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Can Gabapentin Be Used For Anxiety

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Facts You Need To Know About Gabapentin For Anxiety

  • Gabapentin is the analog of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid GABA. The GABA neurotransmitter is actually unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, but the Gabapentin medication is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Scientists believe that this can be clinically beneficial to patients suffering from partial epilepsy.
  • Some studies show that people who take Gabapentin may develop a fatal condition known as paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria, which is a disease that results in the destruction of the red blood cells.
  • The drug known as benzodiazepines has been commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. Some studies suggest that Gabapentin can be used to treat patients who suffer from the withdrawal of the benzodiazepines drug.
  • Gabapentin is also used to treat a condition called Restless Legs Syndrome.
  • Gabapentin can also be used as an “off-label” prescription. This means that it can commonly be used to treat conditions like alcohol withdrawal, Neuropathic nerve pain, Fibromyalgia, and Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Does Gabapentin Have Interactions With Other Medications

    Gabapentin taken alongside other medications may be linked to dangerous interactions resulting in side effects.

    Do not take it alongside antacids and morphine, as they are believed to affect Gabapentin concentration in blood.

    Do not combine it with opiates, they may cause drowsiness.

    Abstain from drinking alcohol alongside this medication, it may cause dizziness and drowsiness as well as impairment in thinking. 

    Always consult your doctor about taking other medications alongside Gabapentin.

    Gabapentin: Not What You May Think

    The vast world of medicine is always changing as science constantly evolves. A medication used today for one specific ailment may be used in a year for something entirely different. It’s remarkable.

    Gabapentin for anxiety is still something that needs to be studied more extensively before individuals can safely and confidently consider switching from their current medication plan. However, with side effects significantly milder than most anti-anxiety drugs on the market, it’s no wonder why Gabapentin is beginning to receive the recognition it deserves.

    As always, talk with your medical professional about whether a Neurontin treatment plan maybe something really worth looking into for your condition.

    Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

    Gabapentin is a widely prescribed drug by the primary care provider, nurse practitioner, neurologist, internist, and orthopedic surgeon for a range of medical disorders. The drug has many uses besides its antiseizure properties. While gabapentin has a relatively safe profile, the pharmacist should assist the team and monitor the patient’s medication list to ensure that there are no potential drug interactions. Nursing can answer patient questions, review dosing, and serve as a point of contact for the clinician. This type of interprofessional team coordination will serve to optimize gabapentin therapy while minimizing potential adverse effects.

    Article Details

    What Are The Side Effects Of Gabapentin

    Can Gabapentin be Used for Anxiety, Depression, and ...

    Just as in the case of any medication, gabapentin has several side effects individuals should be aware of. However, this medication does not affect every person the same way; therefore the side-effects you may experience are relative to your personal reaction to gabapentin.

    Some of the side effects of gabapentin may include :

    • Continuous, back-and-forth, rolling or uncontrolled/unusual eye movements
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Unsteadiness or clumsiness
    • Vomiting

    In the event that you or a loved one experience any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact your physician immediately. If you suspect an allergic reaction, go to your nearest emergency room or dial 911 for help. Allergic reaction symptoms may include swelling of the face, tongue, lips or throat, and may also be indicated by hives or difficulty breathing.

    For a more comprehensive list of side-effects , speak with your physician during your doctor’s appointment to go over possible side effects if you or a family member are prescribed gabapentin.


    1)   “Using Gabapentin For Anxiety.”Clarity Clinic , May 1, 2020,. Accessed June 2, 2020.

    2)   “Gabapentin Tablet, Extended Release 24 Hr.”, ,. Accessed June 2, 2020.

    3)    Nuss, Phillippe; MD. “Anxiety disorders and GABA neurotransmission: a disturbance of modulation.”NCBI , January 17, 2015,. Accessed June 2, 2020.

    4)    Snodgrass, S. R. “GABA and Epilepsy: Their Complex Relationship and the Evolution of Our Understanding.”NCBI , January 1992,. Accessed June 2, 2020.

