Mixing Gabapentin & Alcohol | Effects, Dangers, & Use In Alcohol Treatment
Combining medication with alcohol can lead to serious side effects. Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant and nerve pain medication, should not be taken while drinking alcohol because of increased effects like drowsiness and impairment.
Combining gabapentin with alcohol is not recommended for those struggling with alcohol abuse. Adverse effects may occur when gabapentin and alcohol are mixed due to the fact that they increase the other’s potency.
What Is Gabapentin?
Neurontin is the brand name for gabapentin, an anticonvulsant primarily used to help control seizures in those with epilepsy.
In addition to this, the molecular structure of this prescription medication is not unlike the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. This is why doctors have used the medication to focus on mental health, sometimes prescribing it for mood disorders such as bipolar disorder.
Gabapentin is also commonly used to treat nerve pain that persists from weeks to months after a person develops shingles. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is also a condition that may require gabapentin.
Alcohol can be extremely harmful to one’s health, especially for those who partake in binge drinking or excessive alcohol consumption. In fact, some serious repercussions of drinking can include:
- heart disease
- cirrhosis of the liver
- alcohol poisoning
- high blood pressure
- weakened immune system
Alcohol can cause cardiovascular problems as well as other long-term issues that can lead to life-threatening symptoms.
The Dangers Of Combining Gabapentin & Alcohol
Gabapentin and alcohol are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Because of this, the similar side effects of gabapentin and alcohol are significantly increased.
Some of these increased effects may include:
- unusual eye movements
- weight gain
- impaired coordination
Increased Risk Of Accidents
When a person is significantly impaired from mixing alcohol and gabapentin, the following accidents can occur:
- motor vehicle accidents
- black outs
Risk Of Substance Use Disorder
Combining prescription drugs with alcohol can lead to a substance use disorder. This is why you should always talk with your doctor before combining medications, especially when alcohol is involved.
Treating Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms With Gabapentin
Gabapentin works for certain health conditions and has been used in clinical trials as a form of addiction treatment. In the trials, gabapentin was used to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD) and alcohol dependence.
Although benzodiazepines are sometimes used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, gabapentin was considered for the study. While it may not be the drug of choice to treat alcohol addiction, gabapentin is still a drug that can help those dealing with other conditions.
If you’re concerned about your substance use or if you have questions regarding gabapentin, be sure to contact your healthcare provider or a treatment specialist for medical advice.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Alcohol’s Effects on the Body
National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Gabapentin
National Library of Medicine: PubMed - Gabapentin for the treatment of alcohol use disorder
National Library of Medicine: PubMed - Gabapentin Treatment for Alcohol Dependence: A Randomized Controlled Trial
The Journal of Neuroscience - Cellular and Behavioral Interactions of Gabapentin with Alcohol Dependence
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