If you take Lamictal to treat bipolar disorder, you may be wondering if it’s safe to drink alcohol while you take it. It’s important to know and understand possible alcohol interactions with Lamictal. It’s also important to understand that alcohol can affect your bipolar disorder itself. This article gives you information you should know about how alcohol interacts with Lamictal. It also tells you how drinking alcohol can affect bipolar disorder directly.

Drinking alcohol can affect nearly any medication you take. These effects can range from mild to severe. Alcohol is not known to interfere with the way Lamictal works, but it can add to the drug’s side effects. Lamictal may cause dizziness and sleepiness. It can also make you think and act less quickly. Drinking alcohol while you take Lamictal can make these side effects worse. This is because alcohol can also cause you to think and react more slowly.

Still, there are no specific warnings against drinking moderate amounts of alcohol while taking Lamictal. A moderate amount of alcohol is considered one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. A standard drink is equal to one of the following:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of liquor, such as gin, vodka, rum, or whiskey

Lamictal is a brand name for the drug lamotrigine. It's an anticonvulsant drug. It’s used to help prevent seizures. It’s also used to treat bipolar disorder in adults. For bipolar, doctors usually add Lamictal to treatment with another drug. Lamictal helps delay the time between episodes of extreme moods. It also helps prevent extreme moods. This drug does not treat extreme moods once they start, however.

There are two types of bipolar disorder. These are bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder. The symptoms of depression and mania are more severe in bipolar I disorder than in bipolar II disorder. Lamictal is only used to treat bipolar I disorder.

Drinking alcohol can have a direct effect on your bipolar disorder. Many people with bipolar disorder who drink alcohol struggle with alcohol misuse because of their symptoms.

During manic phases, people with bipolar disorder often lose their sense of good judgment. In these episodes, they’re more likely to have risky behavior, such as drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. This misuse of alcohol often leads to alcohol dependence.

People may drink alcohol during the depressive phase of the disorder to cope with their depression and anxiety. Rather than helping to ease their symptoms, drinking alcohol can often make the symptoms of bipolar disorder worse. Drinking alcohol can increase the chances of mood swings. It can also increase violent behavior, the number of depressive episodes, and the likelihood of suicide.

Read more: Treating alcohol dependence »

Drinking alcohol can increase your side effects from Lamictal, but drinking is not prohibited while you take this drug. Drinking alcohol can also make your symptoms of bipolar disorder worse directly. Worsened symptoms can lead to alcohol misuse and even dependence.

If you have bipolar disorder, talk to your doctor about drinking alcohol. The best option may be not to drink at all. If you do drink alcohol and your drinking becomes difficult to control, tell your doctor right away. They can help you find the right treatment.