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Gabapentin Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

Gabapentin (Neurontin) is an anticonvulsant prescription medication that is used to treat nerve pain and certain types of seizures. It is also used off-label to treat a variety of other conditions such as migraines, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and some types of substance withdrawal. Although it is not considered a controlled substance, some people do abuse and get addicted to gabapentin.

Over the last 10 years, prescriptions for gabapentin have increased dramatically. In 2017, doctors wrote twice as many prescriptions for the medication as they did in 2011.[1] At the same time, more and more people are abusing gabapentin and becoming addicted to it. Studies have found that 1.1% of the general population have abused gabapentin. Among people who have received treatment for substance abuse, nearly 22% have abused the drug.[2]

Even though gabapentin is sometimes used in the treatment of alcohol and drug dependence, it can be habit-forming. Researchers have recorded numerous cases of gabapentin withdrawal in patients who became addicted to it.[2] Understanding the symptoms that occur during the gabapentin withdrawal timeline can help inform individuals of the risks associated with abusing this medication.

Symptoms of Gabapentin Withdrawal

People who abuse gabapentin may become physically dependent on the medication causing them to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it. Similarly, regular gabapentin users who take their prescriptions as directed may develop withdrawal symptoms if they skip a dose or run out of their medication. Common symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal upset
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure

Because of potentially severe and troublesome symptoms, it is always recommended to detox from gabapentin at a medical facility.

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