Gabapentin(A guide)

Gabapentin is a nerve pain medication and anticonvulsant that is used to treat seizures and pain caused by shingles. 

What is gabapentin? 

Gabapentin is a medication used to control partial seizures and to treat epilepsy.

It cannot cure epilepsy and will only work to keep seizures at bay if it is taken continuously.

Gabapentin can also be used in adults to treat postherpetic neuralgia, which is a pain that occurs after an episode of shingles.

It should not be used for routine pain that is caused by minor injuries. 

This medication is available in a capsule, tablet, solution, or suspension.

Do not take gabapentin unless it is prescribed by your doctor for seizures or nerve pain caused by shingles. 

What are the common side effects of gabapentin?

Gabapentin may cause unwanted side effects. If any of the following symptoms persist or are severe, talk to your doctor right away: 

·     Drowsiness

·     Dizziness

·     Fatigue

·      Weakness

·      Headache

·      Uncontrollable shaking in a part of the body

·      Double or blurry vision

·      Lack of coordination (unsteadiness)

·      Anxiety

·      Issues with memory

·      Strange or unusual thoughts

·      Uncontrollable eye movements 

·      Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea

·      Increased appetite and weight gain

·      Dry mouth 

·      Back or joint pain

·      Fever

·      Flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, cough, or sore throat

·      Ear pain

·      Red, itchy eyes that can have swelling or discharge

If you experience any of the following more serious side effects, call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical attention: 

·      Signs of an allergic reaction such as rash, itching, or swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes

·      Hoarseness

·      Difficulty swallowing or breathing

·      Seizures

Can gabapentin be used to treat depression, mania, and anxiety? 

Gabapentin is not approved to be used in the treatment of mental health disorders.

There are studies in the works that are looking at how gabapentin can treat mood disorders or tardive dyskinesia (a movement disorder), but faulty case studies have said that gabapentin can help patients with treatment-resistant depression and other mood disorders without unwanted side effects. 

If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or any other psychiatric disorder, do not take gabapentin or seek it out from an unreliable source.

This is very dangerous and can cause many unwanted side effects, as discussed below. 

What is some important information that I should know before taking gabapentin?

If you have any allergies to medications or any foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals, it is important to let your doctor know right away before taking gabapentin. 

Gabapentin has not been approved to treat seizures or postherpetic neuralgia in children younger than 3 years of age. 

It has not been studied whether or not gabapentin is safe for women breastfeeding or for geriatric patients.

Women who are breastfeeding should discuss with their doctors and weigh the potential benefits and risks when deciding to taking gabapentin while breastfeeding.

Elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted effects from age-related problems, so doctors must be cautious when prescribing and managing the dose of gabapentin. 

Is it possible to overdose on gabapentin?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on gabapentin.

Seek emergency medical help if someone you know has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or is unresponsive.

Symptoms over overdose include the following:

·      Double vision

·      Slurred speech

·      Drowsiness

·      Diarrhea

Does gabapentin interact with other drugs? 

If you are taking any of the medications listed below, it is imperative to discuss them with your doctor, since these may increase the risks of developing side effects from gabapentin: 

·     Aluminum Carbonate, Basic

·     Aluminum Hydroxide

·     Aluminum Phosphate

·     Dihydroxyaluminum Aminoacetate

·     Dihydroxyaluminum Sodium Carbonate

·     Ginkgo

·     Magaldrate

·     Magnesium Carbonate

·     Magnesium Hydroxide

·     Magnesium Oxide

·     Magnesium Trisilicate

·     Morphine

·     Morphine Sulfate Liposome

It is also not recommended to take gabapentin with califediol or orlistat. 

In some cases, it may be medically necessary to take one of these medications with gabapentin.

Your doctor may adjust your dose in order to minimize adverse effects. 

If you have any of the following preexisting medical conditions, talk to your doctor before taking gabapentin. 

·     Depression or history of mood or mental changes

·     Kidney disease (side effects may be increased because gabapentin will be removed from your body at a slower rate) 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about gabapentin: 

1.   What is gabapentin good for?

Gabapentin is a medication used to treat nerve pain caused by the herpes virus or shingles (herpes zoster).

The Horizant brand of gabapentin is also used to treat restless leg syndrome (RLS). The Neurontin brand of gabapentin is used to treat seizures and children who are older than 3 years of age. 

2.   Is gabapentin considered a painkiller?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication used primarily to treat seizures and neuropathic pain associated with herpes zoster, or shingles.

It is not necessarily a painkiller since it is also used to treat seizures, and it is also considered safe, as it has little to no potential for misuse. 

3.   What are the side effects of taking gabapentin?

There are many potential side effects of gabapentin.

These include drowsiness, dizziness, unsteadiness or lack of coordination, loss of memory, difficulty speaking, viral infections, and tremors

4.   How does gabapentin make you feel? 

Gabapentin can induce feelings of relaxation, calmness, and euphoria.

Some users get high from snorting gabapentin and report that the effects feel similar to taking a stimulant. 

5.   Is gabapentin good for anxiety?

Although not the primary use, gabapentin is used off-label to treat anxiety.

Gabapentin is primarily an antiseizure, or anticonvulsant, medication used to prevent seizures, and also treats post-herpetic neuralgia, which is the pain that follows an episode of shingles. 

