Gabapentin is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of partial seizures, neuropathic pain, restless leg syndrome, and hot flashes. (1)

Gabapentin, despite historically being believed to have a low addiction potential, has become an increasingly popular drug of abuse in recent years.

Here we take a look at gabapentin abuse, addiction, and withdrawal.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant (aka anti-epileptic) drug that affects nerves and certain chemicals in the body that are associated with seizures and some types of pain.

Along with being used for the treatment of partial seizures, neuropathic pain, restless leg syndrome, and hot flashes, gabapentin has various off-label prescription uses.

Gabapentin is not a scheduled medication, meaning it was originally believed to have very little to no abuse potential. (2)

Gabapentin Abuse

In recent years, many reports of gabapentin abuse have begun to surface.

For example, approximately one-third of the overdose deaths in Kentucky in the year of 2017 involved gabapentin. Users report that gabapentin produces a marijuana-like buzz, leading to its abuse.

It is also commonly abused in conjunction with other drugs, such as heroin, for its reported ability to enhance the euphoria of the drug. (3) Gabapentin prescription rates have also skyrocketed, with the medication even cracking the top ten most-prescribed drug list of 2017.

True Recovery

 

Despite all this, gabapentin remains undesignated as a controlled substance by federal authorities. (4)

Gabapentin Withdrawal

Gabapentin has been shown to cause dependence in individuals taking it over extended periods of time, and a withdrawal syndrome occurs when individuals suddenly stop taking the medication. (5)

Gabapentin withdrawal has a unique set of withdrawal symptoms, which typically include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Palpation
  • Excitability
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Itching

These symptoms typically begin to manifest within 24-hours of the last dose, and persist for around one week. (6)

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


Sources

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20170819150204/https://www.drugs.com/monograph/gabapentin.html
  2. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d03182a1
  3. https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2018/5/11/abuse-of-gabapentin-on-the-rise
  4. https://www.statnews.com/2017/07/06/gabapentin-becomes-target-of-opioid-abuse/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26721643
  6. https://www.ejmanager.com/mnstemps/91/apd_17_13_18.pdf?t=1544202249