Gabapentin Abuse

Gabapentin (Neurontin) is an anticonvulsant which comes in a capsule, tablet, and oral solution. It’s used to handle certain seizure disorders, in addition to the neuropathic pain phenomenon called post-herpetic neuralgia (lasting skin and nerve pain brought on by an attack of shingles).   An extended-release formula of gabapentin (Horizant) is used to treat restless leg syndrome (RLS).

Concerns have arisen recently over increasing cases of gabapentin abuse.  According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), the amount of emergency room visits between nonmedical use of gabapentin increased by 90 percent in america since 2008.   

On the road, gabapentin is sold under different nicknames such as “gabbies.”   1 study found that gabapentin is used as a cutting agent in street heroin, raising the potential for abuse and the development of dangerous health consequences.

Nonmedical use of gabapentin may be fueled by:-

  • The fact that gabapentin isn’t currently scheduled as a controlled substance.
  • The fact that escalating doses are suggested.
  • The  prospect of euphoria when combined with opioids such as hydrocodone.

There are various reports of off-label and unapproved uses of gabapentin. This is partially because the producers of gabapentin encouraged the medication for at least 10 off-label health conditions such as:

  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Neuropathic pain.
  • Diabetic neuropathy.
  • Complex regional pain syndrome.
  • Attention deficit disorder.
  • Migraine.
  • Seizures from alcohol withdrawal.

In 2001, Gabapentin earnings totaled $1. 77 billion, which was a 57% increase in 2000 when the medication sold $1. The drug’s maker acknowledged that more than 78 percent of these gabapentin earnings came from prescriptions written for unapproved use. That is, the business encouraged the drug’s earnings without reported effectiveness and safety of gabapentin for off-label use.

Side Effects

Gabapentin could lead to several of physical and mental effects, including suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

If you or a loved one is taking gabapentin, take note of warning signals of suicide, such as:


  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Discussing with no reason to live.
  • Talking about killing themselves.


  • Using more alcohol and drugs.
  • Acting recklessly.
  • Calling people to say goodbye.
  • Withdrawing from activities.


  • Depression.
  • Rage.
  • Stress
  • reduction of interest.
  • Irritability.

Other Side Effects

Additional gabapentin side effects which can intensify when you take too much or accept it when you do not need it comprise:-LRB-****)

  • Dizziness.
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Temporary loss of memory (amnesia).
  • Tremor.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Coordination issues.
  • Double vision.
  • Unusual eye motion.
  • Jerky movements
  • Restlessness.
  • Agitation.
  • New or worsening irritability or anxiety.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Insomnia.
  • Acting on dangerous impulses.
  • Mania.
  • Depression.
  • Aggressive, violent, or angry behavior.

Does Gabapentin Get You High?

Gabapentin isn’t a controlled substance. When taken alone and as prescribed, there’s very little potential for abuse or dependence. But when a person takes gabapentin with other drugs, such as muscle relaxants, opioids, or anxiety drugs, it may produce a high.

The effects of gabapentin intoxication have been variously described as:-

  • Relaxation/sense of calm.
  • Euphoria.
  • A high like that of marijuana.

A study of illegal gabapentin users discovered that:

  • 56% were taking gabapentin with an opioid.
  • 27% were taking gabapentin with an opioid, muscle relaxant, or anxiety medicine.
  • 8.6% were using gabapentin with other illegal substances.

The FDA warns that  combining gabapentin with alcohol or other drugs can make you sleepy or dizzy, or raise those signs.

Can You Overdose on Gabapentin?

Like opiates, you are able to fatally overdose on gabapentin. 4 However, unlike opiates, there’s absolutely no antidote which you may administer in the event of an overdose. Due to the drug’s long half-life, immediate medical care is essential to control the complications related to a toxic amount of the drug.

Though most overdoses happen as a result of combining gabapentin with different substances, a study published in 2011 found that an individual committed suicide by intentionally overdosing on gabapentin.

Overdoses between 49 grams or more of gabapentin have been reported from the FDA. Indications of gabapentin overdose include:

  • Ataxia (decreased muscle coordination).
  • Labored breathing.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Ptosis (drooping upper eyelid).
  • Hypoactivity.
  • Excitation.
  • Double vision.
  • Marked sedation.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Lethargy.

When someone has overdosed on gabapentin, the medication can be removed from their system at the emergency room through a process of hemodialysis (kidney dialysis).

Things to Do in Case of Gabapentin Overdose

if you’re near a person who has overdosed, assess the individual’s airway, breathing, and heartbeat. If the man is unconscious, call 911. You can also perform these steps:

  1. Roll the individual toward you on their side.
  2. Bend the top leg so the hip and knee are at right angles.
  3. Tilt the head back to keep the individual’s airway open.
  4. Try to keep the person calm.
  5. Stay with the person until help comes.

Gabapentin Abuse Treatment

Abruptly stopping gabapentin may increase the chance of seizures, so it is important to get help when looking to stop.   if you’re receiving treatment for a gabapentin misuse problem, you will probably start with detox so you can gradually eliminate the drug from the body in a controlled way. After completing detox, you’ll need medical clearance prior to transitioning to an inpatient or outpatient treatment plan. There are several gabapentin addiction treatment alternatives available, such as:

  • Detox: Following heavy or long use of gabapentin, your body becomes dependent on the medication and requires it in its system to operate and prevent a potentially harmful withdrawal syndrome.   Getting medical detox  will help you to gradually wean off gabapentin while under medical supervision.
  • Inpatient Treatment: If your gabapentin dependence is severe or you’ve co-occurring mental health or medical problems, an inpatient program can give you intensive care. Inpatient treatment demands you to reside at the center for the whole length of your treatment.   These programs  offer a high degree of structure and a secure environment that reduces triggers to use gabapentin. Before beginning therapy, medical professionals will evaluate your situation and your dependence so as to make a tailored treatment plan. This might include group and individual therapy, family counselling, relapse prevention classes, support groups and aftercare planning.
  • Residential Treatment: A residential program could give a high degree of maintenance, structured environment, and 24/7 clinical tracking as you care for your gabapentin addiction. If you need a longer stay and intensive services, a residential center is a excellent option. There’s a wide assortment of residential applications available, including facilities offering dual diagnosis treatment, nutritional counseling, family treatment, and aftercare treatment choices.
  • Outpatient Programs: After finishing detox and/or inpatient treatment, you might proceed to an outpatient therapy. You may also begin in an outpatient program in case your dependence has not improved to the point of needing extreme inpatient care. When you seek treatment on an outpatient basis, you may live at home and see the facility for a fixed number of hours a week to work with a therapist and participate in group therapy.
  • Support Groups: Before, during, or following treatment, you might attend 12-measure meetings such as AA/NA or other service groups. When you go to a support team you’ll be welcomed by those who know exactly what you’ve been through since they have gone through it as well. Feeling approved can make a massive difference in your recovery as you will  make a new support network of sober people and learn from those who have been abstinent from drugs for a longer time period.
  • Aftercare:- In rehabilitation, you may prepare for your transition from treatment by producing an aftercare plan. This may look different for each individual and might include transitioning to a sober living facility, finding a counselor or therapist beyond therapy, and frequently attending 12-measure meetings or other service groups. Once you leave treatment, it’s crucial that you stay involved with some kind of care to avoid relapse.