What is Gabapentin?

An Introduction To Gabapentin

The first thing you should know is that Gabapentin has 2 main purposes:

  • Treating postherpetic neuralgia: painful, burning shingles and rashes
  • Treating epileptic seizures: in patients older than 3

When taken as prescribed, Gabapentin lessens the effects of these conditions. It also has some off-label and less traditional uses. It is sometimes prescribed for everything from chronic pain to anxiety. If a doctor has issued you a  prescription, stick to it. Never waver from your prescription. Do not sell it or give it away. If you have not been prescribed Gabapentin, do not take it. As with many prescription medications, Gabapentin has the potential for abuse. About 1% of the general population reported misusing it. Roughly 40-65% of those who misused it had a prescription.

In this article, Blue Hills Recovery covers the following topics:

  • What is Gabapentin?
  • Is it dangerous?
  • Is it safe to take with other medications?
  • What are the effects of Gabapentin abuse?
  • Where can I find more information?

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin (also marketed under Neurontin) belongs to a category of drugs called anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsants work by helping to regulate the central nervous system (CNS). Our brain and spinal cord comprise the man elements of the CNS. When the brain sends a signal, it travels down the spinal column. From there, the brain’s signal gets dispersed into the nerves. When a person has a seizure, their brain sends too many signals. Anticonvulsants bring these electrical messages to a baseline. This helps stabilize the brain, which helps prevent seizures.

Gabapentin comes in these forms:

  • Tablets
  • Capsules
  • Liquid
  • Extended-release tablets

Is Gabapentin Dangerous?

By itself, it appears relatively harmless. Its most common side effects include impaired coordination and uncontrolled eye movements. In kids, Gabapentin can produce side effects like mood shifts, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. Less common side effects consist of memory loss, discolored bowel movements, coughing, and several others. The medication becomes more dangerous when taken recreationally. One study indicated that people with opioid use disorder might take Neurontin. The same study found many instances of it taken with benzodiazepines. Cases like these could represent instances of either self-medicating or self-harm. Prescribers intend for clients to take this medicine orally. Another example of abuse involves snorting.  Consider a study of prison inmates in British Columbia. The study recorded that inmates compared the high of snorting Gabapentin to cocaine. Snorting cocaine wears away the inner tissues of the nose. To prevent this kind of damage, only take your medications in the manner prescribed.

Is Gabapentin Safe To Take With Other Medications?

Always speak to your treatment provider. Dialogue with them about what you take along with your Gabapentin prescription. Other medications and substances may interact with your Gabapentin prescription. Some substances may alter how Gabapentin works for you.

Find some examples of medications that interact with Gabapentin below:

  • Antacids like Maalox or Mylanta
  • Benzodiazepines (lorazepam, diazepam)
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping Pills
  • Opioid pain relievers like morphine or oxycodone
  • Antihistamines

Gabapentin And Opioids

Earlier, we mentioned that misuse of Gabapentin occurred among those with opioid use disorder. Also remember that this medication treats the pain of shingles and rashes. Opioids likewise relieve pain. Therefore, both have similar functions. The results of this study found that Gabapentin taken at the same time as an opioid increased the likelihood of death. To this point, the FDA issued a statement about the dangers of using it along with opioids. It appears to amplify the effects of opioids. Opioids slow down many processes of the brain and body. They can produce euphoria and drowsiness. A major side effect of opioids lies in their ability to slow the breathing. Researchers call this respiratory depression. Taken with an opioid, this medication can cause the breath to slow down too much. In this condition, someone can die.

What Are The Effects Of Abuse?

Taking this medication as prescribed produces its own effects. To avoid adverse reactions, adhere to your prescription. If your prescriber tells you to take this medication orally, then do so. Take only the prescribed dose. Gabapentin seems to do the most damage when abused along with other substances. It appears exceptionally dangerous when consumed with opioids. Abuse itself does not happen on its own. Those who abuse this medication tend to abuse other medications as well. Therefore, the effects of Gabapentin abuse will likely mirror the effects of the other abused medication.

Where Can I Find More Information About Gabapentin?

In this article, we explained what this medication is. We explored its purposes. Then, we delved into the dangers. We learned about side effects. Additionally, we examined what happens when someone takes this medicine with another medication. If you suspect that someone close to you abuses prescription drugs, they probably need help. Remember, just because a person has a prescription does not mean they are taking their medication correctly. If you or someone you love struggles with substance use disorder, don’t delay. Make this the day that things change. Embrace hope. Reach out to Blue Hills Recovery Center right now.

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