discussing using gabapentin because you want to avoid or lessen unwanted effects from the combination of the two.

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.