Lyrica vs Gabapentin
These two drugs are both abused recreationally. They are both prescribed for similar purposes. So what are the differences, if any?
Both drugs work in a similar way, with the exact mechanism of action being unknown for Gabapentin and Pregabalin. One of the differences in their action is that Gabapentin is absorbed more slowly and Pregabalin is absorbed more by the body than Gabapentin.
From the perspective of a user, you will likely feel a quicker onset with Pregabalin and the effects will also be gone quicker. This may or may not be preferred. As far as the intensity and the side effects go, Gabapentin and Pregabalin should be very similar.
Neurontin vs Gabapentin
These questions are common and we see them a lot. They often come from long-term users who once had the most common form of Gabapentin and were then prescribed a generic form. Neurontin is merely the brand name, the ones who own somewhat of a monopoly on this drug, whereas “Gabapentin” is the name of the medication itself, much like Tylenol is to Acetaminophen.
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is used to treat epilepsy, nerve pain and anxiety, as well as a few other off-label uses such as restless leg syndrome. It is often marketed under the brand name Neurontin and was first approved back in 1993.
Gabapentin is so-named because it works on the neurotransmitter “y-aminobutyric acid”, which also goes by the name GABA. However, along with the Gabapentin side effects and positive effects, this is pretty much all that is known about the drug. The effects are not completely understood, which may lead to problems in the future, particularly with anyone who uses large doses recreationally and has developed Gabapentin addiction.
Gabapentin for Opiate Withdrawal?
Gabapentin has been used to help with withdrawal from “lesser” opiates like codeine. Its anti-anxiety effects and its sedative effects can help with many of the issues that arise from opiate withdrawal. It is one of the few drugs but there that may be able to target many of the withdrawal symptoms, and that’s why it is often used for this purpose.
However, most uses are off-label and it’s rare for it to be prescribed for this purpose. There is a reason for that, including a lack of evidence and a lack of studies. Gabapentin may also make someone in opiate withdrawal very tired and unable to function normally. It may also exaggerate certain withdrawal symptoms like nausea.
At the same time, it has been known to tackle issues like insomnia, anxiety, depression, cravings and even restless leg syndrome. Clearly more research needs to be done on this subject because there is potentially something here. But until that happens you should avoid using Gabapentin for opiate withdrawal unless your doctor has advised that you do so.
It’s also worth noting that some opiates, such as Vicodin, can interact with Gabapentin in the body and cause issues. These drugs are listed on the contraindications section of the Gabapentin leaflet. So, if you are trying them for this purpose, avoid doing so during a taper and make sure you get recommendations from your doctor concerning the specific type of opiate.
Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance?
Gabapentin is not yet subject to the Controlled Substances Act, which means it is technically not a scheduled drug. You still need a prescription, but these are not as difficult to obtain as schedule substances would be.
This is likely to change in the future as governments begin to realize how much Gabapentin addiction and Gabapentin abuse is out there. However, right now Neurontin and all generic formulas are not controlled.
The problems have already been noted in some countries, including the UK. There are pockets of the United Kingdom, including parts of Northern Ireland, where Gabapentin addiction and addictions to similar drugs are common. These have developed because doctors have been freely prescribing them for many issues, but the problems have been very public in recent years and that has led to calls to limit the availability of the drug.
Based on previous experience with similar drug epidemics, it is highly likely that Gabapentin prosecutions will be drastically cut short and that this drug will be moved up the schedule. However, it needs to pass through the courts and move through lines of red tape first, so it might be some time before that happens.
Gabapentin and Alcohol Dangers
Neurontin side effects always increase with alcohol use. Gabapentin addiction often goes hand in hand with alcohol, either because it is used to increase the sedative effects or because it is used as a way of tapering the alcohol use down.
In any case, alcohol should be avoided when consuming large quantities of Gabapentin. It can make the user very sleep and can have a dramatic effect on cognitive function, stability and control, even at small doses.
The fact that Gabapentin is a sedative that is known to increase suicidal thoughts, and that alcohol is a depressant, means that depression and risk of suicide may also increase when these two drugs are combined.
Does Gabapentin Get You High?
It depends on what you define as “high”. If the question is, “Does gabapentin have any recreational value” and “is it abused because of this” then most definitely. It’s not quite everyone’s cup of tea; it certainly doesn’t have the same appeal for recreational drug users as opiates and benzodiazepines. But there are many gabapentin addicts who developed their addictions through recreational use. There are also those who take this drug on a regular basis to forget their troubles.
One of the issues that has caused a spike in Gabapentin addiction is the fact that it is commonly prescribed for many different conditions and healthcare professionals are not as cautious in prescribing this as they are in prescribing known recreational drugs like xanax and codeine.
Gabapentin for Alcohol Withdrawal
Gabapentin is not recommended while consuming large quantities of alcohol. However, there have been some studies conducted on its efficiency for treating alcohol dependency and alcohol withdrawal. More studies need to be performed and more tests need to be done before we have a clear understanding of whether it can truly be effective. But early signs are very positive.