What Is Gabapentin Used For And Why Is It So Dangerous?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

What is Gabapentin Used For And Does It Make Other Drugs Stronger?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved gabapentin only for seizures and post-herpetic (shingles) pain, but prescriptions are routinely written for bipolar disorder, migraine headaches, and other off-label uses. You might wonder, “What is gabapentin used for and why is it so dangerous?” When gabapentin is used for its original FDA approved purposes, it is generally safe when taken as directed by a physician, but off-label uses are dangerous and addictive.

What Is Gabapentin Used For And Why Is It So Dangerous?

Over 50 million prescriptions are written annually for gabapentin (sold under the brand name Neurontin). What is gabapentin used for and why is it so dangerous? Gabapentin is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. The drug is prescribed for many off-label indications, which means it is being dispensed for purposes never approved for by the FDA. Pfizer (manufacturer of Neurontin brand) paid out $430 million in fines for the fraudulent promotion of off-label uses for their brand of gabapentin. Gabapentin is being touted as the favored non-opioid pain reliever, but it comes with its own set of risks. While not addictive in the same sense as opioids, patients can quickly become dependent on it. Stopping it abruptly causes seizures, so the user must be weaned off it slowly under his or her doctor’s care. Overdosing on gabapentin can occur after taking a dose larger than that prescribed. The side effects of overdose are long-term damage to the body’s major organs including heart, lungs, and kidneys. The following symptoms of a gabapentin overdose require immediate medical attention.

  • Lack of coordination
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

If you or a family member are taking gabapentin and experience these side-effects, go to the hospital emergency room.

What Is Gabapentin?

For those who ask, “What is gabapentin?” it is an anti-convulsant medication used to reduce and prevent seizures and is also used for treating the pain that follows an outbreak of shingles. Medical experts are unsure of how gabapentin works. The current concern over gabapentin is due to the many off-label conditions it is prescribed for and the dangerous risks they pose. Gabapentin is being prescribed for the following uses that are not FDA approved.

  • Cocaine withdrawal
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Headaches
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hot flashes

One dangerous side effect recently recognized is that gabapentin prevents the formation of brain synapses and can lead to long-term memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and other memory-related issues.

Gabapentin Abuse

Unfortunately, many people believe that because the drug is not an opioid, it won’t harm them. Lack of knowledge about this drug has led to widespread gabapentin abuse. When abused, the drug has some very unpleasant and dangerous side effects including the following:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Altered mental status
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of memory
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Suicidal thoughts

Dependency on gabapentin is on the rise, and it’s cheap and easy to access on the street. In addition to providing pain relief, it creates a high the user enjoys. If the drug becomes unavailable, the withdrawal process includes convulsions and other unpleasant symptoms. Better Addiction Care (BAC) provides an extensive “no charge” addiction treatment referral service. Their addiction specialists will ask you some questions to help them determine the best facility for your addiction or dependence issues. Finding the right addiction care center is critical to your recovery, and BAC is dedicated to helping you achieve that goal.

Call BAC today at 1.800.429.7690 and speak to someone about getting your life back on track before your health is compromised. You deserve a healthy and happy life and calling BAC today is taking the first step in the right direction.