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How Long Can You Stay on Gabapentin? Side Effects & Detox

Written By:

Alex Kudisch

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Gabapentin can help with neuropathic pain relief. can you get addicted to Gabapentin? Like other drugs, it can become addictive, so it’s crucial to understand how it works and when or how often to use it.

How long will Gabapentin stay in your body’s system? Will it continue to help with nerve pain? These are the questions we’ll answer today.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an antiepileptic drug or anticonvulsant. The medication is mainly used to prevent/control seizures and relieve neuropathic pain after getting shingles.

Though it’s relatively safe to take, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) hasn’t approved it for use outside of the conditions mentioned. Clinical evidence does suggest that Gabapentin works to address other problems. Therefore, it could be used as a treatment for other things later.

What Does Gabapentin Treat (Nerve Pain and More)?

Most people ask: What is Gabapentin used for? Here are a few of the conditions it may treat:

  • Pain that does not relate to nerve issues
  • Anxiety, such as that comes from psychological disorders (bipolar disorder)
  • Withdrawal from other drugs or alcohol
  • Restless leg syndrome (postherpetic neuralgia)

It’s often used with other drugs to treat issues and disorders. Likewise, Gabapentin isn’t very dangerous and has few significant interactions when using it with other medications. Still, it’s crucial to learn how long Gabapentin stays in the body and how it works to see if this medication suits you.

Additionally, you should seek a medical professional’s help and counseling or therapy to address the reasons for requiring the medication, particularly if you have issues with substance abuse disorders or anxiety.

While restless leg syndrome is straightforward, getting to the root of why you need the medicine is crucial for sobriety and well-being. Therefore, you should know the reason and dosage, getting an assessment to produce a healthier outcome.

How Does Gabapentin Work for Chronic Pain?

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While Gabapentin isn’t a controlled substance, it requires you to get a written prescription from a doctor who believes the medication will be helpful for your condition. It’s considered an anticonvulsant drug, so it will generally mirror the actions of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter.

Neurotransmitters within the brain are the chemicals that help brain cells communicate with each other.

However, GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter within the brain so it will decrease communication between your nerve cells. Such a decrease in activity between nerve cells is why many people have a mood-boosting or calming effect when the brain releases GABA. Likewise, this might be why lower levels of GABA are linked to mood disorders, anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy.

Since Gabapentin has a low addiction potential compared to other pain medications (opiate drugs), it’s not very effective at relieving pain as the more addicting option. Therefore, you’ll find many clinicians prescribe Gabapentin along with other drugs to address specific issues or conditions.

It’s important to understand that Gabapentin might not work for you, and you might need more potent drugs to deal with your issues. Therefore, addiction might come into play. Speaking to a doctor about combining this and alternative medications with low addiction possibilities is crucial to protect your health and well-being.

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Those with a history of addiction or who realize that addiction tendencies are arising need to heed the above advice. This may include taking more than you’re prescribed, hiding medication usage from family and friends, keeping secrets about the medication, and seeking more robust options to alleviate pain.

Is Gabapentin addictive? It’s not on its own, but it could lead to adverse side effects and cause you to want more or another drug.

How Long Will Gabapentin Stay in the System?

How the body processes Gabapentin depends on many factors, such as the type (immediate release, enacarbil sustained release, sustained release), the type of drug used, other medications you use with Gabapentin, underlying medical conditions, and genetics (gender, weight, and age).

In most people, the drug stays in the body for about five to seven hours, though this is based on the half-life of Gabapentin. The half-life is the time it takes to reduce the drug amount by half in your body.

The liver mainly metabolizes substances, but Gabapentin reacts differently to your organs. Instead of getting broken down by your liver, it’s primarily metabolized by the kidneys.

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Will Gabapentin stay in the body for long? Generally, no, because the liver does not process it. With the drug’s half-life, most people eliminate it from the body within 48 hours after that very last dose. However, the body processes it based on various factors, so the release rate might also change.

For instance, if you take the extended-release version, the drug releases throughout the body over a longer period and stays longer than the immediate release option. Likewise, these factors can affect how long it will take for the medication to get eliminated:

  • The amount of the drug
  • Weight and age of the person
  • Differences in kidney functioning

Therefore, older individuals and those with low body mass indexes will have longer elimination times than a youthful person with a higher weight. Hydration often speeds up removing the drug since it’s metabolized primarily in the kidneys and comes out through the urine.

Most employers and random drug screenings don’t test for Gabapentin. However, a lab can detect Gabapentin and its misuse through urine, blood, and hair testing.

What Are the Detox Process and Withdrawal Symptoms Like for Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is safe, but you should determine if it’s right for you. Likewise, if you’re taking the drug to reduce withdrawal symptoms experienced during an alcohol or drug detox, you must get help for the addiction. Inpatient rehab is your key to lasting sobriety.

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Side effects of using this substance can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Swollen legs and arms
  • Mood changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling tired or sleepy

Some people could experience adverse side effects, such as trouble thinking and longer reaction times.

Can You Get Addicted to Gabapentin?

Generally, long-term use of Gabapentin can lead to physiologic dependence. You may have to start taking higher doses to feel the same effects or may even experience anxiety, seizures, and severe confusion.

What Are the Dangers of Using Gabapentin?

Using Gabapentin could lead to clumsiness, vision changes, trouble thinking, sleepiness, and drowsiness. Those don’t always constitute something terrible, but you shouldn’t operate heavy machinery until you know how it will affect you.

Is Gabapentin Hard to Get off Of?

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You can start seeing withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours to seven days after stopping the medication, and it might last up to 10 days. It’s wise to taper off the medication and have a doctor’s supervision.

When Should Gabapentin be Stopped?

You might choose to stop taking the medication for many reasons, such as:

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  • It’s not working to relieve your pain or prevent seizures.
  • The condition improves, so you no longer need it.
  • You’re using a nondrug therapy that relieves pain.
  • You frequently enjoy alcoholic beverages, which leads to drowsiness and dizziness.
  • You can’t function (drive or operate machinery) because you’re less alert.

How Long Will It Take for the Side Effects of Gabapentin to Go Away?

Most Gabapentin side effects are mild and go away within a few days.

When Will Gabapentin Get into the Body’s System?

It can take a few weeks for Gabapentin to relieve pain, depending on your genetics and other factors.

What Will Gabapentin Do to Your Body?

This substance is anti-epileptic, so it will affect the nerves and chemicals in the brain to prevent nerve pain.

What to Do If You’re Taking Gabapentin and Addicted

Though Gabapentin is a substance that can help prevent or alleviate pain in the body and is approved by the FDA, you can become addicted to it. Generally, stopping Gabapentin isn’t wise unless you’re under the supervision of health professionals.

If you require further information about Gabapentin and its potential for abuse, it’s wise to contact Crestone Detox Austin – Alcohol & Drug Rehab. We can help you start your recovery journey.

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