Gabapentin With Alcohol- An Unwanted Combination

gabapentin and alcohol
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Gabapentin is an amino acid in the class of medicines called anticonvulsants. It is an analog of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).

It is a prescription drug that is used to prevent and control seizures and is also used in neuropathic pain (Pain due to brain nerve damage, which usually occurs in diabetic patients)

What are GABA neurotransmitters?

GABA is the inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks specific brain signals, decreases the nervous system, and helps stabilize mood with reduced neuropathic pain. Gabapentin mechanism largely depends on these Neurotransmitters, it alters them.

How does Gabapentin Act?

The exact mechanism by which gabapentin acts on the body is still unknown; however, some studies and theories have revealed that it works by increasing extracellular GABA concentrations in some brain regions.

The mode of action of gabapentin in the treatment of neuropathic pain has not been fully elucidated. Although early studies indicated that gabapentin had only a central anti-allodynic effect (pain due to a stimulus that does not normally provoke pain). Gabapentin has been shown to inhibit electrical nerve impulses discharged from injured peripheral nerves.        

Why Do People Drink Alcohol Even With Medicine?

One of the reasons that people drink alcohol even with medicine are:

  1. They are addicts. (crave for alcohol)
  2. Some people take medicine mixed with alcohol because they want an intense sense of relaxation and a feeling of pleasure.
  3. People are ignorant of how dangerous it can be.

Why Should You Not Mix Gabapentin With Alcohol?

Gabapentin and alcohol are associated with changes in mood and mental abilities.

Combining these substances results in severe mood and behavioral changes, lack of focus, and poor decision-making. Alcohol and gabapentin also put you at risk of having life-threatening medical emergencies. It causes your respiration system to become slow. It can also decrease the normal breathing pattern into dangerously slow even death. In a nutshell it can intensify the interactive side effects from the gabapentin and alcohol. Besides alcohol other medications like Flexeril with gabapentin can also generate side effects.

How does Gabapentin React With Alcohol?

Both are CNS (central nervous system; brain) depressants. These cause impairment of judgment and thinking abilities, dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty in concentration. Due to the depressing nature of CNS the effect gets amplified when gabapentin and alcohol reacts. It’s like boosting the dizzy and drowsy behavior of both elements (Roberto, M., Gilpin, N.W., O’Dell, L.E., Cruz, M.T., Morse, A.C., Siggins, G.R. and Koob, G.F., 2008).

What Will Happen If We Drink Alcohol And Gabapentin Together?

Gabapentin has side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, mood changes, swollen arms and legs, blurred vision, and dry mouth. Alcohol and gabapentin can worsen either or both effects. CNS depressants slow brain activity and cause drowsiness and dizziness. Mixing alcohol and gabapentin, two CNS depressants, can exacerbate these effects, making you feel drowsy and dizzy, causing impairment and accidents.

Combining both can cause severe mood changes or poor decision-making. It could also put you at risk of having life-threatening medical emergencies as both cause your breathing to become slower (Roberto, M., Gilpin, N.W., O’Dell, L.E., Cruz, M.T., Morse, A.C., Siggins, G.R. and Koob, G.F., 2008).

List of Side Effects When Neurontin/Gabapentin And Alcohol are taken together

The following are side effects originating from Neurontin (It is the brand name of gabapentin) and alcohol; when taken together

  1. Dizziness (Increased sleepiness)
  2. Anxiety
  3. Nausea with or without vomiting
  4. Coordination problems
  5. Lightheadedness (Light irritation)
  6. Headache
  7. Constipation or diarrhea
  8. Confusion
  9. Fatigue (tiredness)

How Long After Taking Gabapentin Can You Drink Alcohol?

Many studies and researches show that after stopping gabapentin therapy, it stays in your body for at least three days. You should not take gabapentin till the 12 hour of last dosage or as depend upon the medicine.

If you have stopped taking gabapentin, wait until you see how the medicine affects you.

It’s always better to seek help from your healthcare provider before drinking alcohol.

Conclusion

The side effects of gabapentin solely are 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.

Drinking alcohol while taking gabapentin can result in life-threatening medical emergencies. One should not mix alcohol and medicines voluntarily and involuntarily.

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