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Updated on February 2, 2023
3 min read

Gabapentin and Alcohol Interactions

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant. Common brand names for this drug include Gralise®, Horizant®, and Neurontin®.  


This drug helps treat various medical conditions. It can help treat certain seizures in individuals who have epilepsy.

Doctors may also prescribe this drug for: 

  • Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Hot flashes (caused by breast cancer treatments or menopause)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Alcohol dependence

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Side Effects of Gabapentin

Using gabapentin can cause different side effects, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Memory difficulties
  • Strange thoughts 
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Impotence
  • Stronger appetite
  • Weight gain

Rarer but more serious side effects of the drug include:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Respiratory problems (breathing or swallowing)
  • Seizures
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression

Mixing gabapentin with central nervous system (CNS) depressants can create stronger side effects. These include alcohol, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants, among others

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Yes, gabapentin can be addictive.

It is less addictive than opioids, but physical dependence and tolerance can still develop.

Withdrawal symptoms may occur when you stop taking the medication suddenly.

Quitting gabapentin all at once can result in more frequent seizures. Doctors may taper your dose over a week or more to minimize the risk of such symptoms. 


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Is Gabapentin an Effective Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal?

There is not enough evidence to answer this question conclusively.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that gabapentin may help treat alcohol withdrawal and promote alcohol abstinence. 

In the randomized clinical trial, 1% of the placebo participants reported total alcohol abstinence. 41% of the gabapentin participants reached total abstinence. 

However, more studies are needed. Especially in people who have Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), liver disease, and psychiatric and health conditions. 

Also, the study authors report supportive counseling or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) attendance may have contributed to treatment success. 


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Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Gabapentin?

No, you should not drink alcohol when taking gabapentin.

You should not take any medication that can cause drowsiness or dizziness.

Drinking alcohol can increase the severity of side effects and the risk of overdose or death. 

Risks and Side Effects of Mixing Gabapentin and Alcohol

Gabapentin alone can cause:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Slow thought processes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Changes in mental health
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts 

Alcohol is a CNS depressant, so it has similar side effects to gabapentin. Mixing gabapentin and alcohol increases the risk of these effects. It can also make them worse.

In more severe cases, alcohol and gabapentin can cause respiratory depression. Difficulty breathing or swallowing can result in death. 

Also, the risk of death by overdose is possible. Alcohol can worsen the symptoms of gabapentin overdose.

Symptoms of gabapentin overdose include:

  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Ataxia (lack of muscle control or coordination)
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Irritability

The risk of gabapentin-alcohol interactions is higher in women and the elderly. Both women and the elderly cannot metabolize alcohol efficiently.

This means that alcohol stays in the body longer and can interact with gabapentin.

Updated on February 2, 2023
4 sources cited
Updated on February 2, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Anton RF, Latham P, Voronin K, et al. Efficacy of Gabapentin for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder in Patients With Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180:728–736. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.0249
  2. “Gabapentin: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 May 2020,
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. "PubChem Compound Summary for CID 3446, Gabapentin" PubChem, Accessed 26 January, 2021.
  4. NEURONTIN (Gabapentin). Food and Drug Administration,
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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