Gabapentin Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment
Gabapentin is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants. Gabapentin is primarily used to treat epilepsy, nerve pain, and restless leg syndrome. While gabapentin is effective in treating these conditions, some individuals may begin to abuse it.
Studies have found that 40-60% of people who are prescribed gabapentin abuse their medication, and gabapentin misuse is fairly common among people who abuse opioids.
If you or a loved one abuse gabapentin, it’s important to be aware of the withdrawal symptoms you could face. While gabapentin withdrawal is usually not life-threatening, it can be incredibly difficult to cope with without medical detox services.
What are the Symptoms of Gabapentin Withdrawal?
People who abuse gabapentin either take the drug in extremely high doses or mix it with other substances like opioids. When you become addicted to gabapentin, your body begins to rely on it to function properly, causing you to experience withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking it.
The symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal may include:
- Excessive sweating
- Agitation and anxiety
- Symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection
- High blood pressure and chest pain
- Symptoms of restless leg syndrome
Symptoms like seizures and high blood pressure are rare, however, they can occur. As a result, you should always seek assistance from a medical detox facility.
How Long Does Gabapentin Withdrawal Last?
Depending on how severe your addiction to gabapentin is, you may begin to experience symptoms of withdrawal between 12 hours to 7 days after stopping the substance. However, it is most common for withdrawal symptoms to begin 1 to 2 days after cessation.
In most cases, gabapentin withdrawal will subside after about a week. Detoxing under medical supervision can reduce the length of your withdrawal symptoms. Without professional treatment, gabapentin withdrawal may be more severe and longer lasting.
How is Gabapentin Withdrawal Treated in a Detox Program?
While there are no official guidelines for treating gabapentin withdrawal, detox programs will provide you with a variety of services to ensure that you remain safe and comfortable. Typically, gabapentin withdrawal treatment involves tapering, which means your medical team will gradually lower your dose to prevent you from experiencing severe symptoms.
How long it takes for you to taper off of gabapentin will depend on the dose you typically consume. Additionally, if you were combining gabapentin with other drugs like opioids you might require treatment for those substances as well.
Typically, it takes about a week to taper off of gabapentin. However, one individual in a study required a tapering process of 18 months due to the severity of their addiction and polysubstance abuse.
Do I Need Inpatient Treatment After Detox?
Addiction recovery does not end upon graduation from a detox program. When you become addicted to drugs, that is a strong indicator that you are suffering from some sort of psychological or behavioral issue. Whether you deal with trauma, untreated mental illness, or need help learning positive coping mechanisms, you will need to attend more treatment than simply a detox program.
After detox, you must receive some sort of addiction recovery services. The best and most intensive form of addiction treatment is known as inpatient rehab. This type of treatment provides you with 24/7 care, evidence-based behavioral therapy, group counseling, and relapse prevention planning.
Individuals who cannot take extra time off of work or need to care for children can opt for outpatient treatment. Outpatient programs allow you to live at home while commuting to a treatment facility a few times a week. These programs provide the same services on a less intensive scale.
Find Help for Gabapentin Abuse and Addiction
If you or a loved one are addicted to gabapentin, it’s time to seek professional help. Gabapentin addiction can be dangerous, especially if you are combining the substance with alcohol or opioids. Because gabapentin addiction can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, you should always seek help from a medical detox program.
At Mandala Healing Center, we can provide you with a full continuum of care. From medical detox to inpatient rehab, our program is equipped to provide you with everything you need to maintain long-term sobriety.
To learn more about our gabapentin detox program, contact Mandala Healing Center today.
- Medline Plus: Gabapentin, Retrieved July 2023 From https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a694007.html
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Gabapentin misuse, abuse, and diversion: A systematic review, Retrieved July 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573873/
- Wiley Online Library: Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper, Retrieved July 2023 From https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1399-5618.2005.00200.x
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Neurontin Label, Retrieved July 2023 From https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/020235s050,020882s035,021129s033lbl.pdf
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Gabapentin dependence and withdrawal requiring an 18-month taper in a patient with alcohol use disorder: a case report, Retrieved July 2023 From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33783336/