Neurontin, the brand name of the medication gabapentin, is most commonly used for the treatment of nerve pain (like the pain related to medical conditions like shingles) and seizures. This anticonvulsant medication is also often used in an addiction treatment setting to help treat the more severe symptoms relating to opiate withdrawal. The use of Neurontin in an addiction treatment setting is somewhat controversial, seeing as the drug does have some potential for abuse, and taking the drug in high doses can result in serious health-related complications.
Dangers of Using Neurontin for Opiate Detox
Neurontin abuse is also most common in individuals who have a personal history of opiate abuse, making it a less-than-ideal option for opiate withdrawal. Still, this medication is commonly prescribed and widely used. It was reported that in 2019 gabapentin was the fifth most commonly prescribed medication throughout the entire country. If an individual has been prescribed this medication for any reason, it is important that use is closely monitored, and that if physical dependence is suspected use is ceased immediately. In many cases, the individuals who abuse this substance will take excessively high doses, which is extremely dangerous.
High Dose Gabapentin for Opioid Withdrawal
Taking a very high dose of gabapentin is never safe, and this specific medication not be administered to an individual who has a personal history of opioid abuse. While Neurontin is less addictive than drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and heroin, it still has a high potential for abuse and can result in a range of serious – sometimes life-threatening – side effects. There are plenty of dangers of gabapentin when it comes to using it for opioid detox because it’s not medically supervised or proven to truly help the process.
Dangers of Gabapentin in Heavy Doses
If you are currently taking Neurontin and you believe that you might be developing physical and mental dependence, you must reach out for professional help right away. Addiction is a chronic and progressively worsening disease, and even if your symptoms are not severe, there is a very good chance they will grow more and more severe as time passes. Some of the dangers commonly associated with taking a high dose of Neurontin for opiate withdrawal include:
- Significant changes in mood, typically marked by angry and violent outbursts and aggressive behavior
- Severe anxiety, which can lead to panic attacks
- Severe anxiety, which can lead to suicidal ideation and suicide attempts
- Restlessness and irritability
- Mania, which refers to
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Insomnia and other sleep-related issues/disrupted sleep patterns
The psychological implications of taking high doses of Neurontin are severe – in many cases, more severe than the physical implications. Several common physical symptoms can occur when any dose of Neurontin is ingested. These include:
- A lack of coordination, which might appear to be clumsiness
- Unsteadiness/an inability to stand still without falling or losing balance
- Significant drowsiness and fatigue
- Slurring of words/a difficult time speaking and making full sentences
- Dehydration and chronic dry mouth
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Rapid and uncontrollable eye movements
Evoke Wellness and Medication-Assisted Treatment
While we do believe in the benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) when it comes to effectively treating symptoms associated with opiate withdrawal, we typically utilize safe and non-addictive medications like buprenorphine. Not only does buprenorphine help alleviate the physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal, but this medication treats the intense psychological drug cravings that often lead to relapse. The detoxification methods we utilize depend heavily on the individual. In some instances, we utilize nothing more than over-the-counter pain medications and non-narcotic sleep aids. If you’d like to learn more about the dangers of gabapentin or Neurontin in treating opioid withdrawal, do not hesitate to contact our informative Recovery Advocates. In other instances, MAT is essential. No matter what your unique needs, Evoke Wellness provides the most integrated and individualized addiction treatment available. For more information on medications like Neurontin or more information on our medically monitored opiate detox program, reach out to us at any time of the day or night. Our Treatment Advisors are standing by 24/7 to help get you started on your journey of recovery.