Having an occasional drink while taking Lamictal isn’t likely to cause harm. However, alcohol may worsen some of the drug’s side effects and slow down your reaction time.

If you take Lamictal (lamotrigine) to treat bipolar disorder, you may be wondering if it’s safe to drink alcohol while you take this medication. It’s important to know about possible alcohol interactions with Lamictal.

It’s also important to understand that alcohol can affect bipolar disorder itself.

Read on to find out how alcohol interacts with Lamictal, as well as 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, depending on the medication dose and the amount of alcohol ingested.

Alcohol isn’t known to interfere with the way Lamictal works, but it can add to the drug’s side effects. Some common side effects of Lamictal include nausea, insomnia, drowsiness, dizziness, and mild or severe rash. It can also make you think and act less quickly.

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. In the United States, 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, an anticonvulsant drug. It’s used to help control certain kinds of seizures.

Lamictal is also used as maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder in adults, either by itself or with another drug. It helps delay the time between episodes of extreme shifts in mood. It also helps prevent extreme shifts in mood.

Lamictal doesn’t treat extreme shifts in mood once they start, however, so use of this medication for treatment of acute manic or mixed episodes isn’t recommended.

There are two types of bipolar disorder: 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 FDA approved to treat bipolar I disorder but may be used off-label for bipolar II disorder.

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

During manic phases, people with bipolar disorder are more likely to engage in impulsive 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 depression and anxiety. Rather than helping to ease their symptoms, alcohol can make the symptoms of bipolar disorder worse. Drinking alcohol can increase the chances of shifts in mood. It can also increase violent behavior, the number of depressive episodes, and suicidal thoughts.

Drinking alcohol can increase your side effects from Lamictal, but drinking isn’t prohibited while you take this medication. Alcohol can also make 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 or pharmacist about drinking alcohol. The best option may be not to drink at all. If you do drink alcohol and your drinking becomes difficult to manage, tell your them right away. They can help you find the right treatment.