With so many prescription medications available, it can be difficult to keep track of whether what you’re taking is safe or not. Gabapentin is a prescription drug that has gained a bit more popularity ever since the opioid crisis started. Because of this, many questions about the drug have surfaced.
In this article, five of the commonly asked questions about gabapentin will be answered.
Are gabapentin pain killers?
Gabapentin is a type of drug that is prescribed as a mode of treatment for seizures and epilepsy as it calms down the nerves. While it is being used primarily to address these, other properties of the drug have made doctors consider it as an off-label treatment for other conditions such as hot flashes, restless leg syndrome, orthostatic tremor, and comorbid anxiety.
There have been several studies that have shown that gabapentin is also effective in alleviating pain symptoms. Because of this, it is being prescribed as an off-label treatment for neuropathy, which is pain associated with nerve damage.
While gabapentin has not been originally created as a painkiller, it is commonly being prescribed as a painkiller alternative.
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Is gabapentin an opioid?
Gabapentin is not an opioid. It does not work the same way as an opioid in terms of how it affects the brain and the body. Gabapentin is one of the top non-opioid alternatives that was prescribed to people for pain management.
It was thought to be a safer alternative to opioids that is why doctors prescribe gabapentin to people who are experiencing pain but do not want the risk of opioid addiction.
Can gabapentin get you high?
Yes, gabapentin can get you high. Gabapentin’s properties are not far off from intoxicants that are being commonly abused. The drug works similar to a mild tranquilizer as it has sedative effects.
Taking the drug can produce euphoria which can be comparable to the high experienced by people who take marijuana. Users also report experiencing a feeling of increased sociability and calm.
Poly-drug users also misuse gabapentin for an intense high. When combined with other drugs like anti-anxiety medications, opioids, and muscle relaxants, gabapentin is said to enhance the feeling of calm and sedation.
What are the side effects of taking gabapentin?
When users learn that gabapentin is not an opioid, there is a common misconception that it is safe. However, just like any other drug, gabapentin comes with side effects. Some of the most common side effects include rash, swelling of the face and mouth, hoarseness, difficulty breathing/swallowing, and seizures. It has also been shown to cause psychoactive effects as well as depression and anxiety. Other side effects include dizziness, memory loss, drowsiness, tremors, jerky movements, fever, double vision, loss of coordination, and difficulty speaking. Because of this, it is not advisable to go out and about or drive a car after taking gabapentin.
If you have underlying respiratory illness or of an advanced age, gabapentin use can depress the central nervous system. Studies have also shown it to cause increase pauses in breathing while sleeping.
When abused, gabapentin can result in significant brain or organ damage. Combining gabapentin with other drugs like opioids can depress respiratory function, and can even result in a drug overdose.
If someone is experiencing gabapentin overdose, common signs to look for include abnormally slow heart rate, depression of the respiratory system, slurred speech, loss of control of body movements, rapid heartbeat, and tremors
Can I get addicted to gabapentin?
Gabapentin was believed as a safer alternative to opioids. This made doctors prescribe the drug as an opioid alternative. However, recent reports have shown that many people are misusing the drug.
While the American Addiction Centers report that only 1.1% in the general population misuse gabapentin, what is interesting to note is that 22% of this number are people who abuse opioids. These people are either those who misuse gabapentin together with opioids or people who misuse gabapentin because the drug is cheaper and easier to acquire than opioids.
The cheap price of gabapentin makes it easier for people to misuse. It is even being sold on the streets where it is known as gabbies, johnnies, and morontin.
Stopping the use of gabapentin has been shown to cause withdrawal symptoms, which is a sign of physical dependence on the drug. While it is true that many experts believe gabapentin to have a lower risk of addiction, there have been many reports of people being addicted to the drug.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
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