Can gabapentin cause a burning sensation?

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Page last updated: 24/09/2022

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can gabapentin cause burning sensation?”. Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog and is used for a number of conditions. 

However, this medicine can cause a number of side effects including burning sensation. This blog will cover why gabapentin acts this way and what could be done to make your condition better. 

Can gabapentin cause a burning sensation?

Yes, gabapentin can cause burning sensation in some individuals. However, this is a rare side effect and is usually experienced by people who don’t get any beneficial effects from gabapentin and their neuropathic pain keeps getting worse. 

This is also found common in people who have some other underlying diseases which may interact negatively with gabapentin. Some people have reported burning sensation all over their body while others have reported burning sensation in their mouth. 

The intensity of this burning sensation can vary from person to person. Some people feel a slight burning and tingling sensation which can be easy to avoid. However, some case studies have shown some serious damage and the kind of burning sensation that can become quite unbearable. 

However, some case studies have actually shown the benefits of gabapentin in reducing the intensity of burning sensation that can be caused by neuropathic pain. One case study revealed that gabapentin significantly relieved the painful symptoms associated with burning mouth syndrome. 

It can also be used to cure neuropathic pain in the neck and shoulders that may cause terrible burning sensation. It is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this medication. 

Gabapentin acts differently in every other individual. This difference is because of the different physiological composition of people or any other underlying health condition that they might have. 

However, gabapentin is not an easy medication, and it is considered one of the most dangerous meds in America. Make sure you immediately report to your healthcare provider if you suffer from gabapentin induced burning sensation, no matter how mild. 

It is extremely important that your doctor knows how this med works on you. If gabapentin is causing terrible side effects in you, your healthcare provider will gradually start tapering it off and switch you to another, safer medication. Make sure you stick to your doctor’s prescribed dose. 

Can gabapentin cause a burning sensation?

What underlying conditions can cause a burning sensation? 

There are some health conditions that can cause burning sensation without even you knowing about it. These include:

Sciatica

Sciatica is associated with moderate to severe pain in the lower back and legs. It causes painful burning or tingling sensation. The pain at times gets so severe that it becomes unbearable.

Canker sores

Canker sores are painful small blisters or ulcers which are found inside the mouth. They can cause a severe burning sensation in your mouth. If you feel any such thing after taking gabapentin, make sure you don’t have any blisters in your mouth that could contribute to this side effect. 

Peripheral vascular disease

This disease causes hindrance in blood circulation, typically in legs. When the flow of blood is insufficient to provide oxygen to the cells, you start feeling a burning and tingling sensation followed by numbness. 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) 

GERD is another cause associated with burning sensation especially in your stomach, throat and mouth. The acid reflux damages the delicate mucosa and causes internal wounds. This can result in sharp, painful burning sensation along with extreme discomfort. 

Other causes:

Other causes include herpes shingles, vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, multiple sclerosis, disc herniation etc. 

Make sure you rule out above mentioned health conditions which might contribute to gabapentin induced burning sensation. 

Experts also believe that gabapentin sometimes can exacerbate the symptoms of pre-existing health conditions, if any. It might enhance disease progression.

What should be done if you suffer from gabapentin induced burning sensation? 

The first thing that you should do is to inform your healthcare provider. As stated earlier, sometimes your medication is not causing side effects directly, but it interacts negatively with your underlying health condition. It is important to get screened to rule out any other disease. 

When you inform your doctor, he or she will first determine if there’s any chance of reducing your dose to avoid this side effect. If you are already on the lowest possible dose and still suffer from this side effect, your healthcare provider will discontinue your treatment with gabapentin. 

However, do not take matters into your own hands or stop using gabapentin abruptly. If it’s time for you to stop this med, your doctor will simply recommend a taper schedule for you, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. 

Make sure you use this medication or any other medication only when your doctor has advised it. Using medications which can affect your brain is not something ideal and should not be encouraged unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. 

What other medications can cause a burning sensation? 

Following are the drugs which can, to some extent, cause burning sensation:

  • Cardiac drugs: These include hydralazine, amiloride etc.
  • Antineoplastic agents or chemotherapeutic drugs which are used to treat cancer: These include pacitaxel, docetaxel, vincristine, vinblastine etc
  • Prescribed drugs to treat autoimmune disease: These include infliximab, etanercept etc. 
  • Antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Examples include sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine etc. 
  • Antiepileptics/anti-seizures/anticonvulsants: These include drugs like phenytoin, carbamazepine, sodium valproate etc. 
  • Drugs which treat infections: These include isoniazid, nitrofurantoin, metronidazole, thalidomide etc. 

