What is Gabapentin?
The medication, Neurontin (Gabapentin) also goes by a number of other names. Additional brand names are Gralise and Horizant. Gabapentin is classified as a GABA analogue, anticonvulsant. It is a drug that can be prescribed to both children and adults.
Gabapentin comes in different forms. The capsules can be immediate-release, sustained-release, and enacarbil sustained-release. They all work very differently in the body.
Neurontin/Gabapentin Uses Today and in the Future
Neurontin has received FDA approval for the treatment of seizures. It is also approved to treat pain associated with people who are diagnosed with shingles. In these cases, it has proven to be quite successful and helpful.
In the future, it is thought that Gabapentin may reduce alcohol consumption and cravings. There may be some doctors in the United States who will prescribe it off-label for this purpose. According to the National Institutes of Health, there have been studies done to prove its effectiveness in treating alcoholism.
The Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome With Gralise
People often wonder, can I use Gabapentin to detox from alcohol?. When it comes to using Gralise and other similar drugs for alcohol withdrawal, PubMed and other sources speak favorably.
For example Science Daily published an article in 2013 that covered this exact subject. They clarified that not only was Gralise safe for alcohol withdrawal, but it was also found to be very effective. What’s more, this drug helped people in ways that other drugs have not.
Researchers found during one study that Gralise was far superior than drugs like Antabuse and Vivitrol. People who took Gabapentin were found to have:
- Improved sleeping habits
- A more relaxing detox experience
- Better moods
- Less cravings for alcohol
- Less physical side effects
Incidentally, it has been learned that higher Gabapentin dosages for alcohol withdrawal are more beneficial than lower doses. Although, people who participated in studies with lower doses, did experience some of the same benefits.
It is so important to understand the need to find the right Horizant dose for alcohol withdrawal for each patient. This is a medication that is unique, and patients are not always going to respond to it the same way. When using Gabapentin for alcohol withdrawal, dosage amounts will vary as to what’s effective.
Stanford protocol for alcohol withdrawal confirms that major symptoms are experienced between days 5 and 6 after cessation. There is no real need to start patients off on a lower dose of Horizant for alcohol dependence. In fact, one study has shown that some of those who received lower doses suffered from seizures. The group that did the best was the group taking Gabapentin 400mg three times per day.
When you’re ready, you should go through a Gabapentin taper for alcohol withdrawal. You should not try to stop taking this drug suddenly. This is true even if you’ve only been using it for a short time.
It remains to be seen whether or not this is considered a long-term solution for alcoholism. Horizant may be best supported as a short-term aid to help with withdrawal symptoms in alcoholics at this point.
If you do find a doctor willing to prescribe Gabapentin for alcohol withdrawal, it may come with some requirements. For instance, you may be required to go to alcohol rehab at the same time. This is an important thing for you to consider.
Going to alcohol treatment is going to be vital for your recovery. While the medication will help you, it’s not going to help you with some aspects of alcoholism. You may still maintain the psychological addiction to alcohol. Also, once the Gabapentin is stopped, you may need additional support. Please keep this in mind as you consider whether or not this method of treatment will be right for you.
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Neurontin Side Effects Which May Concern Some People
Like other medications, Gabapentin does have its side effects. These should always be taken into consideration before starting this medication.
When you begin taking Neurontin, you may experience:
- Feeling unsteady on your feet
- Feeling dizzy
- Drowsiness during the day
- Problems with coordination
- Difficulty speaking
If you take Gabapentin for a longer period of time, you may experience more side effects. For example, the following have all been reported:
- Strange and unusual eye movements
- Jerky bodily movements
- Double vision
- The onset of viral infections
- Memory loss
It is really important to know the risks involved whenever you start a new drug. You may find that these and other side effects are problems you can live with. If side effects become too difficult to manage, it’s important to talk with your doctor. He or she may be able to help you with them, or come up with a different solution for you.
Most people probably wouldn’t think of Gabapentin as a street drug. However, the recreational use of Neurontin has grown in popularity in recent years. When this drug was approved for nerve pain, the number of prescriptions for it increased drastically.
People use Gabapentin as a street drug for a number of reasons. These include:
- The fact that it provides an alternative to using benzodiazepines.
- The fact that it is very inexpensive (Neurontin street value is only about .60 per pill).
- The fact that opiate addictions have increased, and this drug can aid in opiate withdrawal symptoms too.
- The fact that it is easy to get because it’s not a controlled substance.