    Gabapentin: A Brief History

    Over the last several decades, there have been various studies researching the efficacy of gabapentin in the treatment of anxiety disorders. As of December 30, 1993, gabapentin received final approval by the FDA for marketing in the United States. While it is only marketed as an anticonvulsant drug, it has also been used to treat Restless Legs Syndrome , tremors, hot flashes, chronic pain issues, and a broad array of psychiatric disorders. In 1998, a review inThe American Journal of Psychiatry reviewed several case studies, and the findings indicated that gabapentin may be useful in two distinctive ways: either as an additive medication for individuals suffering with anxiety disorders, or as a standalone treatment for specific anxiety disorders . While case studies do not furnish enough empirical data for the usage of any medication, they can encourage further research. In the case of gabapentin, the effectiveness of this drug is still being studied to determine how it may benefit individuals who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder .

    Treatment Of Pain Is A Medical Priority

    Pain management has become an integral aspect of health care in both human and veterinary medicine. If you’ve ever been hospitalized or had surgery, you will be familiar with the frequent question, “How’s your pain? Rate it on a scale from zero to 10.” So you try to pick a number, again and again, throughout the time you are hospitalized.

    It turns out there is a very compelling reason for this. Pain is not our friend. It hurts. But the significance goes much deeper than that. Left uncontrolled, pain causes not only physical damage but also emotional and psychological damage. It delays healing and negatively impacts the immune system. In humans and nonhuman animals alike, it frequently results in harmful, unwanted behaviors like self-trauma, aggression, or withdrawal from the joys of life. 

    You’ve heard medical professionals say it’s important to stay ahead of the pain. There’s a strong reason for this as well. Untreated pain makes your pain receptors increasingly sensitive, which results in increasingly worsening pain. This is called “wind-up” pain, and it becomes more difficult to control.

    We veterinarians work hard to prevent pain. When this is not possible, we work even harder to relieve it. This has become easier over the years with the ongoing advancements in science, medical knowledge, and extrapolation from discoveries made in human medicine. Veterinarians now have a whole array of medications and other therapeutics at their disposal for managing pain. 

    Downsides To Using Gabapentin As An Anxiety Treatment


    Although the drug may be a good approach for short-term treatment of anxiety, taking it for longer than a few weeks may not be appropriate for most people. Gabapentin has some side effects that can become long-term health problems.

    • Double vision or other vision changes
    • Physical tremors
    • Disorientation and confusion
    • Mood changes, including depression

    Additionally, gabapentin is only approved to treat nerve issues and seizures. Taking this medication for several weeks to treat anxiety can lead to withdrawal symptoms that mimic other, more serious conditions, including seizures, insomnia, panic attacks, and nerve pain.

    While many people have taken gabapentin for anxiety and benefitted from this treatment, it is not likely appropriate for most adults, and it is not appropriate for children or the elderly. Studies examining the medication’s effectiveness have all been small, looking at treatment for specific populations with specific causes or types of anxiety. The drug is not appropriate for everyone, and it should not be used without associated counseling or therapy.

    People who struggle with anxiety disorders . While this is mostly associated with alcohol use disorder, many of those with anxiety misuse and abuse prescription anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines. There is little information on abuse of gabapentin among people with anxiety, but it is a risk that must be considered, as gabapentin becomes a more widely abused drug.

    It’s Never Too Late to Get Help

    How Gabapentin May Help Anxiety

    The mechanism by which Gabapentin elicits an anxiolytic effect is not fully understood.  It is considered structurally similar to the neurotransmitter GABA.  The neurotransmitter GABA is known to produce a calming effect and relieve anxiety; this effect is apparent among those who use benzodiazepines and other drugs that target GABA.  By comparison, Gabapentin does not actually bind to GABA receptors.

    GABA synthesis

    Instead, Gabapentin is thought to regulate glutamate decarboxylase and branched chain aminotransferase.  Both glutamate decarboxylase and branched chain aminotransferase are enzymes aiding in the synthesis of GABA.  Research suggests that Gabapentin is capable of increasing synthesis of GABA, which may explain its anxiolytic properties.

    Among individuals with psychiatric conditions and comorbid anxiety, alcohol dependence, and/or insomnia, Gabapentin has been suggested to provide relief as a result of anxiolytic properties.  These anxiolytic effects have been noted as similar in respect to diazepam , a popular benzodiazepine.

    Gabapentin For Anxiety: Case Study Youll Never Forget

    As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.

    Are you suffering from anxiety? or a panic disorder? Well, interestingly enough, there’s an anti-seizure medication can help you out! Gabapentin for anxiety is a drug that’s been used to treat all sorts of nerve pain and seizures. But, recently, this drug has become widely used when it comes to treating psychiatric disorders such as anxiety. Are you curious to learn more about how Gabapentin can help you? Read on to learn more about this amazing drug.

