Authorities are concerned about an epidemic in the abuse of gabapentin, an alternative to opioids that can be similarly damaging.
As we reported recently, health officials are scrambling to deal with a growing problem of people abusing a painkiller known as gabapentin. And it is the remarkable details on why opioid abusers seek out this drug that sheds new light on the growing opioid abuse epidemic in the United States.
Gabapentin is developed by Pfizer under the brand name Neurontin, and it is typically used for the treatment of nerve pain and seizures, to name a few uses. One of its side effects is sedation, and for drug abusers who have difficulty getting their hands on opioids, gabapentin provides them with the fix they crave, meaning that authorities nationwide may have a new front in the war on painkiller abuse.
And gabapentin is extremely common as one of the most prescribed medication nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration is taking a close look at the drug and will release a report at some point about the issue. But it certainly opens a worrying new chapter in the opioid abuse epidemic, as this drug causes tremendous damage to organs and the brain that can prove fatal.
“For many people who take gabapentin – a drug prescribed to treat seizures and pain caused by shingles – side effects such as sedation can be a challenge, as those who take it off-label for neuropathic pain told MedShadow in the past,” reads an article by organization Med Shadow. “But an increasing number of opioid abusers crave that side effect, reporting a calm feeling when combining gabapentin – developed by Pfizer under the brand name Neurontin – with opioids, muscle relaxants and anxiety medications. Some also get a marijuana-like high and an enhanced euphoria. But when overused or abused, it can cause significant organ or brain damage.”