30 Sec Answer: No, gabapentin is not a benzodiazepine. It is an anticonvulsant and neuropathic pain medication that does not act on the same receptors in the brain as benzodiazepines.
Gabapentin is a drug primarily used to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain disorders. While it has some sedative effects, it does not share many of the characteristics of benzodiazepines, which are commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. So is gabapentin a benzodiazepine? The answer is no – gabapentin is not a benzodiazepine.
What Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is a medication first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993 to treat epileptic seizures in adults and children over age 12. It can also be used to relieve nerve-related pain associated with certain conditions such as shingles or diabetes. Its generic name is gabapentin enacarbil, and its brand names include Gralise, Horizant, Neurontin, and Lyrica.
How Does Gabapentin Work?
Gabapentin works by binding to calcium channels on neurons, which helps reduce their activity levels. This reduces excitability of nerve cells, reducing pain signals from reaching the brain. It may also help improve sleep by decreasing wakefulness during the night, allowing people to stay asleep for longer periods of time.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia. They work by acting on GABA receptors in the brain, causing a calming effect and drowsiness. Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium).
What Are The Differences Between Gabapentin And Benzodiazepines?
The main difference between gabapentin and benzodiazepines is how they interact with the brain’s neurons and chemical pathways. Gabapentin binds to calcium channels on neurons, while benzodiazepines bind to GABA receptors in the brain. This means that although both drugs can produce a calming effect, they do so through different mechanisms. Additionally, gabapentin has fewer potential side effects than benzodiazepines because it does not interfere with other important chemicals in the body like dopamine or serotonin.
Is Gabapentin Addictive?
No – unlike benzodiazepines, which have been known to cause physical dependence and addiction when taken regularly over long periods of time, gabapentin does not cause these issues at therapeutic doses. However, like any medication, gabapentin should be taken only under medical supervision and as prescribed by your doctor.
Is Gabapentin Safe To Take With Other Medications?
Yes – there are no known interactions between gabapentin and other medications when taken as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. That said, if you are taking any other medications it’s always best to let your doctor know before starting gabapentin therapy just in case there might be an interaction between them that could cause harm or make one or both medications less effective.
What Are The Side Effects Of Gabapentin?
Common side effects of gabapentin can include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, weight gain or loss, dry mouth or changes in appetite or taste sensation. In rare cases it can also lead to serious mental health problems such as depression or suicidal thoughts. If you experience any of these symptoms while taking gabapentin it’s important to contact your doctor immediately as they may require adjustment of your dosage or discontinuation of treatment altogether depending on severity of your symptoms.
How Long Does It Take For Gabapentin To Start Working?
It typically takes up to two weeks for people to start feeling relief from their symptoms after starting treatment with gabapentin; however this varies greatly depending on individual factors such as type/severity of symptoms being treated and patient response rate to medication itself. Always follow your doctor’s instructions carefully regarding duration of treatment with any medication including gabapentin as sudden cessation without guidance from medical professional can cause more harm than good in many cases .
Who Should Not Take Gabapentin?
People who have had an allergic reaction to similar medications in the past should avoid taking gabapentin due to potential for cross-reactivity; pregnant women should talk to their doctors about potential risks vs benefits before using this drug during pregnancy; similarly nursing mothers should discuss possible implications for their babies before continuing use; additionally patients who have impaired kidney function need careful monitoring since this condition affects metabolism rate at which drug clears from system .
Can You Overdose On Gabapentin?
Yes – overdosing on gabapentin can occur either intentionally or unintentionally if too much of drug is taken at once; most common signs & symptoms include confusion/disorientation ,slurred speech ,lack of coordination ,shallow breathing ,low blood pressure ,increased heart rate & coma ; anyone experiencing such reactions needs immediate medical attention .
Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Gabapentine?
No – alcohol interacts adversely with numerous medications including this one & mixing them together increases risk for serious side effects; it’s generally recommended that patients abstain completely from consuming alcoholic beverages while taking gabapeptine .
How Much Does Gabapeptin Cost Without Insurance ?
Prices for this drug vary depending upon strength & quantity purchased but generally range from $4-$25 per pill without insurance coverage .