wine and tegretol

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I was put on tegretol 200 mgm at night because of facial pain I have due to a brain meningioma affecting the trigeminal nerve. I am going on a much needed vacation and would like to   have a glass of wine with dinner.      My Neuro docs say that the wine would be fine, but I would like input from others.  I am an occasional drinker.

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  • Posted

    Hi Phyllis

    It might be that your medical condition is one that is not affected by alcohol intake. I would have thought that 200mg of carbamazepine at night is quite a low dose compared with some of the people on this forum who have varying degrees of severity of Trigeminal Neuralgia. I think many of us might be on about 600mg per day. I need 800mg per day for routine maintenance dose and at times of "breakthrough" I'm on 1400 or more. I also need to wake up at about 04:00hr to take a tablet or I'm in a bad way the next day (8-10hr without it is too long; you need to keep the blood levels up for it to be effective).

    Well, this is nothing to do with your question of course! So, what's my experience of boozing while on the pills? During regular maintenance dose periods I can knock back several glasses of wine and suffer no major after effects other than maybe (but not sure if this is true or not) feeling a bit more affected by the alcohol than before I had TN (but that may be because I'm getting old).

    I've tried having a really good hit of whisky in the hope that it will relieve my pain. Well, it does very effectively but the combination of a hangover plus TN pain in the morning was just not worth it.

    There are no contraindications for alcohol on the carbamazepine data sheets. BUT, as this drug does increase drowsiness and make you a bit wobbly at high doses (and this happens at low doses with some people, everyone is different) then there will no doubt be some compounding effects of mixing the drug and alcohol. There should be no effect of decreasing the benefit of the drug

    So, in 2 sentences - your dose of drug is quite low and as long as your medical condition is not adversely affected, there should be no problems having a couple of glasses of wine now and again. If you were a regular TN sufferer there should be no problem either.

    Main thing is that everyone is different and has different tolerances for the drug. We must not give advice about drug levels/dosage on a public forum either.

    Sorry to produce such a long message - I obviously need a drink.

    Keep safe

    Big D

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  • Posted

    Dear Phyllis

    When I took tegretol 200g x 4 times daily  I used to take 2 glasses of wine at night

    on occasions.  

    I would say to you as you are an occasional drinker on your vacation, take one or two glasses of wine to help you relax and enjoy your holiday.

    You should be fine as you are on a low dose of 200 mg per day. 

    Enjoy your vacation  and enjoy your wine. 



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  • Posted


    I take Carbamazepine 1000mg a day split into 4 doses plus I am on Amitriptyline for neuropathic pain (50mg at night and an extra 20mg if I need it for an attack of TN). I have some super freaky weird dreams if I drink, I barely drink anyway, just the odd glass of wine on rare occasions. The dreams are so real I have trouble separating what really happened from the dreams, I have ranted to my son at stupid o'clock in the morning only to discover he's not home in the morning!

    If anything it's the Amitriptyline in my case which causes the weird dreams. But the general advice for any medication is to avoid alcohol. The reason for this is that the liver metabolises many drugs and it can't do this efficiently if it is also having to metabolise alcohol. There is also a wealth of research which shows that many drugs become less effective either in combination with others or with alcohol. So the question becomes one of 'do I risk a weird dream, or the drug becoming less effective (even if only temporarily)?'

    The main reason for avoiding alcohol with certain medications including Carbamazepine is they can have an effect on liver function irrespective of other medications or alcohol consumption. Which is why anyone taking this drug should be having 3 - 4 monthly liver function blood tests done!!

    My advice is this, have the odd glass on special occasions, get your liver function tested as advised and put up with the freaky weird dreams. You only have one life so learn to compromise and enjoy it while you can.


    (sorry couldn't find the accent keys!!)

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