Gabapentin Overdose

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin was originally formulated and approved for treating convulsions and seizures. Gabapentin interacts with the neurotransmitter glutamate and slows down its effects, making those taking this drug less likely to have a seizure. Side effects of taking gabapentin are usually mild and can include dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhea and a weak, tired feeling. People taking gabapentin should be aware, however, that it does have particularly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, even after taking it for a relatively short amount of time and at low doses. But can you overdose on gabapentin? Here, we’ll discuss the whether and how gabapentin overdose can happen and what to expect if someone has taken too much gabapentin.

Gabapentin Overdose
In recent years, gabapentin, sold under the brand name Neurontin, has become abused more regularly by those seeking a calming high similar to that brought on by opioid drugs. Gabapentin even has a street name — ”gabbies” — for recreational use. When a prescription drug is abused, it’s often ingested in amounts much higher than originally intended and (even worse) mixed with other drugs.

Despite the well-known withdrawal side effects, it’s difficult to overdose on gabapentin. Studies have shown that even at very high levels of ingestion people have only suffered mild to moderate physical and mental side effects that are rarely life threatening. So far there has been only one report of death from gabapentin toxicity (related to gabapentin overdose). While this means gabapentin is a relatively safe drug, it still should not be ingested in large amounts. Those taking gabapentin should keep in mind that gabapentin withdrawal symptoms will be that much worse if they continue to abuse the drug and take larger amounts than medically necessary.

Most side effects of a gabapentin overdose will be related to an overall deceleration of the body’s systems. Drowsiness, muscle weakness, lethargy and drooping eyelids can be expected. Other gabapentin overdose symptoms include diarrhea and sedation. These symptoms arise because gabapentin is formulated to slow down misfirings in the brain that cause seizures.

Those who use gabapentin should be aware that stopping gabapentin abruptly can actually increase the chance of experiencing seizure activity. While it may seem ironic that a drug approved to treat seizures can cause them, gabapentin is a powerful drug that must be tapered slowly in order to avoid some of its more severe withdrawal side effects.

If you think you or a loved one could be struggling with substance use disorder involving gabapentin or other drugs, we invite you to contact our compassionate and well-trained team at The Recovery Village. We’re here to answer your questions and ready to help in any way we can.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.