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Gabapentin Has Stopped Working &You Can Make it Work Again

Do you have seizures or epilepsy? Although you are taking medicines, has your pain not subsided yet? Is it the proper medication? A seizure is an uncontrolled, sudden electrical disturbance in the brain. 

On the other hand, epilepsy is a neurological disorder where seizure is a vital symptom.  Numerous medicines are given for their treatment. Gabapentin is one of them. However, in recent years gabapentin has stopped working for many people. Let’s get into the reasons why this is happening. 

Before that, let us know about gabapentin a little:

Table of Content

Gabapentin as a Medicine

To be exact, it is a pain killer under Gabapentinoids drug class. Gabapentin, along with other medicines, is used for controlling and preventing seizures. 

It is an anticonvulsant and antiepileptic drug that is used for the relief of nerve pain as well. It is also prescribed to treat epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, and neuropathic pain. 

gabapentin has stopped working for a man and he is worried
Photo by Kevin Bidwell from Pexels

Other uses of Gabapentin

Now Gabapentin is used in a variety of treatments. Moreover, it plays a huge part in reducing alcohol and drug abuse in patients. In the next segment, you’ll see how they help in these situations. 

Treatment of alcohol disorder

Anticonvulsant drug gabapentin is used off-label to treat alcohol disorders. Gabapentin has been used as a muscle relaxer, antispasmodic medicine, and detoxifier. Now it is widely used as an anticonvulsant and pain killer. 

Gabapentin possesses such caliber to fight off many health issues that doctors consider it a better option than a placebo. Recalling, placebo has no therapeutic use, but mainly it is psychological. 

Withdrawal of alcohol, cravings, anxiety, and insomnia are symptoms that arise in a person with an alcohol disorder. 

Under such circumstances, an alcoholic calms down after intaking gabapentin. It should be prescribed only as a second-line alternative after screening for opioids to stop drug abuse. 

But if a person is taking Gabapentin with alcohol, it will not work for him rather has higher chances of deteriorating his health condition. 

Drug overuse

Any medicine, when overused than its prescribed dosage, has harmful effects. Organs of our body are sensitive and show minimal side effects to loss of functionalities. This can drag someone to death gradually. 

Some serious complications that can arise from overuse of gabapentin are:

  • Violent, aggressive behavior 
  • Anger
  • Anxiousness and restlessness
  • Mania
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts 
  • Panic attacks 

Other than that, health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease delay or intervene in gabapentin activity. 

Side effects of Gabapentin

If you cannot comprehend why gabapentin has stopped working for you, see its side effects. Opioids, along with Gabapentin, have more risk of causing respiratory distress and death. Otherwise, some side effects of gabapentin are listed below:

  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea 
  • Fatigue 
  • Vomiting
  • Prone to more infections 
  • Mood swings 
  • Swelling in peripheral organs 
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness

So, try to identify whether or not these side effects are affecting you. And make sure you aren’t misdiagnosing yourself.

FDA approved usage of Gabapentin

Gabapentin is FDA approved to treat partial seizures and nerve pain from spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and shingles. It has shown notable changes for patients having diabetic neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia. The approved dosage is 1800mg. 

High recommendations are made not to have Gabapentin on personal initiative. 

Gabapentin and Animals


Used in the management of multinodular pain as an analgesic. Also used to reduce anxiety and stress in cats. 


Xylitol is a component of liquid Gabapentin. It is a sweetener. But this is toxic for dogs.

Hindrance in performance of gabapentin

To simply put to words why gabapentin has stopped working, you must know which medicines reduce or interrupt its functionalities. They are: 

  • Antacids: Contains Aluminum and Magnesium
  • Anti-anxiety Medications: Diazepam, Lorazepam, and Flunitrazepam
  • Antidepressants: Amitriptyline, Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine
  • Antihistamines: Chlorpheniramine, Promethazine
  • Antipsychotics: Aripiprazole, Chlorpromazine, Haloperidol
  • Buprenorphine
  • Narcotic Pain Relievers: Oxycodone and Morphine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Sedatives Or Sleeping Pills
  • Tramadol.

The most common complaint about Gabapentin is it stops working after a few weeks of usage. The dosage of gabapentin varies from people concerning their age, sex, and physical demand. 

The maximum concentration of gabapentin (after immediate release) occurs within two to three hours. This medicine helps to lower sleep complications. 

On the other hand, it can take at least a few weeks to show some action for nerve pain. The appropriate dosage of gabapentin for adults is 1800mg for about three months.  

