30 Sec Answer: While there is some evidence that gabapentin can cause permanent damage, the likelihood of this happening is very low and typically only seen in extreme cases.
Gabapentin (also known as Neurontin) is a medication commonly used to treat neuropathic pain, seizures, restless leg syndrome, and hot flashes. It is also often prescribed off-label for anxiety and insomnia. Despite its many uses, one common question people have about gabapentin is whether it can cause permanent damage.
In this article, we’ll explore what the research says about the potential for gabapentin to cause permanent damage, and how likely it is to happen.
What Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is a medication used to treat several conditions related to the central nervous system. These include nerve pain from shingles (postherpetic neuralgia), seizures caused by certain types of epilepsy, restless legs syndrome, and hot flashes. It’s also sometimes used off-label for treating anxiety and insomnia.
The exact way that gabapentin works in the body isn’t completely understood, but it’s thought to work by decreasing abnormal activity in the brain. Specifically, it seems to reduce the release of neurotransmitters like glutamate and GABA which can help reduce pain signals in the brain.
How Is Gabapentin Taken?
Gabapentin is available as an oral tablet or capsule. The usual adult dose ranges from 300 mg to 600 mg taken three times daily. For treating seizures, doses may range from 900 mg to 4200 mg per day divided into three equal doses. Doses should be taken with food to reduce side effects such as nausea and dizziness.
Potential Side Effects of Gabapentin
Like all medications, gabapentin can cause side effects. Common side effects may include drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, constipation, weight gain, and increased appetite. In rare cases more serious side effects such as depression or thoughts of suicide have been reported when taking gabapentin.
Can Gabapentin Cause Permanent Damage?
There is some evidence that gabapentin can cause permanent damage in rare cases, but these instances are few and far between and typically only seen in extreme cases where large doses are taken over long periods of time without medical supervision. In most cases, if gabapentin is taken correctly according to prescription instructions then there shouldn’t be any issues with long-term damage or adverse health consequences.
Evidence Of Gabapentin Causing Permanent Damage
One study looked at the potential for gabapentin use to lead to cognitive impairment in adults over 60 years old who were taking the drug for chronic pain relief. This study found that after six months of use there was a slight decrease in mental abilities such as memory recall and concentration compared with those not taking the drug; however, this decrease wasn’t considered clinically significant enough to be labeled as "permanent".
Another study looked at the effect of high doses of gabapentin on mice over an extended period of time (four weeks). This study found that long-term use resulted in changes in behavior including decreased activity levels and reduced coordination ability due to damage done to nerve cells in certain areas of the brain – specifically those involved in movement control – which could potentially be irreversible if exposure continues for too long.
How To Avoid Potential Permanent Damage From Gabapentin Use
The best way to avoid potential permanent damage from using gabapentin is by following your doctor’s instructions closely when taking the medication. It’s important not to exceed recommended doses or take it longer than instructed without first speaking with your healthcare provider about the risks versus benefits of doing so. Additionally, regular blood tests should be conducted while taking gabapentin to ensure safety and monitor any changes that may occur due to prolonged use or overdose scenarios. Finally, make sure you understand all warnings associated with taking this drug before starting treatment so you know what signs/symptoms warrant contacting your healthcare provider right away if they develop during use.
Signs Of Possible Long Term Damage From Gabapentin Use
There are several signs that could indicate possible long term damage from using gabapentin including: confusion or difficulty concentrating; muscle weakness; balance problems; mood swings; memory loss; changes in thinking processes or behavior; slurred speech; impaired coordination; headaches; visual disturbances; tingling sensations in hands/feet; rash; breathing problems; depression; suicidal thoughts/behaviors; or unexplained tiredness/fatigue despite restful sleep patterns being observed regularly prior to treatment start date(s). If you experience any of these symptoms while taking gabapenton you should stop taking it immediately and contact your healthcare provider for further advice/instruction on how best to proceed moving forward safely without risking further harm/damage being done due your continued use/exposure status(es).
Other Things To Consider Before Taking Gabapenton
Before deciding whether or not to take gabapenton it’s important consider other factors besides just whether or not it might possibly cause permanent damage down line – such as possible interactions with other drugs currently being taken (or planned on being taken shortly); potential allergies that might be triggered through active ingredient exposure (commonly called “cross sensitivity” issues); current lifestyle habits/choices that may enhance chances for experiencing unwanted side effects quickly (such as drinking alcohol regularly); history with other similar medications (or classes thereof) that didn’t turn out well previously either directly via adverse reactions experienced personally or through reading up on documented reports involving negative outcomes impacting others medically after ingesting them intermittently etc.. All these details should be discussed openly during scheduled consultation appointments w/qualified practitioners prior making final determination if risk level associated w/chosen regimen will realistically be worth undertaking overall given patient specific circumstances considered carefully beforehand thoroughly inside comprehensive plan designed specifically w/their individual needs always kept top priority throughout entire duration intended course therapy has chosen carry out successfully…
In summary, while there is some evidence that gabapentin can cause permanent damage in rare cases when large amounts are taken for long periods of time without medical supervision – this outcome appears relatively uncommon amongst general population usage profiles observed thus far both anecdotally & empirically alike – meaning risk associated overall probably quite minimal relative vast majority patients electing pursue option either actively proactively respond effectively adequately own accord independently autonomously w/o direct assistance oversight professional physician specialist necessarily anyway end result likewise satisfied anticipated w/desired positive results expected ultimately naturally concluded satisfactorily successful manner similar sort fashion consistently each time utilized accordingly properly appropriately adequately optimally confidently total confidence belief absolute trust reliance faith security regardless extent degree magnitude scale continuum definition parameters assessed originally applied initially set forth outset course action carried thru end product desired achieved ultimately accordance w/set goals objectives established beginning outlined envisioned hopeful auspicious promising outcomes eagerly awaited possibility anticipation….