    Differences Between Gabapentin And Xanax

    Xanax mostly treats anxiety and panic disorders, gabapentin treats seizures and neuralgia . Off-label, gabapentin can also treat anxiety.

    Xanax is habit-forming and can cause addiction and withdrawal when abused, and sometimes even when using it exactly how a doctor prescribes it.

    Gabapentin is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating anxiety. However, many doctors use it because it is not as habit forming as other drugs are and it usually starts working right away. Gabapentin is mostly used for anxiety in people who have the potential for substance use disorders

    The primary difference between the two drugs is that Xanax has a high potential for abuse. Evidence shows that gabapentin has some abuse potential, but not to the extent of Xanax.

    What If I Forget To Take It

    If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember.

    If it’s within 2 hours of the next dose, it’s better to leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.

    Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.

    If you have epilepsy, it’s important to take this medicine regularly. Missing doses may trigger a seizure.

    If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you.

    You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

    How To Discontinue Gabapentin

    Does Gabapentin Help With Anxiety?

    Like other psychotropic drugs, you should ease off gabapentin gradually. There are some known withdrawal symptoms. This mostly comes from people who take high doses of the drug and suddenly stop. You should only abruptly discontinue this drug because of a serious side effect, and even then, it should be done with your doctor’s supervision and direction.

    Side Effects Of Gabapentin

    Like all medications, there are several side effects to taking Gabapentin. Side effects that you experience are relative to your personal reaction to the drug. Everyone is different, so you may not experience side effects that others do or don’t. Some side effects can be nausea, vomiting, tremors, dizziness, sleepiness, double vision, loss of control of bodily movements, fluid retention, difficulty speaking, jerky movements, unusual eye movements, double vision, and unsteadiness.

    If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately. Get emergency help if you suspect you are having an allergic reaction like; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, hives, and difficulty breathing. If you notice that your symptoms are worsening, contact your doctor immediately. You may not notice symptoms until weeks after taking Gabapentin.

    Pharma Execs In The 90s Lied To The Public To Get More People To Take Gabapentin

    Despite the fact that there’s new scrutiny on gabapentin, the number of people taking it continues to rise. In the United States, its use more than tripled between 2002 and 2015. Gabapentin was the10th most commonly prescribed medication in 2017, when there were almost 70 million prescriptions—more than for amoxicillin, one of the most frequently prescribed antibiotics.

    The vast majority of gabapentin prescriptions are for off-label uses, or uses not approved by the FDA—an estimated 95 percent, according to a study of nationwide data. One found that gabapentin has the highest proportion of off-label prescriptions out of 160 commonly used drugs.

    These incredibly large numbers just don’t make sense, said Chris Goodman, an assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, who has published two papers examining gabapentin use in the U.S. There are no well-designed, placebo-controlled clinical trials for several of its off-label applications, said Joe Ross, a primary care physician at Yale University and a researcher on pharmaceutical policy. Some off-label uses may have one or two studies, but the results are either modest or inconsistent—overall, only about 20 percent of gabapentin’s off-label uses have data supporting them, Ross said.

    How Gabapentin Is Used To Treat Anxiety Mood Disorders Like Depression

    Gabapentin isn’t usually used to treat anxiety alone. More often, it’s given to ease anxiety symptoms for someone who also has depression or bipolar disorder. The reason is that it may not be effective for just anxiety. A close look comparing seven different clinical trials on how successful gabapentin is for anxiety shows that gabapentin may be better than a placebo to treat generalized anxiety disorder , but not much better. Results may be slightly more promising for social anxiety disorder.

    The clinical trials for treating depression with gabapentin are also pretty lackluster. To date, there are no scientific studies showing it’s effective—either on its own or as part of some other therapy. Still, there is some anecdotal evidence that it’s helpful, especially with patients who don’t seem to improve with more standard antidepressants.

    Why Is Gabapentin Used

    Gabapentin is a prescription drug most commonly used to treat seizures and postherpetic neuralgia .

    It is also prescribed by psychiatrists to treat anxiety.

    Gabapentin is taken orally, as a capsule, and it is available under the brand name Neurontin. Before choosing gabapentin as a medication option, it’s helpful to understand more about the drug, including how it actually affects sleep and sleep quality.

