Authorities are sounding the alarm that gabapentin is being used by opioid addicts as another way to get high, a new wrinkle in the opioid epidemic.
In the battle against the opioid addiction epidemic, authorities may have another problem to deal with. New reports indicate that there is growing abuse of gabapentin, a drug developed by Pfizer under the brand name Neurontin, as an alternative to the sedation effects of opioids.
The drug is used to treat nerve pain and seizures, but it is the side effect of sedation that drug addicts crave. And since gabapentin is one of the most common painkillers in the United States, authorities worry that this is a new front in the war on drug addiction. The drug can cause damage to organs and the brain when it is abused.
“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.”