Managing alcohol dependence requires a personalized approach. There are several medications approved to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD), each addressing different aspects of recovery from alcohol dependence. For many people, a combination of gabapentin and naltrexone for alcohol dependence provides the perfect balance to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings and help them abstain from future alcohol use. You should always access treatment for AUD through a qualified provider to ensure your safety during alcohol withdrawal.
If you are struggling to decrease drinking or want to eliminate alcohol from your life, try Confidant Health’s online medication assisted-treatment for alcohol use disorder. Our team will conduct a virtual assessment to determine if naltrexone treatment may be beneficial for your recovery. Get started on your path to alcohol-free living by contacting us today.
What Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication used to alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Rather than a first-line treatment for alcohol dependence, gabapentin is used as a complementary medication to provide a more well-rounded approach to managing the challenges associated with alcohol withdrawal and abstinence.
Gabapentin works by decreasing glutamate production and increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) production. Alcohol misuse upsets the natural production of glutamate and GABA, making it difficult for the brain to maintain balanced levels. When GABA levels are too low, it can impact your mental health, leading to symptoms of anxiety and depression and making it difficult to sleep. The same can occur with the overproduction of glutamate. If you have alcohol dependence and stop drinking suddenly, you will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms related to this GABA and glutamate imbalance. Gabapentin can alleviate mental health symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal by helping bring back balance to GABA and glutamate levels in the brain.
Mixing Alcohol and Gabapentin
Gabapentin reduces excitability in the brain and induces a calming or sedating effect. Alcohol is a sedative drug, and when combined with another sedative like gabapentin, the sedating effects can become more powerful.
If your provider prescribes gabapentin for alcohol use disorder, you should refrain from using alcohol or other sedative drugs. The resulting drowsiness from combining gabapentin with other sedatives can make it dangerous to drive or operate machinery. Additionally, combining sedative substances can cause your breathing to become dangerously slow. Some other potential dangers of mixing alcohol and gabapentin include:
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of consciousness
If you experience breathing difficulties or other serious side effects in relation to taking your gabapentin prescription with other sedatives, reach out for emergency assistance immediately.
Can Gabapentin Be Taken with Naltrexone?
Gabapentin can be taken with naltrexone to help treat alcohol dependence. In fact, studies showed that when gabapentin is taken with naltrexone, people abstained from alcohol longer and felt more control over drinking urges than if they took naltrexone alone or a placebo. This combination was also helpful for managing sleep issues that are common with alcohol dependence.