What Medicines Are Good for Treating Headaches ?

When headache pain has you in its grip, a fast-acting headache remedy is a top priority. Some headache remedies come in the form of medication. But there are also many ways to achieve natural headache relief. Feeling better may require a combination of treatments.

Medications

Headache remedies for migraine headaches are usually prescription drugs, such as:

    • beta blockers: atenolol (Tenormin); bisoprolol (Zebeta)
    • tricyclics: amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep); doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan)
    • calcium-channel blockers: verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan)
    • anticonvulsants: divalproex (Depakote); gabapentin (Neurontin); topimirate (Topamax)
    • triptans: almotriptan (Axert); eletriptan (Relpax); sumatriptan (Imitrex).

Triptans are meant for acute treatment of migraines, while all the other categories are meant for chronic prevention of migraines.

You must talk to a doctor in order to get a prescription. The drugs are not available over the counter.

While there are also prescription medications for other types of headaches, such as tension headaches or sinus headaches, over-the-counter (OTC) headache remedies may be enough to relieve the pain they bring. OTC pills are available without a prescription, but as the Harvard Medical School Special Health Report Headaches: Relieving and preventing migraines and other headaches notes, they are medications and must be used carefully.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) is a generally safe non-aspirin headache remedy. But doses above 3 grams per day, especially when combined with alcohol, can cause potentially fatal liver damage. If you consume three or more alcoholic drinks a day, every day, don’t take acetaminophen.

  • Aspirin quells pain and may prevent migraine headaches in some people when taken regularly. Long-term side effects include kidney damage and gastrointestinal problems, such as stomach pain, heartburn, or nausea. Bleeding from the stomach can also occur, often in such minute quantities as to go unnoticed. However, over time anemia may result, causing fatigue— which, in turn, may increase the frequency of headaches. Avoid aspirin if you have reflux, gastritis, or ulcers.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox), and ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, others). In some people, NSAIDs help prevent migraine headaches. Their long-term side effects are similar to those for aspirin.

Most healthy people who have mild to moderately painful headaches once in a while can take OTC headache remedies. But if you need to take an OTC painkiller several times a week, you should see your doctor.

Natural Headache Relief

Some people feel more comfortable seeking natural headache relief, in the form of plant-based or mineral supplements. Some of the most widely used preparations include:

      • Butterbur, an herb derived from plants in the genus Petasites
      • Feverfew, A daisy-like flower native to Europe
      • Peppermint oil, a culinary herb
      • Magnesium, a mineral
      • Coenzyme Q10 , an enzyme found in mitochondria, the energy factories of our cells
      • Vitamin B12

Consult your doctor before taking any of these supplements, as they can interact with medications to treat headaches or other conditions. The FDA does not regulate the effectiveness or safety of these products.

Activities that help

You may need more than just a pill for a headache remedy. Certain activities are also effective at relieving pain. For example, half of all headache sufferers in the United States use some type of mind-body technique to alleviate the pain. These include:

      • meditation
      • relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing
      • yoga
      • hypnosis, a state of deep relaxation that is similar to being in a trance
      • stress management

These mind-body therapies can help lower stress, a widely accepted headache trigger, and they also promote healthier lifestyle habits, such as getting adequate sleep, to keep headaches at bay.

Exercise, if performed regularly, is another natural headache remedy. It helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. It also boosts your mood, relieves stress, and helps prevent a host of ailments, such as high blood pressure.

Other natural headache relief

If your own natural headache remedies aren’t effective, consider alternatives, such as:

    1. Acupuncture: According to traditional Chinese beliefs, acupuncture works by affecting the flow of energy through pathways that run through the body.
    2. Psychotherapy: This can help you manage the effects that headaches have on your life, as well as the stresses and anxieties that may aggravate your pain.
    3. Physical therapy: This can provide relief for tension headaches and migraines by relaxing the tense muscles that commonly accompany tension and migraine headaches.

Seeking professional help

If headaches occur on a regular basis, it’s important to speak to your doctor, to see if an underlying condition is to blame, such as a medication side effect or a blood vessel abnormality.

Start with your primary care physician. You may be referred to a neurologist, who might order tests based on your symptoms. Once you have a diagnosis of the causes of your headaches, your doctor will be able to help you devise strategies for effective headache remedies.