Make sure you’re not using any of the above mentioned meds with your gabapentin. Drug interactions should be an important consideration before taking two or more medicines together. 

Yes, drugs in combination are often used to achieve better therapeutic response but this is not the case with every interaction. Some drugs are highly incompatible with one another. They often cancel out each other’s effects or antagonise them. 

Some drugs are so incompatible that they end up changing the entire chemical composition of one another. Some interfere with metabolism or bioavailability (the rate and extent at which the active drug moiety enters systemic circulation/blood). This can lead to drug accumulation in different parts of the body. 

It is always advised to inform your healthcare provider of any medicine you take before getting a new prescription. Your doctor will make sure not to prescribe any such drug which might interfere with those you are already taking. 

What are the additional side effects of gabapentin? 

The additional side effects of gabapentin include:

  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Weight gain 
  • Dizziness 
  • Somnolence
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Headache
  • Vision problems 
  • Cloudy mind
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors 
  • Confusion
  • Joint pain 
  • Difficulty in remembering things
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Unsteadiness
  • Muscle twitching 
  • Constipation 
  • Back pain
  • Increased appetite 
  • Fever

Gabapentin can cause some serious side effects. These include:

  • Suicidal behavior 
  • Impaired motor coordination 
  • Thrombocytopenia or decreased levels of platelets
  • Water retention
  • Rhabdomyolysis, a condition associated with abnormal breakdown of muscles
  • Convulsions 
  • Swelling or tenderness in different parts of the body.
  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 

These side effects can vary from person to person. It is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this medication. Some people get away with mild side effects, while others suffer terribly. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have talked about gabapentin induced burning sensation. However, this is a rare side effect and is usually experienced by people who don’t get any beneficial effects from gabapentin and their neuropathic pain keeps getting worse.

However, some case studies have actually shown the benefits of gabapentin in reducing the intensity of burning sensation that can be caused by neuropathic pain. It is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this medication. 

Make sure you use this medication or any other medication only when your doctor has advised it. Using medications which can affect your brain is not something ideal and should not be encouraged unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. 

FAQs: gabapentin burning sensation 

Does gabapentin cause burning sensation?

Yes, gabapentin can cause burning sensation in some individuals. However, this is a rare side effect and is usually experienced by people who don’t get any beneficial effects from gabapentin and their neuropathic pain keeps getting worse. This is also found common in people who have some other underlying diseases which may interact negatively with gabapentin. 

Does gabapentin help burning pain?

Yes, gabapentin is used to treat neuropathic pain that may cause burning sensation. However, the effects of gabapentin vary from person to person and some people may not find any relief in their condition. Gabapentin is not an easy medication and it may not work the way you want it to. 

Can gabapentin cause BMS?

Gabapentin can actually help treat burning mouth syndrome. One case study revealed that gabapentin significantly relieved the painful symptoms associated with burning mouth syndrome. However, this medicine does not produce the same kinds of effects in everyone. Make sure you properly follow your doctor’s instructions if you’re being treated with gabapentin. 

Does gabapentin make you act crazy?

Gabapentin may induce the symptoms of psychosis. Several surveys have revealed that gabapentin can make people behave angrily and erratically. When you take gabapentin, it starts acting like GABA and the inhibitory effects increase in your body. Any drug that can alter the amounts of neurotransmitters in your brain can make behavioural changes in you.

What should I avoid while taking gabapentin?

  • Narcotic analgesics: Both narcotic opioid analgesics and gabapentin decrease the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain. This can slow down your physiological functions including breathing rate. 
  • Alcohol can also act as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. The synergistic effects of alcohol and gabapentin can cause severe depression and suicidal behavior.
  • Certain diabetic agents may react with gabapentin and cause increased water retention, which results in swelling or edema in upper and lower extremities, or any other part of the body.

What does gabapentin do to a person?

Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog. Gabapentin mimics the actions of GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works by inhibiting the excessive neuronal firing in the brain which reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures. 

Gabapentin is also used to reduce the intensity of neuropathic pain by inhibiting nociceptors (pain receptors). This medication is a prescription medication and should be taken only at doses determined by your healthcare professional. 

References 

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