Updated on September 14, 2023
7 min read

What Dangers Are Involved in Mixing Lyrica and Alcohol?

Dangers of Mixing Lyrica and Alcohol

Mixing anti-seizure drugs, such as Lyrica, with alcohol can have potentially dangerous consequences. The combination of these two substances has become increasingly popular in recent years due to their sedating effects.

Knowing the risks of combining these substances accidentally or for recreational purposes can lead to negative outcomes. This post will discuss the questions you must ask before mixing Lyrica and alcohol and how doing it could affect your health.


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What is Lyrica?

Lyrica (pregabalin) is an FDA-approved prescription drug that helps treat pain. Originally developed as a drug to treat epilepsy, it has proven to be a game-changer in combating seizures by decreasing brain impulses.1

Lyrica provides relief for people with:

  • Fibromyalgia (stiffness and muscle pain)
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia (pain due to shingles)
  • Diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain associated with diabetes)
  • Spinal cord injuries

Besides being an anti-seizure drug, Lyrica works by targetting the chemicals responsible for transmitting pain signals across the nervous system.

You need a prescription from your healthcare provider to obtain this medication. Lyrica is available in extended-release tablets, solution, and capsule forms.2

What Are Lyrica’s Side Effects?

lyrica side effects

Lyrica is a nerve pain medication that can cause several mild side effects, but others can be serious or long-lasting. Aside from a severe allergic reaction, the most common side effects include:1

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Hand and feet swelling
  • Increased appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Weight gain

Side Effects of Mixing Lyrica and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol with Lyrica can have many unwanted consequences. Since both Lyrica and alcohol are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, they can worsen each other’s effect on the body.

The most common physical side effects of mixing Lyrica with alcohol are:3

  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
  • Drowsiness/sleepiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Slowed breathing
  • Extreme sedation

On the other hand, the most common psychological side effects are:

  • Bewilderment
  • Concentration issues
  • Impaired judgment
  • Slowed thinking
  • Loss of inhibitions

Combining Lyrica and alcohol can compromise the effectiveness of the drug’s pain relief. This can lead to resurging symptoms such as discomfort and nerve pain.

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Can Mixing Lyrica and Alcohol Worsen Existing Health Conditions?

Alcohol consumption mixed with Lyrica can worsen an already compromised respiratory system and lead to respiratory depression. The FDA in 2019 alerted the public about the potential risk of severe breathing difficulties associated with the use of:5

  • Gabapentin (sold under brand names Gralise, Horizant, and Neurontin)
  • Pregabalin (sold under brand names Lyrica CR and Lyrica)

This warning is particularly relevant for older adults and people with respiratory risk factors, such as:

  • Having conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that impact lung function
  • Taking drugs that depress the CNS, such as alcohol
  • Taking opioid pain medications

What Prescription Drugs Shouldn’t Get Mixed With Alcohol?

Mixing alcohol with prescription drugs, such as anticonvulsants, can lead to potentially dangerous adverse effects. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, combining these substances can lead to increased drowsiness, dizziness, and an elevated risk of seizures.6

It may also cause behavioral changes and impact mental health, including thoughts of suicide. These are other anti-seizure drugs you should not mix with alcohol:

  • Dilantin® (Phenytoin)
  • Horizant® (Gabapentin)
  • Neurontin® (Gabapentin)
  • Keppra® (Levetiracetam)
  • Klonopin® (Clonazepam, Phenobarbital)
  • Lamictal® (Lamotrigine)
  • Tegretol® (Carbamazepine)
  • Topamax® (Topiramate)
  • Trileptal® (Oxcarbazepine, Barbiturates)

How Long Should You Wait to Drink Alcohol After Using Lyrica?

You must wait at least 24 hours after taking Lyrica before drinking. This waiting period allows the medication to reach its full effect without any interference from alcohol, making possible interactions.

For the best results, avoid drinking alcohol during your treatment with Lyrica. It's also important to never take more than the prescribed dosage of Lyrica since it can cause serious side effects and health risks.

How Can You Mix Lyrica and Alcohol Safely?

If you plan to drink alcohol while using Lyrica, taking precautions is essential. Here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Talk to your doctor first: Make sure they know all drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins you take. Your healthcare provider will provide specific instructions on these substances and how they interact with alcohol.
  • Don't drink more than your limit: If you choose to drink, don't exceed the recommended daily amount you can handle. Reduce your consumption to one or two drinks for men and one for women.
  • Know the risks: Alcohol can interact with Lyrica and increase the risk of side effects of both substances. Be aware of these potential issues and look out for severe side effects.
  • Monitor yourself closely: Pay attention to how you're feeling while using Lyrica and drinking alcohol. If you experience any unusual symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately.