What is Fioricet (Butalbital APAP Caffeine) and What is the Side Effects of Fioricet ?

If you’re struggling with constant headaches, your doctor might prescribe you a medication called Fioricet (Butalbital APAP Caffeine).

This proprietary, brand name medication is actually a combination of other medications. The basic component is, surprisingly enough, acetaminophen, a common pain relieving medication that you can easily get over the counter. Because it’s mixed with another powerful medication, though, it’s something that you can only get by prescription.

The second ingredient in this medication is Butalbital, which is a barbiturate, commonly used to relieve muscle tension. Since many of the worst headaches that you can get are actually caused by tense muscles in the neck and shoulders, this is a very helpful addition to a very helpful pain killer.

The formulation of this medication is accentuated with a dose of caffeine. Although caffeine doesn’t necessarily stop headaches, it does have an effect on the central nervous system. It stimulates the veins and relaxes them, allowing blood to flow more freely. This, in and of itself, can have a mild pain relieving effect on headaches. However, it’s mainly useful because it can help the other two drugs to be delivered to the body’s various systems more easily.

Fioricet is a medication that you need a prescription for, but you don’t necessarily have to buy it through traditional pharmacies. These days, online pharmacies are very popular for buying medications like these. It’s easy because you don’t have to actually go anywhere to get your medications. They can be delivered right to your door for a minimal cost.

Before you purchase Fioricet(Butalbital APAP Caffeine) online, though, make sure that you’re getting it from a reputable online pharmacy where you are assured of the quality of your medication and the quantity you’re going to get.

One of the main advantages of buying online is that you can save money, too, but make sure you’re getting what you pay for with this medication.

Many people who purchase Fioricet(Butalbital APAP Caffeine) online find that they enjoy the utter privacy of it. No one needs to know that you’re suffering from headaches, but you can get relief easily and quickly by having your medication delivered to your door. One you start taking this medication, you’ll see just how quickly and effectively it works on headaches of all sorts, and you’ll be able to get rid of your headaches more efficiently than ever before.

Common and Rare Side Effects of Fioricet

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Light headedness

shortness of breath

Incidence not known

Abdominal or stomach pain

black, tarry stools

bleeding gums

blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin

blood in the urine or stools

blurred vision

change in the frequency of urination or amount of urine

chills

cough

diarrhea

difficulty with breathing

difficulty with swallowing

dizziness

drowsiness

dry mouth

fainting

fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse

flushed or dry skin

fruit-like breath odor

hives, itching, or skin rash

increased hunger

increased thirst

increased urination

joint or muscle pain

loss of appetite

nausea or vomiting

pinpoint red spots on the skin

puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue

red skin lesions, often with a purple center

red, irritated eyes

seizures

shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet

sore throat

sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips

sweating

swelling of the feet or lower legs

tightness in the chest

trembling or shaking of the hands or feet

troubled breathing

unexplained weight loss

unusual bleeding or bruising

unusual tiredness or weakness

weakness

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose

Confusion as to time, place, or person

dark urine

difficult or painful urination

dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position

fever

general feeling of discomfort or illness

hallucinations

headache

holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact

increased sweating

irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing

light-colored stools

loss of appetite

pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin

restlessness

sudden decrease in the amount of urine

sweating

trouble sleeping

unpleasant breath odor

unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness

vomiting of blood

yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Relaxed and calm

sleepiness

Incidence not known

Anxiety

bloated

constipation

continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears

depression

earache

excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines

false or unusual sense of well-being

full feeling

hearing loss

heartburn

heavy eyelids

high energy

hot spells

hyperventilation

irritability

numbness

pain in the leg

passing gas

sluggishness

stuffy nose

tingling sensation

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

How to Buy Fioricet (Butalbital APAP Caffeine) Internet On Line

You can buy Affordable Fioricet (Butalbital APAP Caffeine) online and save a lot of money over time. There are several different online pharmacies in business, but they’re not all equal in terms of service or the quality of the products they offer.  Make sure you’re buying from a reputable business and that you’re getting the products you want. The good online pharmacies will offer the same selections, oftentimes more, than are offered at regular pharmacies.

