Drinking while taking gabapentin should be avoided as it can increase your risks of side effects like dizziness, drowsiness and difficulty concentrating.

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

While taking gabapentin, keep your doctor informed of your alcohol use and any prescription and non-prescription drugs you’re taking, and report any side effects you experience.

Article at a Glance

  • Gabapentin is a prescription drug commonly used to treat nerve pain.
  • Gabapentin is occasionally prescribed to help people stop drinking when they struggle with alcohol.
  • Mixing alcohol and gabapentin can increase your risk of side effects like dizziness, drowsiness and concentration problems.
  • Inform your doctor if you drink alcohol while taking gabapentin due to the interaction between these substances.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a generic prescription drug and central nervous system depressant sometimes sold under brand names like Gralise, Horizant and Neurontin. Although initially developed as a seizure medication, gabapentin is currently more frequently prescribed to treat nerve pain from diabetes or shingles.

Gabapentin has been around for almost 30 years, but doctors are still unsure how the medication achieves its effects on the body.

Gabapentin is available as tablets, capsules and an oral solution and can be taken with or without food. This medication’s dosage depends on what you are being treated for.

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

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred/double vision
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Tremors

A few patients have reported mood changes, such as thoughts of suicide and depression. If you experience any side effects while taking gabapentin, talk to your doctor to ensure this is the right prescription.

Gabapentin Interactions With Alcohol 

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

Gabapentin is sometimes prescribed to those who struggle with alcohol and want to quit drinking. Although not a first-line agent, experts recommend considering gabapentin at 900–1800 mg daily doses for those who want to stop drinking and cannot take other medications.

Keep your doctor informed of your alcohol use while on gabapentin so they can monitor any possible side effects and interactions specific to you.

Summing Up: Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol With Gabapentin

Drinking alcohol while taking gabapentin can increase the chances of dizziness and drowsiness. Since alcohol is a depressant and gabapentin affects the nervous system, it only makes the combination more likely to affect you adversely. Alcohol consumption should be limited or avoided 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.

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By – Theresa Valenzky
Theresa Valenzky graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in News/Mass Media Communication and a certificate in psychology. She is passionate about providing genuine information to encourage and guide healing in all aspects of life. Read more
Jessica Pyhtila
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: gabapentin, ethanol“>Drug Int[…]ntin, ethanol.” Accessed November 1, 2022. 

 

Drugs.com. “Gabapentin“>Gabapentin.” December 3, 2020. Accessed November 1, 2022. 

 

Peckham, Alyssa M.; Evoy, Kirk E.; Ochs, Leslie; Covvey, Jordan R. “Gabapentin for Off-Label Use: Evidence-Based or Cause for Concern?“>Gabapent[…] for Concern?” Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, September 23, 2018. Accessed November 1, 2022. 

American Psychiatric Association. “Practice Guideline for the Pharmacological Treatment of Patients With Alcohol Use Disorder“>Practice[…] Use Disorder.” 2018. Accessed November 1, 2022.

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.