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Does Gabapentin Help with Withdrawal Symptoms?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug used to manage addiction withdrawal, ensuring patient safety and overall well-being.

Gabapentin Use During Detox

Substance abuse treatment usually starts with detox, which involves withdrawal and gradual reduction of the levels of the substance of abuse in the body. However, this detoxification or withdrawal process is not without risk, as it is usually accompanied by several withdrawal side effects, some of which can be dangerous or life-threatening.

Many drugs are prescribed and administered during withdrawal to ensure patient safety and overall well-being. One of these drugs is gabapentin.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a medication primarily prescribed for treating and managing seizures in people with epilepsy.1 In other words, gabapentin is classified as an anticonvulsant. Gabapentin uses also include the treatment and management of neuropathic pain.2

It is also one of the primary drugs used in treating and managing pain conditions like diabetic neuropathy, central pain, and postherpetic neuralgia (gabapentin for pain relief).

Does Gabapentin Help With Withdrawal Symptoms?

According to a recent study, there is a high possibility that gabapentin for pain relief can help with the treatment and management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, especially when it is used in combination with benzodiazepines.3

Gabapentin for Alcohol Withdrawal

Gabapentin usage has included the use over the years to successfully treat and manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms and prevent addiction relapse. There are even suggestions that this success of gabapentin uses for alcohol withdrawal can be replicated for the successful management of withdrawal symptoms associated with the detox of other addictive substances.

What is Gabapentin Used For?

Although gabapentin strengths include use in treating and managing seizures (particularly partial seizures), it is used for treating and managing several other conditions. The gabapentin benefits (gabapentin therapeutic use) include the following:4

  • Prevent and control partial seizures: Gabapentin muscle relaxer is a first-line medication used to treat and manage focal or partial seizures. However, it is not effective for the treatment and management of seizures caused by generalized epilepsy.
  • Relieve nerve pain following shingles in adults: Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection distinguished by the presence of a red skin rash that can cause pain and burning. Apart from adverse health effects of shingles such as blurred vision and inflammation, shingles can also cause serious nerve pain issues. The benefits of gabapentin include its use to relieve the nerve pain caused by the presence of shingles infection.5
  • Treat moderate-to-severe primary restless legs syndrome: Gabapentin strengths also include its use in treating Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Restless legs syndrome is a medical condition characterized by discomfort and a strong urge to move legs, especially when sitting or lying down at night.
  • Insomnia: Gabapentin for insomnia treatment is also quite common.

How is Gabapentin Given?

Gabapentin is available in several different dosage forms, so you will always be able to select the gabapentin dosage form you're most comfortable with. These options are particularly useful because they allow for ease of administration and promote patient compliance with the dosing regimen. Gabapentin dosage forms will be detailed below:

  • Tablets
  • Oral solution
  • Capsules
  • Enacarbil

Typical Dosage Regimen

Gabapentin muscle relaxer is a somewhat delicate drug whose use requires strict adherence to a dosing regimen for optimal treatment results. Always follow the dosage regimen for gabapentin recommended by your doctor.

Irrespective of your preferred gabapentin dosage form, the normal dosage for gabapentin for nerve pain is usually three times daily, with not more than 12 hours between each dose (except for the extended-release tablet, which is usually intended only to be used once daily). Gabapentin dosage for depression is usually 300 mg once daily (usually in the evening).5

What are the More Common Side Effects of Gabapentin?

Just like every other drug, gabapentin uses for the management of addiction withdrawal symptoms is not without its side effects. These gabapentin side effects vary in severity from relatively mild ones like headaches and nausea to much more serious side effects like memory loss and recurrent infections. Common gabapentin side effects in adults include the following:

  • Feeling tired
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Recurring infections
  • Memory loss
  • Weight gain

What Happens if I Miss a Dose of Gabapentin?

If you miss a dose of gabapentin, you should take it as soon as you remember. However, if you remember close to the time for your next dose, just skip that particular dose you forgot and resume the normal dosing regimen from the next dose. Do not take twice the dose of gabapentin your doctor prescribed to you in a bid to make up for the dose you missed, as that could result in gabapentin overdose.

Reach Out to Your Health Care Provider

You should also endeavor to reach out to your health care provider for more detailed instructions if you miss a dose of gabapentin. Remember, always ensure to stick strictly to your dosage for gabapentin.5

What Happens if I Overdose on Gabapentin?

When you take beyond the normal dosage of gabapentin for nerve pain or seizure, either by accident or deliberately, it can be very dangerous for your health.

Gabapentin overdose can result in unconsciousness, breathing difficulties, and even seizures, so if you notice you or your loved ones have overdosed on gabapentin, you must reach out to emergency services or poison control immediately, and get the help you need.

Indications of Gabapentin Overdose

Symptoms of gabapentin overdose can include the following:5

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Speech impairments such as slurred speech
  • Drowsiness

What Medications and Products Can Interact With Gabapentin?

It is important to know that gabapentin drug interactions can occur when you use gabapentin simultaneously with other medications. Although these gabapentin drug interactions can be beneficial or help boost the effects of the particular drug in question, more often than not, they end up causing serious medical complications and adverse health effects. So you must let your doctor or health care provider know if you're using any drug or substance of abuse alongside the gabapentin prescribed to you.5

Known Interactions

Drugs and products known to interact with gabapentin (gabapentin interactions) include drugs that can cause drowsiness or breathing difficulties, such as opioid pain relievers, cough relievers like codeine, alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs like lorazepam, antihistamines like diphenhydramine and even muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine.6

Other Interactions

You should also not use gabapentin for nerve pain with any other medication that contains gabapentin, as this could cause an overdose. Also, note that gabapentin should be used with caution in people with kidney-related medical complications as it will affect gabapentin elimination from the body, which can lead to toxicity.

Other products like herbal medications and vitamins like vitamin B12 and C have also interacted with gabapentin.


Gabapentin interactions also include use with hydrocodone. NEVER use gabapentin with hydrocodone as it will cause severe CNS depression, leading to respiratory depression, coma, and sometimes, death. All of the above are gabapentin contraindications you should pay close attention to.7

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Though it might not be as addictive as opioids and other substances, there has been a sharp increase in gabapentin prescriptions over recent years, suggesting that it is addictive.8

Does Gabapentin Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Although this doesn't always happen, prolonged gabapentin use has been associated with mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. Gabapentin withdrawal can start as early as 12 hours after the last dose and usually lasts for as long as seven days.8

Find Out More About Gabapentin at San Diego Detox

Gabapentin remains a very effective drug when used appropriately and under the care of a physician or other health care provider. Are you currently on a gabapentin prescription, or are you considering gabapentin drugs for managing addiction withdrawal symptoms? If you are, then San Diego Detox is the perfect place for you. Reach out today and get answers to all your questions regarding gabapentin therapy and more.

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