Make sure that you order the correct dosage for your medication. even though possible, you can buy ahead and save yourself the trouble of ordering for a while.

When you find Affordable Fioricet (Butalbital APAP Caffeine) online, make sure that the drugstore catalog shows the pills in the dosages you’re used to. There are some pharmacies out there that are fly-by-night operations that may not sell you the right products.

There are some things, however, that you can look for to make sure that you’re buying from a real drugstore. The first and most telling thing is that they insist on having your doctor send in your prescription before selling to you. even though they don’t require this, it’s likely that you’re not going to get any medication for the money you send them.

Any online drugstore that allows you to buy Affordable Fioricet(Butalbital APAP Caffeine) will have secure ordering systems. This is indicated, in most browsers, in the URL bar or in the bottom right hand corner of the browser screen. even though you’re ready to put your credit card info in but aren’t on a secure server, take this as a warning sign. A secure server ensures that your information is not intercepted in transit. Without this security measure, there’s no way to guarantee that your credit card information is safe and, unfortunately, an unsecured connection is generally a sign of a scam business.

Your Affordable Fioricet(Butalbital APAP Caffeine) can be shipped very quickly.

Remember to order before you run out of medication, however, so that you always have some on hand. As long as your prescription is current, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting your order to your house online. The shipping company will require you to sign for the package because it is a controlled substance. Remember to be home or, if you cannot be home, to have it shipped somewhere that you’ll be available to sign for the package so that you don’t miss your shipment of Affordable Fioricet (Butalbital APAP Caffeine)!

What are the possible side effects of taking Fioricet?

Share your medical history with your doctor and ask if Fioricet is safe for you to take. Fioricet can cause some serious side effects, including:

      • confusion
      • seizure
      • depression
      • drowsiness, dizziness
      • feeling intoxicated
      • stomach pain
      • dry mouth
      • heartburn
      • fast heart rate
      • muscle pain
      • rash, itching
      • vomiting

If you experience a severe or life-threatening reaction to Fioricet, call 911 right away.

Is Gabapentin ( Neurontin ) Addictive and How to Treat Gabapentin Addiction ?

Gabapentin is used with other medications to prevent and control seizures. It is also used to relieve nerve pain following shingles (a painful rash due to herpes zoster infection) in adults. Gabapentin is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug.

Gabapentin, also known by the brand name Neurontin, is a prescription painkiller belonging to its own drug class, Gabapentinoids. It is considered an anti-convulsant, and is most commonly used to treat epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, and neuropathic pain. It is often used as a less-addictive alternative to opioids; however, Gabapentin addiction and abuse still occur in many patients.

Gabapentin has a similar chemical structure to Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the brain chemical which affects the body’s nervous system. It can produce feelings of relaxation and calmness, which can help with nerve pain, anxiety, and even poor sleep.

Gabapentin is prescribed to treat nerve pain, alcohol and cocaine withdrawals, restless leg syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and seizures. It works by altering one’s calcium channels to reduce seizures and ease nerve pain. Some brand names of Gabapentin are Neurontin and Gralise. The drug’s known street names are “gabbies” or “johnnies.”

Dosages of Gabapentin

Adult and pediatric dosages:

Capsule

      • 100 mg
      • 300 mg
      • 400 mg

Tablet

      • 300 mg (Gralise)
      • 600 mg (Gralise, Neurontin)
      • 800 mg (Neurontin)

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

Reducing the dose, discontinuing the drug, or substituting an alternative medication should be done gradually over a minimum of 1 week or longer.

Geritric dosing considerations:

Renal impairment is present, gabapentin dose reduction may be required, depending on renal function.

Partial Seizures

Neurontin

Adjunctive therapy for partial seizures with or without secondary generalization.

Initial: 300 mg orally every 8 hours.

May increase up to 600 mg orally every 8 hours; up to 2400 mg/day administered and tolerated in clinical studies; up to 3600 mg administered for short duration and tolerated

Post herpetic Neuralgia

Neurontin

Day 1: 300 mg orally once per day.

Day 2: 300 mg orally every 12 hours.

Day 3: 300 mg orally every 8 hours.

Maintenance: Subsequently titrate as needed up to 600 mg orally every 8 hours; doses greater than 1800 mg/day have demonstrated no additional benefit.

