Category Archives: Gabapentin

Gabapentin is an Addiction Treatment Medication

Gabapentin is used to treat cases of addiction in an off-label manner. Different companies, including Parke-Davis, Greenstone, and Teva, manufacture several varieties of the generic drug. Other drugs that have been used to treat the symptoms of addiction withdrawal, for specific substances, include:

  • Clondine
  • Other anticonvulsants, such as Tegretol and Depakote
  • Methadone and buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone

Typical Application

Available in capsules, tablets, and as an oral liquid, dosages range from 100 mg to 800 mg. The frequency with which a dose is repeated depends on the specific dose, which is usually based on the severity of withdrawal and the client’s weight. The drug’s half-life is around 5-7 hours.

Generally, it is used during medical detox and throughout subsequent treatment modalities to support relapse prevention while clients adjust to their new sober lifestyles.

Treating Substance Abuse

According to Medscape, gabapentin can inflict users with suicidal thoughts and abrupt changes in behavior. For this reason, it should only be used under medical supervision. It can also cause elevated blood pressure, fever, sleep problems, appetite changes, and chest pain.

While it has been used to treat addictions to other substances, gabapentin is most often used to treat alcoholism — an addiction some 16.6 million adults suffered from in 2013, per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

During withdrawal from alcohol abuse or dependency, clients may experience anxiety, tremors, agitation, and irritability. In order to understand how gabapentin works, there must be a basic understanding of how the brain works first. Nervous system activity is partially controlled by GABA neurotransmitters. Gabapentin works by reducing activity among GABA. As a result, signals for pain, agitation, and anxiety are reduced, too.

An American Journal of Psychiatry study showed impressive results during the 16-week treatment of 150 people who were dependent on alcohol, noting better results among those who were treated with both gabapentin and naltrexone than the latter alone. TheJournal of Clinical Psychiatry reported on another study in which individuals treated for alcoholism with gabapentin showed a significant reduction in how much they drank and a greater rate of abstinence than those in the placebo group.

Gabapentin has the same calming effect on individuals who are detoxing from marijuana and benzodiazepines. Despite claims from fans of the plant-based drug, marijuana is indeed addictive. In 2012, 305,560 people checked into rehab citing cannabis as their primary drug of abuse, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. One Neuropsychopharmacology study that analyzed the use of gabapentin in the treatment of marijuana addiction and withdrawal noted individuals in the gabapentin treatment group used less marijuana, had fewer withdrawal symptoms, and experienced improvements in cognitive functioning, compared to the placebo group.

How should I take gabapentin?

Take gabapentin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

The Horizant brand of gabapentin should not be taken during the day. For best results, take Horizant withfood at about 5:00 in the evening.

Both Gralise and Horizant should be taken with food.

Neurontin can be taken with or without food.

gabapentin-actavis-600mgIf you break a Neurontin tablet and take only half of it, take the other half at your next dose. Any tablet that has been broken should be used as soon as possible or within a few days.

Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

If your doctor changes your brand, strength, or type of gabapentin, your dosage needs may change.Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the new kind of gabapentin you receive at the pharmacy.

Do not stop using gabapentin suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take gabapentin. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.

Gabapentin can cause you to have a false positive urine protein screening test. If you provide a urine sample for testing, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking gabapentin.

Store tablets and capsules at room temperature away from light and moisture.

Store the liquid medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Be sure to take the medicine with food. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking gabapentin?

This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Avoid taking an antacid within 2 hours before or after you take gabapentin. Antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb gabapentin.

Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.

Does gabapentin interact with other medications?

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

gabapentinTell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine, morphine).

Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.

Do not use this medication with other medications that contain gabapentin (including gabapentin enacarbil).

This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests for urine protein. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.

Medications known to interact with gabapentin

A
  • acetaminophen / propoxyphene
  • aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene
B
  • Balacet (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • Belbuca (buprenorphine)
  • Bunavail (buprenorphine / naloxone)
  • Buprenex (buprenorphine)
  • buprenorphine
  • buprenorphine / naloxone
  • Butrans (buprenorphine)
D
  • Darvocet A500 (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • Darvocet-N 100 (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • Darvocet-N 50 (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • Darvon (propoxyphene)
  • Darvon Compound 32 (aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene)
  • Darvon Compound-65 (aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene)
  • Darvon-N (propoxyphene)
L
  • levomethadyl acetate
O
  • Orlaam (levomethadyl acetate)
P
  • PC-CAP (aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene)
  • PP-Cap (propoxyphene)
  • Propacet 100 (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • propoxyphene
  • Propoxyphene Compound 65 (aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene)
S
  • sodium oxybate
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine / naloxone)
  • Subutex (buprenorphine)
T
  • Trycet (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
W
  • Wygesic (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
X
  • Xyrem (sodium oxybate)
Z
  • Zubsolv (buprenorphine / naloxone)