6.   How long does it take for gabapentin to kick in?

Gabapentin usually takes one to two weeks to kick in.

Your pain should start to improve one or two weeks after starting to take gabapentin, however it may take longer in some patients.

Some people may feel the benefits right away. 

7.   What drugs should not be taken with gabapentin?

Gabapentin can interact with the following drugs: losartan, ethacrynic acid, caffeine, phenytoin, mefloquine, magnesium oxide, cimetidine, naproxen, sevelamer, and morphine.

Gabapentin use is contraindicated, or highly advised against, in patients who have been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis or myoclonus. 

8.   Is gabapentin a muscle relaxer?

Gabapentin is a muscle relaxant.

Baclofen, however, is a muscle relaxant used to treat spasms in the skeletal muscle, muscle clonus, or muscle rigidity.

It can also be used to treat pain caused by multiple sclerosis. 

9.   Can I take Tylenol with gabapentin?

It is considered safe to take Tylenol with gabapentin.

No interactions were found between gabapentin and Tylenol Extra Strength.

This does not mean that no interactions exist, thus you should always talk to your doctor before taking any other medications while taking gabapentin. 

10. Is gabapentin good for back pain?

Researchers found that gabapentin is effective for pain due to a far lateral lumbar disk herniation. 

11. Does gabapentin help you sleep?

Gabapentin, although originally prescribed to treat epilepsy, has also been shown to increase slow-wave sleep in healthy volunteers or patients.

12. Can you drink alcohol with gabapentin? 

It is strongly suggested not to drink alcohol while taking gabapentin.

The depressant effects of alcohol can be enhanced when taking gabapentin.

These include dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. 

13. Can I take gabapentin occasionally? 

Gabapentin may be taken up to 3 times daily, but the brand names Horizant and Gralise are taken once daily.

The maximum recommended dose is between 1800 and 3600 mg a day.

Neurontin and the generic brands of gabapentin can be taken with or without food, but should be taken with a full glass of water. 

14.  What are the long-term effects of taking gabapentin?

People that have a preexisting kidney disease may experience fatal toxicity when taking gabapentin.

Treatment with gabapentin may cause other long-term effects including muscle weakness, memory loss, and respiratory failure. 

15. Is gabapentin good for arthritis? 

The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases (NIAMS) show that gabapentin, which is an anticonvulsant medication, can also be used for the treatment of pain and the symptoms associated with neuralgia and arthritis. 

16.   What drug class is gabapentin?

Gabapentin belongs to a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants, or anti-seizure drugs. 

17.  Does gabapentin fight inflammation?

A study indicates that gabapentin does not have an analgesic effect in normal skin, but may reduce mechanical (touch) sensitivity in acute inflammation following a thermal injury, or injury caused by excessive heat. 

18.   Does gabapentin make you hungry? 

Weight gain is a common side effect of gabapentin because it can increase your appetite. 

19. Can gabapentin cause shaking? 

Shaking, or tremor, is one of the common side effects of gabapentin. Some of the other common side effects include ataxia (lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements), drowsiness, dizziness, fever, sedation, and viral infection.

Others include blurred vision, diplopia (double vision), tremor, and swelling in the legs. 

20. Is gabapentin the same as tramadol?

Gabapentin and tramadol are used to treat different types of pain.

Gabapentin is an antiseizure medication, or anticonvulsant, and is also used for nerve pain, or neuralgia.

Tramadol, however, is an opioid analgesic, or pain reliever and is used to manage moderate to severe pain.  

21. Does gabapentin make you happy?

Gabapentin can induce feelings of relaxation, calmness, and euphoria.

Some users get high from snorting gabapentin and report that the effects feel similar to taking a stimulant.

In this blog post, we discussed what gabapentin is used to treat, common side effects, and precautions to take before using this drug. 

Want to learn more about gabapentin? Try these books!

Gabapentin: 523 Questions to Ask that Matter to You

This book has extensive details to answer all your questions regarding gabapentin.

If you are wondering about drug interactions, allergies, or how to take this medication you can find that information here.

This guide will help you formulate the right questions to ask your doctor and includes room for notes so you can jot down important information during your appointments.

In addition, if you are a healthcare provider and want to make sure you can answer every question your patient has, then this guide book is for you as well. 

GABAPENTIN.: Effective and long-lasting treatment of nonmalignant neuropathic pain, seizures, epilepsy and convulsion, etc.

This book by Hagreaves Layuf investigates gabapentin misuse, side effects, potential interactions with other drugs, and use contraindications.

Layuf details the reasons for gabapentin misuse and attributes many cases to the desire to get high, alleviating withdrawal symptoms from opioids, and potentiating the effects of methadone.

Gabapentin interacts with morphine, losartan, ethacrynic acid, phenytoin, mefloquine, and magnesium oxide. 

NEURONTIN (Gabapentin): Treats Partial Seizures (Convulsions) And Postherpetic Neuralgia (Pain Caused By Shingles)

This book by James Lee Anderson provides information about gabapentin in paperback form.

It discusses what gabapentin is prescribed for, how it works, and how it should be taken.  

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

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Anxiety Weighted Blankets

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Light Therapy

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References

Gabapentin (Oral Route).Mayo Clinic. 2019. 

Gabapentin.Medline Plus. November 22nd, 2019. 

Gabapentin for Depression, Mania, and Anxiety.Psycom. November 25th, 2018. 

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