In 2016, a literature review in the journal reported that only 1 percent of the overall population misuses gabapentin. However, among individuals with prescriptions for the medication, that number jumped to 40 percent to 65%. Moreover, it was noted that one of those who abuse opioids, the percent that also abuses gabapentin was estimated to be between 15% and 22%. Also in that year, the state of Kentucky released data accumulated from autopsies performed on individuals who died of drug overdoses. The data revealed the existence of gabapentin alongside deadly opioids like heroin and fentanyl. In actuality, gabapentin was the most of
ten detected substance in these autopsies.
“So, what’s going on here? Was this only social and broadcast media hysteria or is this based on a real abuse phenomenon? As it happens, after my first scratch of the surface, there was a lot for me to discover about the facts behind those gabapentin warnings.
Well, many non-prescription and prescription drugs taken in excessive amounts can lead to death, even such innocuous drugs as aspirin and acetaminophen. Additional review of the literature revealed yet another report of a fatality by Infection, which was printed the International Journal of Legal Medicine at 2015. However, both of these reports barely constituted thousands.
In this regard, this matter with gabapentin appears to represent a tiny perfect storm. First, gabapentin is prescribed for pain, and because no health professional wants to find a patient in pain, this may foster a little leniency when it comes to prescribing practices and amount limits for this medication.
Thus, what’s the threat? Well, when used recreationally this manner, gabapentin is often taken in doses which are much greater than its typical legitimate therapeutic dose. Some users report taking around 5,000 mg at the same time, which is almost 2.5 times the typical prescribed daily dose of 1,800 mg. At these high doses, gabapentin, like many other anti-seizure drugs, may produce exaggerated adverse effects, such as, counterintuitively, seizures.
It’s been prescribed to deal with multiple physical conditions with neural roots, from restless leg syndrome to nerve pain to acute and post-herpetic pain related to shingles.
Like nearly all FDA-approved medications, when prescribed responsibly and taken as prescribed, gabapentin can provide great relief to people with these conditions. However, all of us know that we are living in a world where not every patient takes medications as prescribed.
Since gabapentin works so well as an adjuvant, it’s also frequently utilized in conjunction with drugs of abuse to intensify their consequences, particularly opioids. In this report many users were found to be taking gabapentin all alone, instead of opioids, for high and stay high during rehabilitation, thereby escaping detection through compulsory opioid drug screenings (that doesn’t yet display for gabapentin).
Gabapentin isn’t a controlled substance, and so, since the typical rules and restrictions for prescribing and dispensing large amounts of such substances don’t apply to gabapentin, this may boost less oversight of its usage and fewer warnings because of its possible abuse.
Gabapentin is an anti-seizure drug that’s also prescribed for nerve pain. I had been unaware of any widespread reports regarding any security issues with it. Really, my quick review of the literature suggested that the first peer-reviewed report of any gabapentin-linked departure was printed in 2011 at the Journal of Forensic Sciences, which was an intentional suicide by overdose.