When people take medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, they should always be aware of the possible interactions with other drugs or alcohol. One such example is Keppra and alcohol. Keep reading to learn whether you can drink alcohol with Keppra and the possible interactions that could occur.
What Is Keppra (Levetiracetam)?
Keppra is the brand name for levetiracetam, which is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat seizures and conditions like epilepsy. Other brand names for Keppra include Keppra XR, Spritam, and Roweepra. Keppra comes in regular and extended-release tablets as well as an oral solution.
The active ingredient in Keppra, levetiracetam, works by stabilizing electrical activity in the brain to reduce and prevent seizures. The central nervous system is made up of numerous nerve cells that communicate through electrical signals. When these signals are abnormally rapid, repetitive, or irregular, the central nervous system becomes overstimulated and normal function is disrupted.
This results in seizures and other side effects. Keppra works differently from other anticonvulsants as it joins with a protein called SV2A, which plays a role in releasing certain neurotransmitters in the brain. However, the exact nature of this process is unknown.
With that said, while levetiracetam is effective for treating seizures and epilepsy, it may also produce some unwanted side effects like:
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Mood swings
Although these side effects are most common within the first few weeks or months of taking Keppra, if they persist longer than a month, speak to your doctor right away. Additionally, these side effects may worsen if Keppra is combined with other substances, so be sure to speak to your doctor about drug interactions to avoid when prescribed a new medication.
Can You Drink Alcohol on Keppra?
Speaking of drug interactions, no, you cannot drink alcohol with Keppra. Keppra (levetiracetam) and alcohol both affect the central nervous system and can heighten each other’s side effects, making mild symptoms like fatigue or dizziness much more severe.
Usually, people who take alcohol and levetiracetam together experience impaired judgment and difficulty concentrating. This could make driving difficult and impair one’s ability to perform at work or school. However, Keppra is sometimes used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms like seizures.
Alcohol withdrawal is a difficult and dangerous process to go through without medical alcohol detox, and Keppra is sometimes used as a form of medication-assisted treatment for alcohol withdrawals. Withdrawals occur when people who are physically dependent on a substance suddenly reduce their dose or stop taking it.
Drinking is generally strongly advised against in patients who are taking Keppra. If you have a history of drinking or alcoholism, be sure to tell your doctor before taking any medications.
Keppra and Alcohol Side Effects
One of the highest risks of a Keppra-alcohol interaction is the possibility of mood swings and suicidal thoughts. Like Keppra, alcohol impacts certain neurotransmitters in the brain to depress the central nervous system. This can lead not only to physical sedation but also to an imbalance in certain chemicals.
For this reason, medically monitored detox is crucial for alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol impacts mental health as well as physical wellbeing, so those who have alcohol use disorders should seek medical assistance to safely quit drinking.
To sum it up, common side effects of alcohol and levetiracetam include:
- Extreme dizziness and sedation
- Impaired judgment
- Impaired concentration
- Difficulty with decision-making
- Impaired motor coordination
- Mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
Doctors warn patients who are taking this medication to closely monitor their mood and report any changes immediately. Keppra can also impair your reaction time, judgment, and decision-making abilities, so it’s important to be aware of this, especially if you’re going to do something that requires alertness, such as driving.
Alcohol can also increase someone’s risk of seizures, even if they aren’t prone to seizures or don’t have underlying conditions like epilepsy. Drinking on any medication can also impair the medication’s ability to treat the condition it was prescribed for, which in this case, can also increase the risk of seizures.
Help for Alcohol Abuse
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