Gralise

Dose gradually to 1800 mg/day orally; take once a day with evening meal.

Day 1: 300 mg orally once a day.

Day 2: 600 mg orally once a day.

Days 3-6: 900 mg orally once a day.

Days 7-10: 1200 mg orally once a day.

Days 11-14: 1500 mg orally once a day.

Day 15 and after (maintenance): 1800 mg orally once a day.

Dosing considerations:

Gralise tablets swell in gastric fluid and gradually release gabapentin. Swallow Gralise tablets whole; do not cut, crush, or chew them.

Dosing Modifications:

Renal impairment (Neurontin)

Creatinine clearance greater than 60 mL/min: 300-1200 mg orally twice daily

Creatinine clearance 30-60 mL/min: 200-700 mg every 12 hours

Creatinine clearance 15-29 mL/min: 200-700 mg once per day

Creatinine clearance less than 15 mL/min: 100-300 mg once per day

Hemodialysis (Creatinine clearance less than 15 mL/min):

Administer supplemental dose (range 125-350 mg) post hemodialysis, after each 4 hour dialysis interval; further dose reduction should be in proportion to Creatinine clearance (a Creatinine clearance of 7.5 mL/min should receive one-half daily post hemodialysis dose)

Renal impairment (Gralise):

Creatinine clearance is greater than or equal to 60 mL/min: 1800 mg daily with evening meal

Creatinine clearance 30-59 mL/min: 600-1800 mg daily with evening meal

Creatinine clearance greater than 30 mL/min or hemodialysis: Do not administer

In addition its potentially addictive nature, Gabapentin can cause suicidal thoughts, moods swings, and abrupt changes in a user’s behavior. It can also cause elevated blood pressure, fever, sleep problems, appetite changes, and chest pain.

Gabapentin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

      • drowsiness
      • tiredness or weakness
      • dizziness
      • headache
      • uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
      • double or blurred vision
      • unsteadiness
      • anxiety
      • memory problems
      • strange or unusual thoughts
      • unwanted eye movements
      • nausea
      • vomiting
      • heartburn
      • diarrhea
      • dry mouth
      • constipation
      • increased appetite
      • weight gain
      • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
      • back or joint pain
      • fever
      • runny nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms
      • ear pain
      • red, itchy eyes (sometimes with swelling or discharge)

Some side effects may be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

      • rash
      • itching
      • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
      • hoarseness
      • difficulty swallowing or breathing
      • seizures
      • difficulty breathing; bluish-tinged skin, lips, or fingernails; confusion; or extreme sleepiness

Gabapentin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Gabapentin Abuse

Gabapentin abuse tends to occur in people who already have an addiction to opioids or other drugs. The effects of Gabapentin intoxication have been described as a sense of calm, euphoria, and a high similar to marijuana.

A 2013 study in Kentucky found that of the 503 participants reporting illegal drug use, 15% reported using Gabapentin in addition to other drugs to get high in the previous six months. Another study, working with a sample of participants meant to represent the national population, found almost a quarter of patients with co-prescriptions of opioids and Gabapentin were getting more than three times their prescribed amount to supply their addiction. People using the drug without a prescription is a growing problem in many areas. Due to the drug’s legal status, this is difficult to address from a policing standpoint. States where Gabapentin abuse is becoming more common are beginning to classify the drug as a more strictly controlled substance.

Signs of a Gabapentin Overdose

Effects of excessive Gabapentin use include:

      • Drowsiness
      • Coordination problems
      • Tremors
      • Dizziness
      • Depression
      • Suicidal thoughts/behaviors
      • Changes in mood
      • Dizziness
      • Poor coordination
      • Forgetfulness
      • Anxiety
      • Difficulty speaking
      • Inability to feel pleasure

It is important to try to recognize these symptoms and to be wary of other red flags, such as the presence or abundance of pill bottles. These effects can be detrimental to one’s health, livelihood, and overall safety.

