In most cases, those who have been prescribed Pregabalin simply don’t realise that this medication must be taken exactly as recommended, which means it should not be mixed with other substances, including alcohol.
Pregabalin in its nature is easily abused and poses the risk of addiction. Mixing it with alcohol can increase that risk and lead to a spiral of negative outcomes.
Here, we will explain why taking Pregabalin with alcohol could be detrimental to your health and why it’s so important for you to learn about the medication you have been prescribed, and discuss any concerns with your doctor, prior to taking it.
Effects and dangers of combining drink and Pregabalin
Let’s start with the facts…
Mixing alcohol and Pregabalin can cause:
- Impaired judgement
- Sleepiness, Poor coordination
- Difficulty breathing
- Sedation, Reduced alertness
- Itching, Hives
- Swelling of the throat, tongue, and lips
How does alcohol and Pregabalin affect the body?
It only takes a very small amount of alcohol to intensify the ‘high’ of Pregabalin and change its effects on your body and brain.
This reaction is made stronger by the fact that both substances are central nervous system (CNS) depressants; and while the combination of certain substances can certainly elevate the desired effects of the drugs, polysubstance abuse also enhances the potential negative effects of each one, along with the risk of overdose.
All prescription drugs come with a warning that outlines their potentially dangerous side effects.
However, when you begin combining substances, you’re simply increasing the severity of these effects.
It isn’t as simple as adding together the effects of each drug; instead, they combine and are often unique and more severe than the separate effects of each drug.
If you’re drinking alcohol while taking Pregabalin, or you know someone who is, we recommend you seek help to determine if you are in fact abusing your prescription.
The start of the end: The difficult truth
Once you start taking Pregabalin with alcohol, the likelihood of you abusing these substances long-term increases dramatically, due to the intense feeling of euphoria combined with the intoxication from the alcohol.
When abused, Pregabalin can have adverse effects on the CNS, and when used in combination with other CNS depressants, it can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.
If more than one CNS depressant is used in combination with Pregabalin e.g. alcohol, even in small amounts, there is a risk of respiratory failure, coma or death.
Do not take it lightly
Whilst some of these symptoms on their own might not be enough to alarm you, it’s important to consider the seriousness of experiencing any of these side effects while driving, bathing or any other activity that would put yours and other people’s lives in danger.
The role of Pregabalin in the body is to prevent nerve pain by interfering with pain messages sent from the brain, and it’s actually the reduction in neuron messages to the central nervous system that leads to Pregabalin’s therapeutic effects as well as its efficiency in controlling seizures and pain.
Be aware of your doses
Prescribed doses of Pregabalin differ depending on the issue it has been given to treat.
A dose of around 50 mg and 75 mg is thought to be the minimum dose required to experience any kind of effects. However, mixing this with alcohol means you will experience a far more intense reaction along with side effects even if your dose is small.
Some of the information about drinking alcohol with Pregabalin is quite unclear, so if you’re someone who has been prescribed Pregabalin you must remember to speak with your doctor if you intend to drink alcohol while you’re on medication.
What should you do if you have taken Pregabalin with alcohol?
Before taking any medication, you should always read the literature that comes with it or speak to your doctor.
Most anticonvulsants like Pregabalin should not be mixed with alcohol although sometimes the information on this is contradictory.
The best to do if you’re not sure is to speak to a medical professional. Please call our 24-Hour Helpline: 01721 728118.
When doing so, you should be honest about what other substances you take as it may just end up saving your life.
What it does to the body
If you’ve already taken Pregabalin after drinking alcohol and you’re worried about the dangers, the important thing is to remain calm if you’re not experiencing any immediate symptoms.
Depending on the dosage and amount of alcohol consumed, you may begin to feel drowsy. If you have taken Pregabalin after drinking alcohol, it’s important to remember that the Pregabalin will increase the effects of dizziness and you will have difficulty with balance and concentration. You must not drive or operate any type of heavy machinery. If your symptoms continue or get worse, you must seek medical attention.
Can alcohol and Pregabalin affect your breathing?
Anticonvulsants like Pregabalin are considered much safer than opioids for long-term use, which is why they’re being used to treat many types of chronic pain.
However, in 2017 The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency issued a warning about Pregabalin causing “respiratory depression.”
Respiratory depression occurs when your breathing becomes so slow and shallow that you end up with too much carbon dioxide in your blood and not enough oxygen, which can be fatal.
There is no evidence to suggest whether alcohol impacts this reaction in any way, but if you experience any of the following symptoms, you could be having an allergic reaction or experiencing respiratory depression.
Seek help immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- You develop a rash on your skin that is itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling
- You’re wheezing
- You feel a tightness in your chest or throat
- You have trouble breathing or talking
- Your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
Can Pregabalin be used to treat alcohol dependence?
There have been several studies that detail the use of Pregabalin as an effective treatment source for alcohol withdrawal, as it has been proven to minimise cravings as well as insomnia and anxiety and other physical aspects that come with the withdrawal stage. However, this must not be taken as something you will be to manage individually.
It is of critical medical advice that you do not try and detox or use prescription drugs without the intervention of doctors or psychiatrists. This is because it opens the door for more harmful potential abuse, which can lead to more serious psychological as well as physical addictions.
Here at Castle Craig, we have specially trained psychiatrists and doctors, who will know how to manage your detox or withdrawal process, so if you need help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
What is the safest way to treat alcohol and Pregabalin dependence?
Treatment for alcohol and Pregabalin dependence will differ slightly to treating a single addiction as there are more aspects to consider.
Detox is the first step towards recovery, and this needs to be medically supervised for your own safety.
There is a possibility you might be experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms from both substances, and for this reason, drug and alcohol rehab is considered the safest way to treat alcohol and Pregabalin dependence.
Whilst common but effective therapeutic techniques like CBT and EMDR are used widely to treat a variety of drug addiction issues, actually treating your psychological addiction as well as a physical one will entirely depend on a treatment plan put together by our Medical Director, Professor Jonathon Chick, who would have reviewed your case individually and will oversee your treatment and recovery here at Castle Craig.
Whilst drug addiction symptoms are seen similarly across large groups of people, other co-occurring issues will need to be diagnosed such as PTSD, personality disorders or depression in order to put together an accurate treatment plan that will give you the best chance of success.
At Castle Craig, we integrate your individual therapy and treatment with other forms of well-known respites such as 12 steps, group therapy and other holistic forms. Throughout our many years of experience, we have found this, alongside the intervention of our professionals the most successful form of setting up our visitors with the vital skills they will need to continue their recovery upon leaving Castle Craig.
Castle Craig have extensive experience and success in treating all types of addictions, including those with polysubstance dependence, which is usually far more complex to treat.
If you’re someone who is addicted to more than one substance, the detox and recovery process may require more medical supervision and intense counselling and therapy.
- Is Pregabalin addictive? Although the risk of addiction is fairly low while following your prescription correctly, abusing Pregabalin and mixing it with other substances can lead to dependence and addiction. (Link to https://castlecraig.co.uk/pregabalin-addiction)
- Is it common for people to abuse Pregabalin and alcohol? People seeking to intensify the effects of both Pregabalin and alcohol will often mix the two in order to achieve and more intense high.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | June 21, 2021