Gabapentin Sudden Death- Is This True?

Gabapentin is one of the most popular medicines in the world right now. People take it for various causes.

But can Gabapentin cause sudden death’? 

Technically if you take it with proper caution and doctor’s consultation you will be fine.  But if you consume it in excess there is a chance of death as this is very powerful medicine. However, some people often make the same mistake and take it without proper monitoring. Don’t worry though. If you maintain the general medicine-taking rule then you will be fine.  

So, in this article, I will discuss all the information regarding it. Let’s begin without further delay!

Gabapentin Sudden Death

Gabapentin is one of the most prescribed painkillers. So, most often we don’t address the use of this drug while talking about unforeseen drug overdose deaths.

Again, this is an anti-seizure medication that’s also used to treat nerve pain like shingles and psychiatric disorders including anxiety and bipolar disorder. It’s also been used to treat addiction by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

gabapentin-sudden-death

But, as you know, too much of anything is always bad. This is also true for medications. If you take them over your prescribed portion, it can create serious problems in your system. 

Any medicine can turn into an addiction if you take them in an uncontrolled manner. Addiction can lead to drug overdose and in turn death.

So, if you take too much Gabapentin for too long you can overdose. However, consuming them as your doctor has recommended won’t cause any problem at all.

It isn’t a narcotic and isn’t very addictive. But a 2018 report of the State Medical Examiner proved this to be wrong. It established that gabapentin was one of the prime causes of unintentional overdose deaths in the city of Wilkes. 

Gabapentin was the second most common cause of accidental drug overdose death in Wilkes in 2016. It ranked a little behind Oxycodone, an opioid painkiller, but ahead of alprazolam. Meth was also barely listed in 2016, and Oxycodone’s importance was drastically diminished.

Pew Charitable trust researched this in May 2018. Their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends gabapentin as a safer, non-narcotic medicine. Even many doctors are prescribing it instead of opioids. Its popular brand name is Neurontin.

According to the Pew analysis, gabapentin has been linked to many overdose deaths in Kentucky and neighbouring states. Although gabapentin is not categorized as a prohibited substance by the federal government, Kentucky did so in 2017 to make it more difficult to prescribe in high doses and for long periods.

After all, this is said and done, naturally, you would be curious about Gabapentin and what it does. Let’s see what it is and what it does.

Gabapentin – All You Need to Know

Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic and antidepressant drug. It is an anticonvulsant drug that is used mostly to treat partial seizures and neuropathic pain. This medicine is the first thing you should try if you have diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, or central pain.

Uses

Gabapentin is used for certain medical conditions. The doctor mayl recommend gabapentin for the following purposes: 

Seizures

Gabapentin is authorised for the treatment of focal seizures. But it is ineffective for the treatment of generalised epilepsy.

Neuropathic Pain

Various medical authorities support gabapentin as first-line therapy for persistent neuropathic pain.

Except for trigeminal neuralgia, this is a bit of general advice that applies to all neuropathic pain conditions.

neuropathic-pain

Gabapentin has modest efficacy for neuropathic pain in general. Only a small percentage of patients experience real recovery. Three to four people out of ten who are given gabapentin see any real benefits

Anxiety

There is no real proof that tells you that gabapentin helps with anxiety. Some doctors believe it does and others don’t.  However, a lot of people seem to show improvement in anxiety levels. 

Decrease Addiction to Drugs

Gabapentin is a fairly effective treatment for alcohol withdrawal symptoms and desire.

Gabapentin is ineffective for cocaine addiction and methamphetamine use and it does not boost smoking cessation rates.

Common Side Effects

Side effects are something that may or may not happen. There are a few side effects of Gabapentin too. However, they won’t for sure. A few of the most common effects of Gabapentin are:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Jerky movements
  • Body aches
  • Double vision; or blurry
  • Swelling of your legs and feet
  • Tremors
  • Trouble speaking
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Unstable eye movement
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Gabapentin has the potential to induce life-threatening respiratory issues. Someone should take you to the medical centre if you have the following symptoms:  

  • Steady breathing with prolonged pauses,
  • Red lips
  • Hard time to wake up 

Breathing issues are more common in older folks and people with COPD.

