Understanding Gabapentin And Its Risks

Medication pills being poured out from bottle
Understanding Gabapentin And Its Risks

Chronic pain is experienced by about fifty million adults in the United States. It can negatively affect
your quality of life and can prevent you from doing your day-to-day activities. Opioids are prescription
medications that are used to treat moderate to severe pain. However, these are controlled substances
and are much more likely than non-controlled medications to lead to addiction and dependence.
Therefore, some doctors may prescribe gabapentin as an alternative to opioid medications. But,
gabapentin is FDA-approved only for the treatment of some types of seizures and nerve pain. As a Los
Angeles compounding pharmacy, we discuss gabapentin and its risks.

Gabapentin Usage

Gabapentin is used for the treatment of some types of seizures. The medication is also approved by the
FDA to treat shingles nerve pain. At times, healthcare providers may prescribe gabapentin in ways it is
not FDA-approved. These include conditions like pain and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Treating nerve
pain from diabetes is one of the off-label uses of gabapentin. Some anecdotal evidence shows that the
medication is effective for nerve pain from diabetes.
Gabapentin is prescribed by healthcare providers as an alternative to opioids. However, it might not be
helpful for the types of pain that opioid medications treat, like pelvic pain or back pain. But, it can help
reduce opioid use after surgery and therefore help prevent the chronic usage of opioid medications,
which may result in addiction or dependence.

Side Effects Of Gabapentin

Like all other medications, gabapentin use can also have its side effects. Tiredness and dizziness are the
most common side effects of gabapentin use. Some other side effects of gabapentin use are:
 Constipation or diarrhea
 Mood swings
 Clumsiness
 General weakness
 Rapid movement of eyes
 Tremor
 Swelling
 Poor vision in one eye or double vision

Infection and fever are commonly found in children taking gabapentin. Changes in mood, including
hostility are also commonly observed in children taking the medication. If you notice any type of
aggressive behavior in your child after having gabapentin, you should immediately get in touch with
their healthcare provider.

Bottom Line

Gabapentin and opioids do not work the same way. Also, they are not approved by the FDA for the same
medical conditions. But gabapentin is used at times as an opioid alternative. Both opioids and

gabapentin may lead to mental and physical dependence. Therefore, before starting opioids or
gabapentin, you need to discuss with your healthcare provider the benefits and risks.