Gabapentin FAQ

Who Shouldn’t Use Gabapentin?

By August 17, 2020 No Comments

Your eyes feel droopy, your muscles are heavy. With the way your body feels, you could almost swear it was the middle of the night. 

But you look over at the clock to find that it’s only two in the afternoon. There’s plenty of the day still ahead of you. 

A dip in your energy level around this time of day isn’t uncommon; in fact, for most of us, it’s simply part of our circadian rhythm

For others, however, it could be a sign that you’re not getting the sleep you need to fully perform at your best throughout the entire day. Maybe you’ve found that you’re not sleeping long enough during your nights. Or it might be that you’re waking up too often throughout the night to really get a true full night of rest. 

Either way, it may mean your sleep quality is suffering and in turn decimating your energy during your days. 

Gabapentin is one insomnia treatment option your doctor may offer up in an instance like this. A prescription medication that’s used for a list of different purposes, studies have found that it can help you stay asleep soundly throughout the night. 

Is Gabapentin Safe?

Gabapentin is considered to be generally safe. However, it can cause some side effects. The most commonly reported include: 

  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling spacey

In some cases, these effects wear off after the first couple of weeks or after your doctor has adjusted your dose. 

Less common but still possible side effects may also include: 

  • Unsteadiness
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Viral infections
  • Tremors
  • Double vision
  • Fever
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Jerky movements
  • Changes to mood

There are several things you can do to help minimize the chances of experiencing side effects when taking your prescription. 

First, always follow the directions as provided. Never adjust your dosage without first discussing it with your doctor. 

Second, Gabapentin should never be mixed with alcohol. Doing so can actually increase your chances of experiencing negative side effects. 

If you experience the side effects listed above or any others, always be sure to reach out to your doctor. 

Who Shouldn’t Use Gabapentin?

Insomnia is very common among adults, and Gabapentin is a treatment that’s often used to alleviate symptoms. 

However, it shouldn’t be used by everyone. In some cases, the risks outweigh the benefits.

To find out if Gabapentin is right for you, talk with your doctor about your experience with insomnia and your past medical history. 

Be sure to specifically point out if you have a history of any of the following: 

  • Breathing problems
  • Depression or other mental health disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Dialysis treatment
  • Drug and alcohol misuse issues
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Seizures
  • Hypersensitivity to this or other medications
  • Pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding

Additionally, Gabapentin can negatively interact with some medications. Some of these might include: 

  • Antacids
  • Sleeping pills
  • Narcotic medications
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Medicine for anxiety, depression or seizures

Always let your doctor know if you’re currently taking these or any other medications, prescription or over-the-counter. Doing so will help your doctor minimize negative effects and determine if a Gabapentin prescription is the right option for you.

dr. alex dimitriu

Reviewed by Dr. Alex Dimitriu

Dr. Alex Dimitriu is a Stanford-trained physician with dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine. The included content is not intended to replace medical advice. Always be sure to discuss any prescription medications with your doctor.

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