Many Gabapentin users in early recovery abuse Gabapentin because at high doses (800mg or more), they may experience a euphoric-like high that does not show up on drug screens. Gabapentin abusers typically take the drug in addition to opioids to produce their desired high, a dangerous and potentially deadly combination. It is possible to fatally overdose on Gabapentin, both on its own or in conjunction with other drugs. However, there is currently no antidote that can be administered to someone in the case of a Gabapentin overdose as there is with opioid overdoses. If you find a loved one showing signs of an overdose–drowsiness, muscle weakness, lethargy and drooping eyelids, diarrhea, and sedation—seek medical attention immediately.

Signs of Gabapentin Addiction

      • Lying about or exaggerating symptoms to doctors
      • Seeking out multiple doctors to get extra doses
      • Switching doctors after the original doctor refuses to continue prescribing the medication
      • Changes in social habits and/or circles
      • Changes in personal hygiene and grooming habits
      • Constant preoccupation with the drug
      • Unease at the thought of the drug being unavailable
      • Refusal to quit despite social, financial, or legal consequences
      • Failed attempts to quit

Treating a Gabapentin Addiction

Frequent and excessive use of Gabapentin can lead to a physical and psychological dependence on the drug. This is when someone becomes so accustomed to taking a drug that they need it to feel and function normally. Quitting a drug like Gabapentin cold turkey can be dangerous and induce several withdrawal symptoms of varying severity.

These include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, pain, and sweating. Quitting also increases one’s likelihood of having a seizure which can lead to personal injury or the development of medical problems and life-threatening emergencies. Trying to quit should be done at a rehab facility or with the guidance and supervision of a professional during a medical detox.

Gabapentin Is an Effective Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

  • A new study reports the nerve pain reliever gabapentin may be helpful in treating people with serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • Some experts say gabapentin is most effective if used in combination with a benzodiazepine medication.
  • Gabapentin can have serious side effects, including drowsiness and abnormal eye movements.

Can a drug used primarily to treat nerve pain and partial seizures be effective in helping ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

The anticonvulsant drug gabapentin is used off-label to treat alcohol-related withdrawal, cravings, anxiety, and insomnia. Although it is well tolerated and has demonstrated efficacy for mild alcohol withdrawal and early abstinence, there is concern about its potential for abuse. Gabapentin should be prescribed only as a second-line alternative to standard therapies, and only after screening for opioid or other prescription drug abuse to determine if heightened monitoring is warranted. Clinicians should be aware of gabapentin’s limitations for treating alcohol use disorder and be attentive to emerging data on risks and benefits.

A Trusted Source published this week concluded that gabapentin can relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms but is most effective for people with a history of more severe symptoms after a few days of abstinence.

Gabapentin is known under brand names such as Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant.

It was first developed Trusted Source in Japan during the 1970s and approved for use in the United States in 1993.

The drug was originally used as a muscle relaxer and antispasmodic medication. It’s been used off-label for other conditions.

“It has been used for detoxification — alcohol withdrawal — for many years,” said Dr. Raymond F. Anton, the study’s main author and a professor of medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

“For relapse prevention, other clinical trials have had mixed results. We had published several studies suggesting it would be added to other medications with some success, but it looked like only in those with alcohol withdrawal symptoms prior to treatment,” he said.

“This study proved that gabapentin could work by itself as a relapse prevention medication, but only in this with the higher alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as predicted,” Anton told Healthline.

What the study revealed

Anton’s team looked at 90 people meeting the criteria of serious alcohol use.

Over 16 weeks, 12 of the 44 participants given gabapentin had no heavy drinking days (27 percent) compared with four (9 percent) of those participants given a placebo.

The study found mild to moderate side effects, including dizziness and some fatigue.

“Very few people had significant enough side effects to stop treatment,” Anton said. “It also improved sleep.”

Dr. Meredith Sagan, an addiction psychiatrist at Alo House Recovery Centers in Southern California, says gabapentin is most effective with benzodiazepine medications commonly used for withdrawal.

“Gabapentin cannot necessarily be used safely on its own to support such a detox,” Sagan told Healthline. “It’s always important to consult a medical professional when considering detoxifying from alcohol, as it can be very dangerous due to possible seizure and others risks.”

Individualized treatments

Sagan says the combination of medications and the timeline to take them is specific to each individual.

“Some people may need more or less medication, as well as different types and combinations, depending on their degree of alcohol consumption, in addition to other factors,” she said.

