What Pain Medication Can I Take With Gabapentin?

Written by: Jessica Guht
Jessica Guht
Categorized as Medication
Jessica Guht
Categorized as Medication

Whenever you have prescribed medication, it’s vital that you know what other types of medication you can or cannot take simultaneously. 

Some pain medications can increase your chances of experiencing side effects of your regular medication – so what pain medication is safe to use if you are taking prescribed gabapentin? 

Find out the answers below! 

Table of Contents

What Is Gabapentin? 

Gabapentin is a type of anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug. This means that as a medication, it is used to help prevent and control seizures. 

In 2020, gabapentin was prescribed nearly 50 million times by healthcare professionals in the US. This meant that in the same year, it became one of the top 10 used drugs in the US, up from its place as the 14th most prescribed drug in the US in 2013. This means that each year, more and more people are taking gabapentin. 

As a result, there has also been an increase in the abuse of gabapentin. According to studies, those who abuse gabapentin experience ‘zombie-like’ effects, relaxation, and a strong sense of calm. Gabapentin was also linked to 959 deaths in the second water of 2020, double the amount in the first quarter of 2019. So, gabapentin abuse is being linked to more and more deaths with its increased use. 

To help ensure that you are using gabapentin correctly, it’s important that you know what kinds of pain medication you can and cannot use when taking your prescribed gabapentin. This will help you avoid feeling any increase in side effects. Check out the list below to find out more! 

Gabapentin And Pain Medications

Here we will be taking a look at some common types of pain medications and whether or not they are safe to use with gabapentin. Check out the information below but if you are ever in doubt, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your healthcare provider and ask for a second opinion! 

Gabapentin And Paracetamol

Paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) is one of the most common painkillers used to treat mild pain, moderate pain, and fevers. According to studies, more than 60 million people in the US take acetaminophen on a weekly basis, and in 2020, it was prescribed by healthcare professionals nearly 5.6 million times

So, it’s likely that you will be reaching for the paracetamol while taking gabapentin – but is it safe to take? 

Thankfully, it’s okay to take paracetamol with gabapentin. Because it is used to treat mild and moderate pain (like headaches) it’s not strong enough to increase the side effects of your gabapentin medication. 

Gabapentin And Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug often taken to treat mild to moderate pain, fevers, and inflammation. As an over-the-counter painkiller, it’s another popular choice for people looking for quick pain relief but has seen a decline in popularity in recent years, most likely due to FDA awareness campaigns from 2015 to 2018 which increased awareness of ibuprofen abuse and overdosing. 

Like paracetamol, ibuprofen is not a strong enough painkiller to affect your gabapentin medication. So, it’s safe to take. 

Gabapentin And Aspirin

Aspirin (also known as salicylic acid) is a pain relief drug that is available over the counter and is commonly used for relieving minor pains and aches. Some people also use aspirin as a blood thinner and as an anti-inflammatory drug. 

Because aspirin is not very strong, it is safe to use when taking gabapentin as a type of pain relief. 

Gabapentin And Opiates

The term opiates or opioids refer to a large category of painkillers that work by interacting with the opioid receptors in your body’s cells. They can be found in strong forms of painkillers (like hydrocodone or morphine) used to treat moderate to severe pain, but also in illegal classed drugs like heroin. This is because of the strong side effects of opiates. 

Opiates cause strong side effects including drowsiness, nausea, slowed breathing, and confusion. Because of this, it’s possible to overdose on opiates – including prescribed opiates. In 2020 alone, 75% of deaths caused by drug overdose involved a type of opioid. 

Because of how strong opiates are, they should not be taken while you are also taking gabapentin. Gabapentin causes side effects similar to opiates including drowsiness and nausea so taking opiates at the same time increases your risk of experiencing these symptoms. To keep yourself safe, it’s best to avoid taking gabapentin and opiates at the same time. 

Gabapentin And Antacid

Antacids are used to relieve pain and discomfort caused by indigestion. According to studies, most antacid medications also contain minerals like aluminum and magnesium – and this poses a problem for those who are taking gabapentin. 

These minerals are proven by studies to reduce the absorption of gabapentin by around 20%. This means that if you take antacid medication while also taking gabapentin, the effectiveness of your gabapentin is reduced by nearly a fifth – so you should avoid taking antacid medications while also taking gabapentin. 

Final Thoughts

Gabapentin is a type of medication used to treat and prevent convulsions and seizures. As a result, they also come with side effects causing drowsiness, slow breathing, and more. This means that you should be incredibly careful when taking pain medication at the same time as these are also common side effects seen in popular painkillers. 

Some common painkillers that are used to treat mild to moderate pain are safe to take with gabapentin. This is because they are not strong enough to enhance the side effects of your gabapentin and pose a risk to your health and well-being. This includes paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin. 

However, strong painkillers that use opioids like morphine or hydrocodone are too strong to take with gabapentin. These painkillers may cause you to feel extremely drowsy and nauseous so it’s best to avoid them. 

On top of that, you should also avoid pain medication that contains magnesium or aluminum because these minerals reduce the effectiveness of your gabapentin – so antacids are another medication you should avoid! 


DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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