Talking to your doctor before changing your prescription medication with other drugs is important. They can provide personalized advice on staying safe and achieving the best possible results while taking Lyrica for your condition.

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Can You Be Addicted to Lyrica and Alcohol Use?

Pregabalin is generally less addictive when compared to other CNS depressant drugs. However, it still has the potential for addiction.

If you're struggling with a dependence on alcohol or other medications, you may have serious problems that need treatment. Underlying medical conditions may be affecting your drug use.

You may benefit from speaking with a medical professional. Working with them can help you manage your drinking and ensure the best possible results from your Lyrica treatment.

This advice is only a general guideline. Your healthcare provider may recommend a different timeline for using Lyrica and drinking alcohol. Follow your doctor's instructions and ask questions if you have any concerns regarding your medication.

Are There Treatment Options for Alcohol and Lyrica Addiction?

Treating addiction can be difficult; everyone will recover at different speeds. If you’re struggling with a dependency on prescription drugs like Lyrica, joining a detox program can help you recover. Seek out a reputable detox facility that offers a medically assisted withdrawal protocol to help you avoid severe withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction treatment specialists may prescribe benzodiazepines and clonidine to alleviate adverse effects of Lyrica use.7 After detox, sign up for a formal addiction treatment program that includes behavioral therapy to ensure long-term success.

For people with co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis treatment can be helpful. This type of program addresses both substance abuse and your underlying mental health conditions.

Common Questions about Alcohol and Lyrica

Does Taking Pregabalin Affect Sleep?

Yes, especially for people with hypnotic-dependent insomnia and fibromyalgia. Pregabalin safely deals with sleep disorders by reducing awakenings and prolonging sleep.8

What Does Taking Pregabalin Do To Your Heart?

Long-term use of pregabalin for people with diabetic neuropathy carries a heightened risk of deep venous thrombosis, heart failure, myocardial infarction, peripheral vascular disease, pulmonary embolism, and stroke.9

Who Shouldn’t Take Pregabalin?

Pregabalin can disrupt blood sugar control in people with diabetes.9

Is Pregabalin Safe for Your Liver?

There's limited information on the liver toxicity of pregabalin. Initial clinical trials for diabetic epilepsy and neuropathy didn't find an increased risk of liver damage from pregabalin therapy.

Since its approval, there have been rare cases of liver injury associated with the drug. These cases are usually mild and often don't involve jaundice. The onset of liver injury symptoms typically occurs within 3 to 14 days.

Can Pregabalin Lead to Low Blood Sugar?

Pregabalin might increase the chances of hypoglycemia, particularly in older people with low body weight.11


It’s best to avoid alcohol while taking Lyrica as a prescription drug since mixing alcohol with Lyrica can increase the risk of life-threatening side effects of both substances.

Before drinking, talk to your healthcare provider to determine if it’s safe for you to do so. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, consider seeking help from a professional.

Addiction treatment specialists can provide personalized advice and guidance to ensure the best possible results for your medication.

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Updated on September 14, 2023
11 sources cited
Updated on September 14, 2023
  1. Entringer, S. (Ed.). “Lyrica.” Drugs.com, 2022.
  2. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. “Pregabalin (Oral Route).” Mayo Clinic, 2023.
  3. Lyrica and Alcohol/Food Interactions.” Drugs.com, 2023.
  4. Lyrica.” Epocrates, n.d.
  5. FDA. “FDA warns about serious breathing problems with seizure and nerve pain medicines gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) and pregabalin (Lyrica, Lyrica CR).” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2022.
  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Alcohol’s Effects on Health.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2003.
  7. Barrett et al. “Acute Pregabalin Withdrawal: A Case Report and Review of the Literature.” Southwest Journal of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep, 2015.
  8. Cho, Y.W., and Mei Ling Song. “Effects of Pregabalin in Patients with Hypnotic-Dependent Insomnia.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2014.
  9. Pan et al. “Cardiovascular risk of gabapentin and pregabalin in patients with diabetic neuropathy - cardiovascular diabetology.” BioMed Central, 2022.
  10. U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Pregabalin.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2020.
  11. Yamada  et al. “Risk of Pregabalin-Induced Hypoglycemia: Analysis of the Japanese Adverse Drug Event Report Database.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2022.

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