    Similarities Of Gabapentin And Xanax

    Gabapentin and Xanax both work for treating anxiety by affecting the chemical signal of GABA in brain cells. Both medications start working right away and are relatively safe when they are used correctly.

    Both Xanax and gabapentin are difficult to on by themselves because people will fall asleep, or pass out before either drug has a deadly effect.

    What Does Gabapentin Look Like

    PureRadiancePhoto /

    Gabapentin is available in a variety of formulations. The most commonly-used formulation in veterinary medicine, however, is a small capsule. This capsule is typically white or yellow in color, although some capsules may be a combination of white and yellow. Gabapentin is also available as a tablet, which may be white or another color. 

    Gabapentin liquid, although available, is rarely prescribed for dogs. Many liquid formulations contain xylitol as an artificial sweetener. While this sweetener may improve the taste of gabapentin for human patients, xylitol is toxic to dogs. If your veterinarian requires a liquid formulation of gabapentin, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe a xylitol-free formulation, which can be compounded specifically for your dog. 

    Gabapentin For Anxiety: Does It Work And How Long Will It Take

    The drug gabapentin is perhaps best recognized by the brand name Neurontin, but numerous generic versions of gabapentin exist. Gabapentin was developed to be an approximate synthetic version of the neurotransmitter GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid.

    GABA is the most prevalent inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord . Its effects are to slow down the firing rates of other neurons. Gabapentin use results in effects that are very similar to this primary neurotransmitter, but it does not have the exact same mechanism of action as GABA. Gabapentin is not a controlled substance and not covered under the listings of schedules of controlled drugs maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration , but one must have a prescription in order to get it legally.

    The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of gabapentin:

    • For the control of certain types of pain such as neuropathic pain
    • As an anticonvulsant , most often used as an adjunctive to other anticonvulsants
    • For seizure control for both adults and for children between 3 and 12 years old

    Off-label uses of gabapentin often require larger doses than approved uses of the drug require. Some of the more common off-label uses of gabapentin include:

    Some scattered research suggests that it may be useful in the treatment of anxiety that occurs in psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and it could be useful for anxiety disorders.

    What Are The Possible Side Effects

    Gabapentin can be used for anxiety – Gabapentin Neurontin RX

    Gabapentin has precaution information from the FDA, as it may increase suicidal thoughts and behavior. 

    Patients may notice side effects such as drowsiness if increasing the dosage in the first days of treatment. Other possible side effects are:

    • drowsiness;
    • fever;
    • memory loss.

    The medication is linked to withdrawal symptoms in case of sudden discontinuation such as anxiety, sleep problems, and excessive sweating. Reduce a dose gradually.

    Gabapentin prescribed to children over 3 may be associated with behavioral abnormalities such as aggression, distracted attention. Children under 3 are not commonly prescribed with this medication. 

    There is no clinical evidence about anxiety medication Gabapentin in terms of abuse or dependence. 

    In animal studies, has not been linked to fatal consequences. Some mice and rats have had overdose events with the supporting symptoms of double vision, and diarrhea. 

    If you have signs of overdose, seek emergency help immediately .

    What Are The Side Effects Of Gabapentin In Dogs

    Sedation is the main potential side effect of gabapentin, and the level of sleepiness varies from patient to patient. Veterinarians will prescribe a starting dose, and if this results in the dog becoming a little too sedate, the veterinarian will taper the dose down to the most effective one.

    Like all medications, there is a small chance that a dog could be allergic to it, in which case, this medication should be avoided.

    The dosage range for gabapentin varies widely depending on what it is being used to treat. Gabapentin should be used with caution for animals with liver or kidney disease, as it will take longer to metabolize.

    Gabapentin is available in several forms that are human-labeled products:

    • 100 mg

    • 300 mg

    • 400 mg

    There is also an oral solution made at 250 mg/5 mL; however, sometimes the solution is formulated with , which is toxic to dogs. Your veterinarian will help you order this medication in a form that is safe for your dog.

    Sometimes a dog is too small to use the human formulations, in which case, a compounding pharmacy can formulate whichever form and dosage that the veterinarian requests.

    Gabapentin is usually given by mouth three to four times, with or without food. Check the directions on the bottle or ask your vet if you are not sure of the correct dosage for your dog.

    Gabapentin should start to take effect fairly quickly, and relief should be noticed within one or two hours of administration.

