Gabapentin: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?Unfortunately, many doctors prescribe it for a plethora of medical problems that it hasn’t been approved for and this practice has resulted in it becoming one of the most abused drugs in the United States.

Effectiveness of Gabapentin

Gabapentin also goes by the name Neurontin, and other formulations include Gralise and Horizant. If you have been prescribed a Gabapentin drug for one of the approved medical conditions, the chances of it helping your symptoms are only about 15 to 20 percent. It is classified as an anti-epileptic or anticonvulsant medication, but physicians are increasingly prescribing it for off-label conditions that aren’t related to those diseases, such as bipolar disorder and chronic pain.

Chances are good that if you have been prescribed Gabapentin for a medical condition, you will enjoy the effects the medication has on your body. It is similar to marijuana because it provides the individual with a sense of calm, increased confidence in social situations, and a relaxed euphoric feeling.

Dosage

Your doctor can prescribe Gabapentin in escalating dosages and this can make weaning you off the drug even more difficult. The beginning dose is typically 300 mg but can be titrated up to 3600 mg for adults.

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Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms can be quite debilitating; therefore, they should be handled in a controlled environment such as a drug rehabilitation center or while under strict medical supervision. The fact that Gabapentin clears from your body in about five to seven hours means that the withdrawal effects can be quite severe. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Heart palpitations: These palpitations can occur at any time, whether you are at rest or being physically active.
  • Headaches: These headaches can differ in frequency and severity depending on the individual.
  • Bouts of anxiety: You may fret constantly about issues that wouldn’t have worried you in the past.
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia: The sleep issues can become quite problematic if they affect your quality of life.
  • A change in personality: You may suffer from increased irritability, agitation, or even a mental status change.
  • Flu-like symptoms: These can include body aches, fatigue, coughing, weakness, or fever.
  • Stomach issues: You may feel nauseous, have unexplained diarrhea, stomach pain, or experience changes in your appetite.
  • Excessive perspiration: You may sweat much more than usual during the day or have intense night sweats when trying to sleep.
  • A new onset of pain: Some individuals have increased pain or a different type of pain than they have never experienced before during withdrawal.
  • Seizures or convulsions: If you took Gabapentin to control seizures, you may have rebound seizures during the withdrawal period.
  • Cramps: Withdrawal symptoms can include muscle spasms in various parts of your body.
  • Dizziness: The bouts of vertigo can be so severe that you are unable to function properly during the day.
  • Mood swings: You may experience crying spells or become depressed. Some people even have suicidal tendencies during withdrawal.

How Professionals Can Help You During Withdrawal

Withdrawal from Gabapentin can take weeks or even months depending on how long you took the medication, the dosage, and your individual body physiology. A physician or the staff at a rehabilitation facility can help ease you through the withdrawal process so that you are much more comfortable. Some of the ways they do this are by suggesting effective tapering off schedules, providing you with supplements, or other helpful ways to decrease the debilitating side effects of withdrawal.

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