“So, although gabapentin can be a useful adjunct to the benzodiazepine category of medication for alcohol detox, it is not time to say goodbye to ‘benzos’ just yet,” Sagan said.

Benzodiazepines are also used to treat anxiety and seizures as well as to relax muscles. These medications come in many manufactured forms, including Xanax, Klonopin, Librium, Valium, and Ativan.

Participants in the South Carolina study weren’t allowed to take benzodiazepines or opioids.

“For people using gabapentin just for anxiety and not for alcohol withdrawal, gabapentin can be a good non-benzodiazepine alternative,” Sagan said.

“Gabapentin at higher doses can cause an uncomfortable withdrawal when one quits taking it. However, for some people with an addiction history, gabapentin is a safe alternative to benzodiazepines, which over the long term can be physically and psychologically addictive,” she said.

Gabapentin side effects

Common side effects of gabapentin include abnormal eye movements, clumsiness or unsteadiness, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty speaking, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting.

More serious side effects — which may be more common in people with psychiatric disorders — include anger and violent behavior, increased anxiousness, depression, anxiety or irritability, mania, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and insomnia.

“I was prescribed gabapentin when I was struggling with my severely herniated disc,” Janine McKavish Thalblum, a resident of Dublin, California, told Healthline.

“The side effects were longer than an encyclopedia. With all the pain I was in I was borderline suicidal, so I opted not to take them, as that was one of the side effects. When the pharmacist was reading (them) before handing it over, I literally started to cry,” she explained.

Thalblum did take gabapentin for 2 days before opting out. She says she couldn’t tell if the medication contributed to her “overwhelming sense of wanting to give up.”

Andrea Johnson, a resident of Oakland, California, and her late wife, Julie, both took gabapentin for pain. They had vastly different experiences.

“She had chronic pain from her legs having been shattered in a car crash. Her doctors prescribed gabapentin about 10 years ago under its brand name of Neurontin,” Johnson told Healthline.

“She stopped it after a week because it put her into a constant dream state. She was sort of awake and could do things but without being conscious of what she was doing. When I caught her rolling a cigarette without realizing that she was doing it, I put a stop to the gabapentin and told her doctor why,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s doctor prescribed her gabapentin last year for arthritis in her hips.

“I was concerned about it because of Julie’s experience, but I didn’t get the psych effects that she did,” Johnson said. “By the end of a month, it still wasn’t having an effect on my pain either, so I stopped it.”

Gabapentin and opioids

In recent years, gabapentin has been involved in opioid overdose deaths and been dubbed “an emerging threat” in a national bulletin to law enforcement.

It’s listed as a controlled substance in some states, although officials say it’s usually not the main cause of death and not as dangerous as opioids.

Pfizer, which developed gabapentin, paid $430 million in 2004 under an agreement with government prosecutors over fraudulent claims the company was accused of making about the drug’s uses.

Anton says researchers are still looking at whether gabapentin can be used as an anti-craving drug like naltrexone.

“Right now, it is estimated that only 20 percent of individuals who might benefit from reducing or stopping drinking actually receive treatment,” Anton said.

“And, of those 20 percent, only 20 percent receive any medication-assisted treatment. The standard of care in the U.S. has historically been an AA (Alcohol Anonymous) or 12-step counseling model. While that model has helped many people, many others do not want to partake in it, or haven’t found it useful.

“Medications that can be prescribed by specialized and/or primary care providers can encourage many more people to consider treatment for their alcohol use disorder,” he added.

Gabapentin is a prescription anticonvulsant used to treat epileptic seizures, postherpetic neuralgia, and restless legs syndrome. Postherpetic neuralgia is pain caused by shingles, which can last many months after having the illness.

While the exact mechanism of action of gabapentin is not fully understood, it may work by decreasing excitatory brain signaling. This can prevent seizures and change the way the brain responds to pain signals. This medication can be found as a capsule, tablet, or oral solution.

Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol Addiction

The following 11 questions are designed to help you better understand your relationship to alcohol. They will help you to tell if it resembles abuse or addiction, or is if it closer to average.

1. Do you tend to drink more than you expected to? And for longer periods of time?

2. Do you wish you could drink less, and struggle to cut down your alcohol intake?

3. Does drinking consume much of your time? In other words, do you spend a lot of your time trying to obtain, use, or recover from alcohol hangovers?

