Mixing Alcohol and Neurontin Side Effects, Interactions and Blackouts

Neurontin is a brand name drug that is also sold in a generic form called gabapentin. Neurontin is prescribed to treat partial seizures related to epilepsy. It’s also used to treat neuropathic pain and restless leg syndrome. Neurontin is used to treat nerve pain conditions that include diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia and central neuropathic pain. Off-label Neurontin uses include the treatment of insomnia, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder. Neurontin is classified as an anticonvulsant drug and is believed to affect the calming neurotransmitter GABA in the central nervous system. Neurontin is not currently classified as a controlled substance in the U.S.

Common side effects of Neurontin include dizziness and sleepiness, largely because it has a depressant effect on the central nervous system. Neurontin side effects can also include sexual dysfunction, such as loss of libido, inability to achieve orgasm and erectile dysfunction. In 2009, the FDA required that the drug’s packaging reflect the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors that can occur. This can cause serious withdrawal symptoms if someone stops using it suddenly.

Due to the effects of Neurontin and the fact that it’s not a controlled substance and is relatively easy to get, recreational abuse of the drug has risen in recent years. On the streets, Neurontin and gabapentin are referred to as “Johnnies.” Neurontin can cause feelings of euphoria or pleasant relaxation. These effects are heightened when Neurontin is combined with other substances, such as opioid pain medications. When people regularly use Neurontin, dependence may form.

Mixing Alcohol and Neurontin (Gabapentin) Side Effects, Interactions and Blackouts

It’s relatively common for people to combine alcohol and Neurontin. The two substances are potentiators of one another, meaning that they heighten each other’s effects. Unfortunately, this can be a dangerous or deadly combination. Neurontin, on its own, has a low overdose risk. However, the risk is greatly increased when the drug is combined with alcohol. Someone who mixes alcohol and Neurontin may display side effects of extreme intoxication. These side effects can include loss of coordination, drowsiness, dizziness and confusion. Someone who is mixing alcohol and Neurontin may experience memory loss or blackouts, blurred vision, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting.

Fatal overdose is also possible when people mix alcohol and Neurontin. Both substances can slow breathing, causing a dangerous or deadly slowdown in the heart rate. Someone who is using alcohol and Neurontin together may lose consciousness and choke on their own vomit as well. Both alcohol and Neurontin can cause changes in thinking, mood and behavior. Someone who is mixing alcohol and Neurontin may display erratic behavior or may engage in dangerous activities. Mixing alcohol and Neurontin can also increase the chance of experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, which is already a side effect of Neurontin on its own.

In addition to the risks of extreme intoxication, blackouts and fatal overdose, there are other risks associated with mixing alcohol and Neurontin. There is a high potential for developing a polysubstance dependence and addiction. This is a scenario in which someone is both physically and psychologically dependent on more than one substance simultaneously. This makes it more challenging to detox from each substance and it can also require specialized addiction treatment. It is never advisable to mix alcohol and Neurontin. This practice can result in harmful physical symptoms as well as addiction and dependence.

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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.