Gabapentin, more commonly known under the brand name Neurontin among others, is a medication used to treatneuropathic pain, anxiety disorders, seizures, epilepsy, insomnia, bipolar disorder, restless leg syndrome, and hot flashes. Common side effects from this medication are dizziness, weight gain, drowsiness, peripheral edema, sexual dysfunction, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Drug Abuse Warning Network

D.A.W.N., The Drug Abuse Warning Network data show that Emergency Department visits involving nonmedical use of gabapentin have increased by approximately ninety percent in the United States since 2008.  In Rural Kentucky, Emergency Department visits have increased approximately three thousand percent due to the nonmedical use of gabapentin. The data also suggests that twenty percent of individuals in treatment may misuse or abuse gabapentin. During this time there has been a rise in gabapentin prescribing. Since the start of the Covid19 pandemic, addiction has risen approximately thirty percent nationwide.

Gabapentin Can Be a Drug of Abuse

Gabapentin is being used more and more frequently by patients in methadone maintenance programs to get high; this can lead to injuries, accidents, and even death.  Increasing availability, lack of infrequent drug screening, and potential of euphoria when mixed with opioids have all contributed to the misuse of gabapentin.Gabapentin is usually not one of the drugs for which patients are tested in treatment programs.No one knew that substance abusers could get high from or abuse this medication.



Gabapentin has Good Uses too!

Certainly, there are many appropriate uses for this medication. Patients who are experiencing neuropathic pain, anxiety disorders, seizures, epilepsy, insomnia, bipolar disorder restless leg syndrome, and hot flashes can benefit from, and often outweigh the potential side effects of this medication. Doctors focusing on good prescribing practices will improve clinical expertise and patient care.

Certain Medications Should Never Be Mixed!

The medical profession has discovered the great danger of prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, and some other medications at the same time. Opioids and benzodiazepines should not be prescribed together. Gabapentin in combination with benzodiazepine, opiates, or even alcohol will potentiate the effect, and substance abusers look for the elevated high. Often when substance abusers are going through the detox process they will experience insomnia and restless leg syndrome, gabapentin is often prescribed to deal with this problem.  In extreme cases, individuals will experience seizures, gabapentin can sometimes be prescribed in these cases.  Education, Awareness, and Prevention help to keep everyone Safe from potential problems.


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