Can You Stop Gabapentin Cold Turkey?

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Stopping any prescription drug all at once, including gabapentin, can come with certain risks. Stopping gabapentin cold-turkey could lead to withdrawal and other negative side effects of gabapentin discontinuation.

Quitting Gabapentin Cold Turkey

Gabapentin, also known by the brand name Neurontin, is a medication that is prescribed as an anticonvulsant and as a medical treatment for nerve pain.

Stopping any prescription drug all at once — or “cold turkey” — is not recommended, especially if you have been taking it for some time, or have a history of gabapentin abuse.

What Is Gabapentin Used For?

Generic and brand-name forms of gabapentin are FDA-approved for the treatment of epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).

Because of its central nervous system effects, gabapentin also has off-label uses for alcohol withdrawal and may be prescribed as an alternative to opioids for pain.

Questions To Ask Before Stopping Gabapentin

Stopping a drug or medication cold turkey is not a decision that should be made lightly. There are a number of factors you should first consider.

Important considerations include:

  • how long you have been taking gabapentin
  • your dosage/frequency of use
  • use of other drugs (e.g. opioids, benzodiazepines)
  • history of substance abuse or addiction
  • co-occurring mental health conditions or medical conditions
  • your doctor’s recommendation for continued/discontinuing gabapentin

Before stopping any medication, it is important that you first consult your healthcare provider to determine whether stopping gabapentin is right for you.

Making this decision by yourself, or against the recommendation of a doctor, could lead to negative side effects after stopping, including effects of gabapentin withdrawal.

What Are The Side Effects Of Stopping Gabapentin Cold Turkey?

Gabapentin is prescribed to help prevent or manage issues such as seizures, restless legs, and nerve pain caused by conditions like shingles.

Stopping gabapentin can cause a return, or relapse of symptoms related to those conditions. If you’ve taken gabapentin chronically, quitting all at once could also result in withdrawal.

Symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal syndrome can include:

  • anxiety
  • difficulty falling asleep (insomnia)
  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • pain
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • fast or irregular heart rate
  • tremor
  • increased blood pressure

If you have a seizure disorder, you may experience more frequent seizures or a return of seizures with the abrupt cessation of gabapentin.

Moreover, there are also additional risks related to gabapentin use and abuse that could also occur if you or someone you know suddenly stops taking the drug.

Risks Of Stopping Gabapentin Cold Turkey

Chronic use of gabapentin can cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 to 48 hours of your last dose.

While symptoms are generally mild to moderate, the experience may be worse for people with certain risk factors, including a history of drug abuse or drug addiction.

Risk factors for negative side effects of withdrawal include:

  • long-term use of gabapentin (at least several years)
  • history of seizure disorder
  • history of substance use disorder
  • polysubstance use/abuse

If you have been taking gabapentin for nonmedical purposes, either alone or with other drugs, other risks and dangers may apply.

What Is The Best Way To Come Off Gabapentin?

Research shows gabapentin does have the potential to cause physical dependence and withdrawal. Therefore, there are two recommended options for stopping the drug:

Tapering Off Gabapentin

Stopping your use of gabapentin all at once comes with risks. Before quitting it entirely, talk to your doctor about coming up with a tapering plan.

Tapering is a process of reducing your drug dosage gradually, over a period of time. This can help prevent discomfort during withdrawal and other risks of abrupt discontinuation.

Tapering off gabapentin completely may take a week, or longer if you have been taking it for a long time and/or have been taking high doses of gabapentin.

Finding A Drug Detox Program

If you or a loved one has been abusing gabapentin, the safest way to stop your drug use is to enter a detox program through an outpatient detox facility or inpatient addiction treatment center.

A detox program can offer treatment for withdrawal and help coordinate additional care for addressing past or current gabapentin abuse.

Find Gabapentin Detox Today

Call our helpline today to learn more about gabapentin addiction, detox, or how to find gabapentin detox options at a drug rehab center near you.

For 24/7 Treatment Help Call:
(888) 859-4403

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