Doctors prescribe gabapentin to help control certain types of seizures in patients with epilepsy. The medication may also relieve pain from diabetic neuropathy or shingles, treat the discomfort in restless legs syndrome and treat or prevent hot flashes in menopausal women. Gabapentin decreases abnormal excitement in the brain. For this reason, health care providers may discourage the use of caffeine when taking the medication, but may also allow you to consume it in moderation. Check with your doctor, who can advise you on your particular condition.
Diet and Caffeine
You can usually continue your normal diet when taking gabapentin unless your doctor recommends specific dietary changes, according to PubMed Health. You may experience side effects from the medication, including drowsiness, tiredness, weakness, dizziness or headaches. Caffeine may have the opposite effect because it stimulates the central nervous system, increasing energy and improving concentration. Consult your doctor if you have concerns about drinking caffeine. Doctors may advise epilepsy patients to stay away from caffeinated drinks, which may contribute to seizures.
Possible Side Effects
Other side effects from taking gabapentin may include blurred vision, shakiness, anxiety, memory problems, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, weight gain, swelling in the extremities and fever or flu-like symptoms. Contact your doctor if you experience rashes, itching, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, swelling in the face, throat or mouth, or seizures.
Some medications contain caffeine. Patients need to monitor their intake of more than one medication with their doctors. Doctors may prescribe gabapentin to help reduce the frequency of migraines, MayoClinic.com notes. Ergotamine and caffeine combination drugs have also been used to relieve pain for migraine patients. Gabapentin and medications containing caffeine may be prescribed together. Drugs.com, an FDA website, advises patients and doctors to carefully monitor their conditions when using both gabapentin and butalbital compound medications that include caffeine. Butalbital, a barbiturate, is often combined with other formulations, such as caffeine and aspirin, to treat pain and headache. Drugs.com notes using both gabapentin and butalbital may have interactions that cause depressant effects on the central nervous and respiratory systems, possibly interfering with activities involving mental alertness and motor coordination.
Patients with epilepsy may benefit from avoiding caffeine, regardless of the type of medication they use, as a precaution. Although most children with epilepsy don’t need a special diet, children with the disorder should avoid caffeinated beverages because caffeine may lower the threshold for seizures, according to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance recommends epilepsy patients stay away from caffeine, alcohol and smoking because these products are drugs that can interfere with certain disorders and other medications.
- PubMed Health: Gabapentin
- MayoClinic.com: Caffeine: How Much is Too Much?
- MayoClinic.com: Migraine – Treatments and Drugs
- Drugs.com: Drug Interactions Between Butalbital Compound and Gabapentin
- University of Iowa Children’s Hospital: Epilepsy in Young Children: FAQ
- Canadian Epilepsy Alliance: Nutrition and Epilepsy