- The fact that it produces a decent high and a noticeable buzz.
In addition, Neurontin is believed to be much safer than other prescription drugs people may abuse. This is true even if it is snorted or injected.
When people participate in Neurontin abuse, they may refer to them as Johnnies, or Quell. They can produce a strong high, even when taken on their own, without the addition of other drugs or alcohol. Research says that Gabapentin abuse in 2017 is the most common that it has ever been. Excessive Gabapentin use can lead to a strong euphoria that can become addictive.
Even so, Gabapentin abuse side effects are very common. For those who abuse this drug, they are likely to experience:
- Being at risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Becoming excessively depressed
- Anger, agitation and even rage
- Reckless behaviors
- Bodily tremors
- Temporary amnesia
- New or worsening anxiety or panic attacks
Neurontin is a drug that was intended for specific purposes. Like many other drugs, it can be misused and abused. When it is, it becomes dangerous. The longer Gabapentin is abused, the higher the risk is for an addiction to take place.
People often wonder what the Gabapentin high feeling is like. Alcoholics are much more at risk for abusing Neurontin because of their history of addiction. This is one reason why using it to treat alcoholism should be done with extreme caution.
Neurontin is said to act very similarly to benzodiazepines, even though it’s not a benzo at all. The high is very relaxing, which is quite desirable by many people. When you abuse Neurontin, you feel calm and serene. You may even experience a boost in your mood, or you may feel more social around others.
As you can see, it’s understandable why this drug would be used to get high. Its effects are quite different from common street drugs, or even some prescription medications.
Is the Drug Gralise Addictive?
People who abuse Gralise usually don’t even think twice about addiction. Because it is not a controlled substance, they don’t believe that addiction is even possible. Of course, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Gralise and other similar drugs do share characteristics with medications commonly associated with addiction. For example, it is possible to build up a tolerance to Gabapentin, and stopping it can lead to withdrawal.
Therefore, it must be assumed that Gralise is an addictive drug. Of course, it is even more addictive when it is used inappropriately. Those who abuse it can actually form addictions to it at any time. It might not even have to take very long after the abuse begins.
If you have been taking Gabapentin, or even abusing it, you may not have counted on getting addicted. Now that you suspect that you are, you’re not sure what to do.
First, you need to learn whether or not you are truly addicted. You can do this in a number of ways. You may find it helpful to talk with someone about your Gabapentin use. Many drug rehab facilities offer free phone assessments for this purpose.
You could also look for some of the symptoms of Gabapentin addiction in yourself. These are:
- Asking your doctor for a higher dosage of the medication
- Purchasing Gabapentin online, or on the street
- Experiencing mood changes after taking this drug
- Trying to stop taking this medication, but failing
- Becoming isolated from other people
If you’re still not sure after looking at that list of symptoms, there is one more step you can take. Try taking an addiction quiz to get more information about your relationship with Gabapentin.
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Stopping Horizant Cold Turkey, and Why You Shouldn’t
There are some drugs that you should never stop taking cold turkey, and Horizant is one of them. If you do, you may go into severe withdrawal symptoms, which are difficult to manage.
Quitting cold turkey may seem to be the obvious answer to your dilemma if you’re addicted to Horizant. However, there are much better ways to quit that won’t put you at risk.
If you have a Gabapentin addiction, withdrawal symptoms are common when stopping this medication. According to the Mayo Clinic, and the NHS, Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Itching all over the body
- Extreme bouts of anxiety
- Chest pain and discomfort
- Muscle spasms and pain
- Changes in your appetite
- Feeling disoriented
- Nausea and possibly vomiting
With Gabapentin withdrawal, magnesium can provide some relief. However, it’s best to consider going through a drug detox program to stop taking this drug appropriately.
It’s important to know how to taper off Gabapentin. Again, this is best done in a controlled setting by medical professionals. You should not try to stop taking this drug on your own at home. Even if you research how to stop taking Neurontin, you’re not likely to get the right information.
If you choose to go to a drug detox program, they will know how to advise you. You may need to taper off Gabapentin very slowly. This will help to minimize your withdrawal symptoms.
Is Gabapentin/Neurontin Right for You?
This is the question you need to answer. It might be helpful for you to talk it over with a professional. If that’s the case, here at Northpoint Evergreen Bellevue, we want you to know that we’re here for you. We know that alcohol recovery is difficult. We want to support you in every way that we can.
Do you have questions about Gabapentin/Neurontin that you need to have answered? Please contact us to get more information.
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