The medicine should be taken in the half dose and skipped for one meal. To make it work effectively, You should not take it within two hours of antacid. 

Foods to avoid while taking gabapentin

To make gabapentin work better, it is required to avoid a few foods. Some of them are listed below:


As an anticonvulsant, Gabapentin slows down its function when you drink coffee. Coffee consists of caffeine. Caffeine has properties that lower the effects of gabapentin. Moreover, it causes dry mouth that makes it difficult to chew or eat. 


Alcohol generates dizziness, lightheadedness, excessive drowsiness and increases the risk of injury. Alcohol and anticonvulsants like gabapentin both work on the Central Nervous System. 

As such, it can stop working. It can also conjugate neuropathic conditions or further neurological complications. 


Grapefruit is a healthy fruit. It has massive properties of clearing the gut and enhancing the digestive properties. Grossly, grapefruit expands the rate of absorption of food particles. 

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Therefore, gabapentin intake is largely facilitated and absorbed more rapidly. So to make the ingestion of gabapentin, avoid having it with grapefruit juice. Otherwise, you will end up asking whether gabapentin has stopped working for you. 

Contraindications of Gabapentin

People with the conditions mentioned below should not be given gabapentin. For them, it might not be effective. After ingesting it for a few days, it can stop working too. Conditions are:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Skeletal muscle disorder
  • Decreased lung infection
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Chronic Kidney Disease

The half-life of gabapentin is 48 hours. It flushes out of your system within two days. It stops working right after that. You should stop taking gabapentin if it does not work for you, even after taking it for six to eight weeks. 

Alternatives to Gabapentin

Gabapentin works by altering the electrical activity of the brain and influences the activity of neurotransmitters. It aids in relieving pain temporarily and calms the nerve fibers down. Gabapentin is not an easy drug to deal with. After a particular time, it can stop working, start to show side effects, and worse, become resistant. 

The human body resembles a laboratory. It keeps on experimenting all the time. The medicine working for you today may not work for you tomorrow. 

Gabapentin being a second-line pain killer and anticonvulsant, makes it easier to develop resistance. Dosage is raised at times to make it active. Mostly, gabapentin resistance starts to build up after three years of continuous usage. 

Irreversible tolerance of Gabapentin is sidelined with alternative medicines like:

  • Amitriptyline: Used for headaches and depression
  • Duloxetine: treats bladder problems and pain 
  • Pregabalin: treats epilepsy, anxiety, headaches
  • Divalproex: treats bipolar disorder, epilepsy, etc.
  • Desipramine: treats depression.

Before switching to any medicine on your own, consult a professional. Self-diagnosing yourself will bring more harm than good.


Can Gabapentin Cause Mental Issues?

The most common side effects of gabapentin include drowsiness, ataxia, and fatigue. Gabapentin causes sudden mood changes, compulsive thoughts and triggers depressive episodes. It aids in developing personality changes. 

Withdrawal of gabapentin can lead to mental confusion, anger, anxiety, and a lot of other mental issues. Long-term effects of Gabapentin are memory loss, weakened muscle, and respiratory failure. 

Does Gabapentin Lose Its Effectiveness?

Drug dependence develops in people if they’ve been on a particular medicine for too long. Gabapentin is suggested not to be taken for more than three years. 

Over time, the user may or may not work with pain relief. When the body develops resistance to this medicine, the dosage is increased. But the human body may not use it as effectively as before due to drug resistance. 

Does Gabapentin Increase Joint Pain?

Swelling in the legs and feet is a frequently seen symptom for taking gabapentin. At least 6% of the medicine population shows side effects that include pain in the body, joint, and head. 

Gabapentin has no analgesic effect in normal skin but reduces primary mechanical allodynia in acute inflammation following a thermal injury. 

But to our surprise, gabapentin has been highly recommended for treating Arthritis. 

Can Gabapentin Keep You Awake?

In general, gabapentin does not keep you awake till your body makes peace with it.

When you start taking gabapentin, it has a skim possibility of staying awake and not sleeping even if you are tired. As the body begins to adjust to the new medicine system, you will feel yourself sleeping properly.

The night dosage of gabapentin is suggested to take before 2 hours of sleeping to ensure your sleep is not hampered. 

Closing Words

To summarize the classic reasons why Gabapentin has stopped working, we can narrow it down to a few causes. It could be prolonged usage, irrational doses, suppressed activity due to another medicine or food. 

Most importantly, it can happen out of drug dependency and the body resistance of an individual. You must keep notes on what medicines you are taking and then proceed to continue gabapentin. 

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