    Most Common Questions About Gabapentin

  • Is there a generic version of gabapentin available?Since its manufacturer no longer has patent protection on the drug, there are generic versions on the market. They include Neurontin, Gralise, Gabarone, and Fanatrex.
  • How much does gabapentin cost?According to , generic Gabapentin can cost between $7-$27 for ninety 100mg or 300mg capsules and between $14-$53 for ninety 400mg capsules.
  • What is the difference between gabapentin and other mood-stabilizing medications?This is kind of a trick question. Technically, even though we hear the term “mood stabilizer” quite often, especially in the context of bipolar disorder, the FDA doesn’t officially recognize the term. Not only that, but even researchers and psychiatrists can’t come with a definition everyone agrees on. That said, lithium has significant differences from gabapentin. Lithium is in a class called bipolar disorder agents. Gabapentin is in a class called anticonvulsants. Their chemical structures are not the same and they work differently in the body. In addition to being used for bipolar, both have also been used for epilepsy.
  • Gabapentin Has The Potential For Misuse And Overdose

    We know today that gabapentin is not proven to work for as many conditions as Parke-Davis wanted people to believe. But when doctors prescribe their patients gabapentin, it can be without knowing exactly what the approved uses are. Instead they are “largely by informal discussion with colleagues or professional meetings, as opposed to prescribers’ evaluation of its merits for a given indication,” according to a 2018 on gabapentin off-label use.

    Seth Landefeld, the chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, echoed that doctors will reach for gabapentin in situations where someone is difficult to treat. This tendency has been exacerbated by the opioid crisis—as doctors are searching for alternatives to opioids, gabapentinoid use is increasing, according to a published by Goodman. The evidence for its use in nerve pain after shingles and diabetic neuropathy created a narrative that gabapentin could be helpful with pain, Goodman said. “From these trials, a house of cards has been built.”

    Prescription Medications As Alternatives To Gabapentin For Anxiety

    Gabapentin is an antiepileptic medication used off-label to treat anxiety. It is not approved by the FDA for anxiety disorder. Thus, you may need a different medication or approach to address your health condition. Speak to your doctor about alternative prescription medications. Some of them are:

    • Klonopin

    Can You Take Gabapentin While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

    There is no evidence about the effect of Gabapentin for anxiety in pregnant women. In animal studies, it has been found fetotoxic causing poor chondrosteosis of bones.  

    Do inform your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking Gabapentin, as it may not fit your health condition.

    The medication is believed to secret in human milk, however, the effect is not clearly understood. Its intake in breastfeeding women is possible in case if a doctor believes the benefits prevail risks.

    What Is Gabapentin

    Gabapentin is a prescription medication, most commonly sold under the brand name, Neurontin. It is primarily known for being a drug treatment for nerve pain as well as being an anticonvulsant, or epileptic drug. However, Gabapentin for anxiety is becoming increasingly popular.

    While Neurontin is the most common brand name, you may have also heard it referred to as Gralise, Gralise 30-Day Starter Pack, Horizant, SmartRx Gaba-V kit, or Neuraptine.

    In this article, we will often refer to Gabapentin as the most known brand name, Neurontin.

    How To Take It

    Swallow gabapentin capsules and tablets whole with a drink of water or juice. Do not chew them.

    You can take gabapentin with or without food, but it’s best to do the same each day.

    Try to space your doses evenly through the day. For example, first thing in the morning, early afternoon and at bedtime.

    If you or your child are taking a liquid, it’ll come with a plastic syringe or spoon to measure your dose.

    Do not use a kitchen spoon, as it will not give the right amount.

    If you don’t have a spoon, ask your pharmacist for one.

    How Long Will It Take For Gabapentin To Relieve Anxiety Symptoms

    Benefits of gabapentin for anxiety

    Depending on the age of the patient, gabapentin’s effectiveness – and how long it will take to work – may vary a great deal. There are numerous factors to consider, including the severity of the individual’s anxiety, as well as the type of anxiety they are being treated for. On average, the timeline for the drug’s efficacy is about 3 weeks, but the patient may experience the benefits of the medication sooner or later than that time frame. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that while gabapentin may be a useful medication for some individuals, it may not be effective for you. In the event that you are considering gabapentin as a treatment option for yourself or a family member, speak with your physician and decide together if this prescription drug will be the best and most effective course of therapy for anxiety.

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