Gabapentin Abuse (Gabapentin overdose)

Many prescription and non-prescription medicines, even seemingly harmless ones like aspirin and acetaminophen, can kill you if used in excess. An examination of the literature uncovered some prominent case of overdose death, that was reported in 2015 in the International Journal of Legal Medicine. These reports, on the other hand, did not number in the thousands.

Gabapentin has been widely used as an adjuvant (additional medicine that enhances the effects of other treatments) since its inception, particularly to assist and manage partial seizures in adults. Off-label usage, on the other hand, has surged in the quarter-century after its first approval

Gabapentin, like almost all FDA-approved drugs, can provide significant assistance to patients suffering from these diseases when given responsibly and taken as directed. However, we all know that not every patient takes their meds exactly as they are recommended.

Withdrawal of Gabapentin

The best approach to discontinue taking gabapentin is to taper or gradually reduce your dose. You can avoid side effects by tapering off. The length of time it takes to taper off gabapentin is determined by the individual and the medication’s current dose.

If you suddenly stop taking gabapentin, you may experience symptoms like agitation, restlessness, anxiety, sleeplessness, nausea, sweating, or flu-like symptoms are all withdrawal symptoms. 

You can encounter withdrawal symptoms if you were taking it for a long time and that too in heavy doses. Withdrawal symptoms might appear anywhere from 12 hours to 7 days after the medicine has been stopped.

Your doctor will devise a strategy for gradually weaning you off the medicine. This could be accomplished by gradually lowering the dose over a week or many weeks.

When the doctor reduces your initial dose you may sometimes experience difficulty in sleeping, anxiety or agitation. Any symptoms you’re having should be discussed with your doctor so that your dosing schedule can be adjusted. 

FAQs

Why is gabapentin so dangerous to your health?

Answer: Breathing problems and allergic reactions are two of the more serious adverse effects. People who begin taking gabapentin should be aware of any changes in their mood or emotions. A person who is experiencing increased anxiety, aggression, or panic attacks, for example, should see a doctor straight away.

Is gabapentin harmful to the brain?

Answer: When Gabapentin is overused, it not only causes memory loss but also causes other cognitive disorders that can add to memory impairment, according to one study. Gabapentin’s long-term side effects, including weakening muscles, lethal poisoning, and respiratory failure, also pose a risk.

Is it possible to take 1200 mg of gabapentin all at once?

Answer: Adults should take 300-600 mg of gabapentin three times per day as a standard dose. But if you do the calculator, you are taking 1200 mg per day. However, taking it all at once is not necessary and somewhat harmful. 

Is gabapentin different for men and women?

Answer: Most Gabapentin brands claim that they work equally for both genders.

The sole difference between men and women may be sexual dysfunction. Both men and women may lose their capacity to orgasm after using gabapentin, according to an article published in The American Journal of Psychiatry. Only women, on the other hand, have reported a loss of desire.

Conclusion

That’s it for our article on Gabapentin sudden death. To be honest, if you don’t overuse it, you should be. Consuming too much medicine is not a good idea for overall health. Medicine has a lot of downsides. So never take it without a doctor’s advice.

Nishat Tasnim

Nishat Tasnim

Hi, I'm nishat tasnim, an aspiring cardiologist, health & fitness fanatic, enthusiastic learner & a writer in progress! Earlier in the morning, you will find me taking a sip of coffee & scrolling Journals. The same you will catch me at night sitting passionately & tapping the keypads for creating informative contents. That's being said,' Healthy' is one of the most desired outfits that everyone wants to wear. The way you feel today has a lot to do with how productively you will end up today. A single gap between knowing and unknowing can take you from your comfy couch to that terrifying emergency hospital room. My sole aim is to fill up this gap by providing evidence-based, current, person-centric, and trustworthy information. Hopefully, my efforts will add value to the life of people now, & in the near future. Nishat tasnim Army medical college Jashore MBBS (4th year)

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