What Happens When You Mix Gabapentin and Alcohol? Side Effects and Dangers

Table of Contents

In This Article: 

  • Gabapentin is safe to use as directed, but it can cause several mild to severe side effects
  • Combining alcohol and gabapentin can increase the severity of certain side effects of both, such as drowsiness
  • If you take gabapentin, you should avoid drinking alcohol and get professional help if you are struggling with an alcohol addiction

Gabapentin is considered a safe medication to take if you use it as prescribed. However, this medication can have potentially dangerous interactions with other substances, including alcohol. In some cases, these interactions can result in medical emergencies. If you take gabapentin, it’s important to understand why you should avoid mixing this medication with alcohol.

Mixing Gabapentin And Alcohol

Gabapentin might only cause a few mild side effects, especially when you first start taking it. Even if you experience short-term side effects that aren’t severe, you should be aware of how drinking alcohol may change this. When you consume alcohol while taking gabapentin, you have an increased risk of experiencing heightened or stronger side effects. In some cases, this can lead to dangerous situations, such as becoming extremely drowsy while driving.

Keep in mind that both gabapentin and alcohol are also associated with changes in mood and cognitive function. Combining these substances could result in severe mood changes or poor decision-making. Mixing alcohol and gabapentin could also put you at risk of having life-threatening medical emergencies. For example, both cause your breathing to become slower. Combining these substances could cause your breathing to become dangerously slow, putting your life at risk.

What Is Gabapentin (Neurontin)?

Gabapentin, which is prescribed under the brand name Neurontin, is an anticonvulsant medication used to help manage epileptic seizures. This medication is also used for treating pain that occurs due to shingles, which can last for several months or years after this illness. Gabapentin has other uses as well, including managing the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Gabapentin reduces brain activity associated with seizures in those who have epilepsy. This medication affects pain sensations in those who have had shingles, which helps reduce or ease burning pain, tingling, and other types of discomfort resulting from this illness. The way that gabapentin helps manage restless leg syndrome is not fully understood. 

Gabapentin can cause several side effects that range from mild to severe, and many of these occur on a temporary basis. Some of the side effects that gabapentin can cause include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Involuntary shaking
  • Memory issues
  • Swelling in the lower legs, feet, ankles, or hands

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Dangers Of Combining Alcohol And Gabapentin

Combining alcohol and gabapentin can lead to the following side effects and possibly make them more intense:

  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Coordination problems
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Cognitive issues, such as confusion
  • Fatigue

Although the side effects of gabapentin alone might only be temporary and mild, they can become much more severe when you drink alcohol. You should avoid having alcohol while taking gabapentin, especially if you have been experiencing side effects.

Treatment Programs at Riverside Recovery of Tampa 

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, Riverside Recovery has help available. We offer compassionate and effective programs for alcohol addiction, such as medical detox, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), residential treatment, and varying levels of outpatient care. Our detox programs provide a way to safely go through detoxification from alcohol with medical monitoring. This helps ensure prompt medical care for withdrawal symptoms as needed.

Our MAT program offers safe detoxification and treatment for alcohol addiction. Our programs include medication to ease severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings, such as naltrexone, disulfiram, and acamprosate. This helps lower your risk of experiencing serious symptoms that require medical attention and reduces your risk of having a relapse. Medication is typically used in combination with other forms of treatment during MAT programs, such as behavioral therapy, to give you the tools needed for long-term recovery.

To get more information on our available alcohol addiction programs, please contact Riverside Recovery of Tampa. One of our admissions coordinators can provide you with additional details on our treatment programs and help you get started on working toward addiction recovery. Our screenings help determine the right type of addiction treatment program for you.



U.S. National Library of Medicine – Gabapentin