Gabapentin may or may not raise your blood pressure. This medication is known to cause hypertension in some people and hypotension in others. A lot of factors can affect the activity of Gabapentin.
The dose at which you currently are, your age, the existence of any underlying health conditions, other medications that you’re taking along with Gabapentin, and how your body usually responds to this medication.
All of these factors can affect the effects of Gabapentin on your heart and blood pressure.
What do experts have to say about Gabapentin-induced high blood pressure?
Several research studies have indicated that Gabapentin can cause both hypertension and hypotension, depending on the dose and the person taking this medication. Gabapentin has been shown to increase blood pressure and heart rate at lower doses.
A study observed this effect at 400 mg Gabapentin. The same study concluded that higher doses of Gabapentin can do the exact opposite and cause hypotension because of the mechanism of action of this medication.
Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and it works by inhibiting the excessive neuronal firing in your brain.
When it is consumed at higher doses, the depressing effect is increased and it may slow down your cardiac muscle contraction as well. This can reduce your heart rate and your blood pressure.
Some experts believe that Gabapentin-induced high blood pressure is more common in people who already suffer from an underlying cardiac condition or hypertension.
It can also depend on the type of medications you’re taking along with Gabapentin, whether they are prescription meds or over-the-counter ones.
This is why you should properly give out your medical history to your healthcare provider and inform you if you’re taking any other prescription or OTC medication. Your doctor will then determine if any of your meds can interact with Gabapentin before prescribing this medication.
What to do if Gabapentin causes high blood pressure?
There are a few things you can do if Gabapentin increases your blood pressure. These include:
Talk to your doctor
The first and most important thing to do is to consult your healthcare provider. Your doctor will determine if the continuous use of Gabapentin is something from which you can gain benefits or not.
If the drug affects your cardiac health negatively and it’s making your heart beat harder and faster, it indicates that Gabapentin is not the right choice of medication for you.
If your dose is too high, your doctor may tone it down a little or decrease the frequency of dose administration as Gabapentin can be taken 2 to 3 times a day. If that’s too much for you, your doctor may ask you to take Gabapentin once only until your side effects subside.
Reduce your salt intake
If you observe your blood pressure going high on Gabapentin, a few dietary changes are necessary to prevent further damage. The most basic thing that can help you is the reduction in your salt intake.
It is a known fact that sodium increases the intensity of your cardiac muscle contraction which increases your blood pressure. This is why you should limit your salt intake and ask your doctor for further dietary precautions while you’re dealing with Gabapentin-induced high blood pressure.
Reduce your stress levels
Stress plays a major role in regulating your heart rate. If you take excessive stress, the hormones associated with this condition can elevate your blood pressure.
This is why it reduces your stress levels. The best way to do so is to find some stress-relieving activity that helps you manage your anxiety. Exercise can also be a good way to release that negative energy and stress out of your body. You can also try yoga and meditation for this purpose.
Cut back on alcohol and cigarette smoking
Both alcohol and cigarette smoking are injurious to your health in more ways than you can imagine. Make sure you cut back on these two as much as you can.
The concomitant use of Gabapentin with these two can significantly affect your mental and physical health. Both alcohol and cigarette smoking can increase the risk of Gabapentin-induced high blood pressure.