Gabapentin Overdose

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Although Gabapentin overdose is uncommon compared to other drugs and opioids, it’s still possible. The main cause of Gabapentin overdose is abusing Gabapentin by mixing it with alcohol or other drugs, especially opioids. This intensifies the side effects of both drugs, resulting in overdose.

This happens because alcohol and Gabapentin are both depressants which reduce nerve activity. When combined, the person is at a greater risk of overdose or toxicity.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin, sold under the brand names Neurontin, Gralise and Horizant, is an anticonvulsant used to treat people with epilepsy, nerve pain from shingles, seizures and restless leg syndrome (RLS). It is also used off label to treat:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Addictions
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Insomnia

Gabapentin works by decreasing chemical messages in the brain to calm nerve activity. The street name for Gabapentin is ‘babies’ or ‘gabbies.’

Reasons for Gabapentin Overdose

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of opioid deaths involve the use of Gabapentin. Gabapentin is not scheduled as a controlled substance by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) but can still be abused. Interestingly, Gabapentin is chemically similar to Pregabalin (Lyrica) which is a schedule V substance. There are many reasons why someone might abuse Gabapentin, resulting in overdose:

  • it creates a feeling of euphoria
  • it produces a relaxing effect
  • it generates a sedative effect
  • it improves one’s mood
  • it improves sociability

What Happens if You Take Too Much Gabapentin?

When one takes Gabapentin in toxic amounts, or in conjunction with other drugs/ alcohol, all vital bodily functions are slowed. This is because Gabapentin suppresses nerve activity.

The following are common Gabapentin overdose symptoms:

  • sedation
  • dizziness
  • double or blurred vision
  • increased heart rate
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • diarrhea
  • slurred speech
  • labored breathing
  • rapid heart rate
  • ataxia-loss of control of bodily movement
  • low blood pressure

Gabapentin overdose can usually be managed and treated easily. However, as with other drugs, the reactions and circumstances vary according to the individual. E.g., For those with kidney or liver issues, overdose can be lethal. Moreover, children and the elderly will be at a higher risk of complications than a healthy adult.

Another point to consider: Combining Gabapentin with other drugs and/or opioids increases the chances of overdose.

More Symptoms of Gabapentin Overdose

A person might experience suicidal thoughts when suffering from Gabapentin overdose or abuse. Be vigilant and take action if you hear or notice any of the following:

  • statements such as: “I wish I hadn’t been born,” or “I’m going to kill myself”
  • wanting to be left alone
  • buying guns or stocking up on pills
  • exhibiting extreme mood swings
  • increasing alcohol and drug intake

Further signs include:

  • taking Gabapentin in higher doses than prescribed
  • taking gabapentin more frequently than prescribed 

Gabapentin Toxicity

To avoid Gabapentin overdose, it’s important to know how much Gabapentin is too much. The following is a basic guideline guideline guideline for maximum daily intake of Gabapentin for a healthy adult:

  • for epilepsy: 2400mg-3600mg
  • for restless leg syndrome: 600mg
  • for nerve pain after shingles: 1800mg

Even if one takes less than the maximum dose, an overdose is still possible, especially if the drug is mixed with other drugs or alcohol. So, if you’re wondering, ‘Can Gabapentin kill you?’ The answer is, unfortunately, yes. If gabapentin is taken in conjunction with opioids or alcohol, the results can be deadly as it increases the risks of the dangerous side effects.

What To Do if You Overdose on Gabapentin

In case of Gabapentin overdose, immediate treatment is required. If you or someone you know has overdosed on Gabapentin, seek medical advice immediately. Try to keep the patient alert and awake and in a comfortable position until they receive medical attention. If the patient is unconscious, perform the following steps:

  1. Roll the person onto their left side
  2. Bend the right leg so that the hip and knee are at right angles
  3. Tilt the head back to keep the airways open
  4. Calm and reassure the patient
  5. Remain with the patient until medical personnel take over

In the emergency room, further inspection will be carried out to determine the level of severity of the overdose. 

Gabapentin Overdose Treatment

Overdose on Gabapentin causes side effects that can be distressing and difficult to manage, and even life-threatening. It must be addressed instantly to avoid significant or long-term complications.

Gabapentin overdose treatment may comprise of the following actions:

  • Helping the patient maintain an open airway, administering supplemental oxygen and ventilation assistance
  • Removing Gabapentin from the system by using activated charcoal or gastric lavage
  • Treating coma or stupor
  • Helping with the management of overdose symptoms such a delirium, agitation or confusion
  • Protecting the patient from further harm or self-injury. 

Treatment For Gabapentin Addiction

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from Gabapentin addiction, know that abusing drugs poses a great risk to your health and life. But do not fear; help is at hand. At Avenues Recovery Center, outstanding addiction treatment and support are offered to ensure a complete and wholesome recovery. Our inpatient facilities host experienced, competent and caring staff, who are there to guide you on your journey to sobriety. The following are the addiction treatment options:

  • Detox- your body weans off Gabapentin and cleanses itself of the drug under medical supervision
  • Inpatient treatment- addiction can be treated in a structured environment without outside influences that could potentially trigger the use of Gabapentin. Here you could benefit from various types of therapies, including: individual therapy, group therapy, family counseling, support groups and more.
  • Outpatient treatment- once inpatient treatment has been successfully completed or if intensive inpatient treatment isn’t necessary, outpatient treatment is the next option. Here you live at home and visit the facility a few hours a day for therapy sessions.

Avenues Recovery has eleven rehabs located across the U.S. Contact us to find which is closest to you, and to find the program that best fits your circumstance and needs. At Avenues Recovery Center, recovery is closer than you think! Our caring and empathetic staff are experts in the field of addiction and they will support and guide you every step of the way. We use personalized treatment plans and a wide variety of therapies to give every individual the best chance at recovery. We have helped thousands of people break free of their addictions and we can help you too. Contact us today to discover a world of support, top-notch care, and staff who are truly invested in your recovery. Take your first step towards a happier, healthier and sober future today!

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