4. Do you have very strong cravings or urges to drink? Does it feel like you “need” it to get by?

5. Does drinking cause problems for you at work, in school, or in your family obligations? Does this happen frequently?

6. If drinking does cause these social and interpersonal problems for you, do you continue to drink anyway?

7. Have you given up activities that used to be meaningful for you? For example, have you quit a sport or left friendships because you don’t seem to have the time or energy anymore?

8. Do you use alcohol even when it makes your activity physically dangerous? This could be drinking while driving, using certain prescription drugs, or working with heavy machinery.

9. Do you continue to drink even after discovering that it exacerbates, worsens, or even causes other physical or mental illnesses?

10. Are you developing a tolerance for alcohol? This could show up as a decreased effect after drinking the same quantity of alcohol that you used to use, or having to drink more and more alcohol to achieve the desired level of intoxication.

11. Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms after not drinking any alcohol for a while? These include a racing heart, trouble sleeping, shakiness, sweating, fever, restlessness, nausea, or even auditory or visual hallucinations? Does more alcohol relieve these feelings?

As an Addiction Treatment Medication

The medical research community has made great strides in synthesizing thousands of drugs over the years to treat physical ailments, mental illness, and other health conditions.

Addiction is just one of the many conditions that can be treated with specific medications. And while there are presently only a handful of FDA-approved medications used to manage substance dependence, gabapentin has been considered for off-label use for as an addiction treatment drug.

Different companies, including Parke-Davis, Greenstone, and Teva, manufacture several varieties of the generic drug. Other drugs that have been used to treat the symptoms of addiction withdrawal, for specific substances, include:

    • Clondine
    • Other anticonvulsants, such as Tegretol and Depakote
    • Methadone and buprenorphine
    • Naltrexone

Typical Application

Doses range from 100 mg to 800 mg. The frequency of administration may be based on various factors such as withdrawal symptom severity and withdrawal progress. The drug’s half-life is around 5-7 hours.

Gabapentin has been evaluated for use during medical detox and throughout subsequent treatment modalities to support relapse prevention while clients adjust to their new sober lifestyles.

Treating Substance Abuse

According to Medscape, gabapentin can inflict users with suicidal thoughts and abrupt changes in behavior. For this reason, it should only be used under medical supervision. It can also cause elevated blood pressure, fever, sleep problems, appetite changes, and chest pain.

While it has been used to treat addictions to other substances, gabapentin is most often used to treat alcoholism — an addiction some 16.6 million adults suffered from in 2013, per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

During withdrawal from alcohol abuse or dependency, clients may experience anxiety, tremors, agitation, and irritability. In order to understand how gabapentin works, there must be a basic understanding of how the brain works first. A balance of excitatory and inhibitory nervous system activity is, in part, mediated by neurotransmitters known as GABA and glutamate. Gabapentin may work by potentiating the inhibitory signaling of GABA and reducing the neural excitation associated with glutamate activity. As a result, signals for pain, agitation, and anxiety are reduced, too.

An American Journal of Psychiatry study showed impressive results during the 16-week treatment of 150 people who were dependent on alcohol, noting better results among those who were treated with both gabapentin and naltrexone than the latter alone. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported on another study in which individuals treated for alcoholism with gabapentin showed a significant reduction in how much they drank and a greater rate of abstinence than those in the placebo group.

Gabapentin may have a similar calming effect on individuals who are detoxing from marijuana and benzodiazepines. Despite claims from fans of the plant-based drug, marijuana is indeed addictive. In 2012, 305,560 people checked into rehab citing cannabis as their primary drug of abuse, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. One Neuropsychopharmacology study that analyzed the use of gabapentin in the treatment of marijuana addiction and withdrawal noted individuals in the gabapentin treatment group used less marijuana, had fewer withdrawal symptoms, and experienced improvements in cognitive functioning, compared to the placebo group.

While not quite as prevalent as a substance of abuse, benzodiazepines still accounted for 17,019 admissions to treatment in 2012, per SAMHSA. Individuals who have been abusing marijuana or benzodiazepines for a long period of time may have difficulty achieving a state of relaxation without those drugs, and gabapentin can help individuals remain calm while they’re recovering from addiction.