How Long Does Gabapentin Withdrawal Last
It takes about 10 days to get through the challenges of withdrawal to Gabapentin. But of course, the duration could vary in every person since there are a lot of factors that make every experience unique. While some people may feel stabilized in at least a week, others may continue to endure the symptoms for more than 10 days.
Although multiple case reports have proven that the drug is less likely to cause severe withdrawal symptoms among patients who take Gabapentin as prescribed, one cannot also simply undermine the impact of withdrawal especially when a patient’s overall health condition is not fit.
What Factors Affect the Length of Gabapentin Withdrawal
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant that helps ease down too much brain activity to limit episodes of seizures and acts on the brain to control nerve pain. However, it is not a typical painkiller like opioid substances. It works more as a calming factor and is even used off-label among those who suffer from insomnia and other mental health disorders.
With an average dose of 3000 mg a day, the risk of experiencing withdrawal is pretty common, although there are also reported cases of withdrawal among those who have taken at least 400 mg a day. This outcome is brought out by several factors. The level of withdrawal can remain unpredictable despite its proper use.
The following are factors that affect the severity of withdrawal a person can experience as well as the length of withdrawal treatment required for one to take.
Degree of Gabapentin Use
Anyone who uses Gabapentin for 6 weeks can be vulnerable to developing a physical dependence on the drug. All the more when the dosage is taken beyond what is prescribed to one. When physical dependence happens, withdrawal symptoms also follow. This is the result of the body’s inability to function normally when the drug leaves the system.
With excessive use of the substance, there is a huge tendency to establish tolerance towards a certain dose. When this happens, the body will constantly seek higher doses for a person to feel its effect. The higher the tolerance established upon substance use, the more difficult the process of withdrawal can be later on.
History of Substance Addiction
With Gabapentin commonly used in conjunction with other substances such as alcohol and opioids to intensify the effect of high, flushing it out from one’s system might cause certain health complications. Besides, addiction can cause drastic changes in the body so when withdrawal occurs, things can get out of hand.
This is the reason why medical experts include in their assessment whether one has a history of any form of substance addiction or not. The chances of bringing out occasions of relapse are very high as soon as withdrawal to the substance begins. When this tendency happens, the treatment plan must be designed with great care.
Overall Health Condition
As most patients are prescribed to take the substance to treat seizures, nerve pain, and psychological disorders, these tendencies are likely to strike twice the usual intensity upon withdrawal. With pre-existing illnesses present before withdrawal, detox treatment could be quite a challenge.
The complications that could arise during withdrawal among pregnant women are also unpredictable. Given these circumstances, withdrawal treatment can be longer for those who are not fit. Their body may not be able to easily cope with the challenges of losing the substance in one’s system.
What Happens during Gabapentin Withdrawal
Most case studies record only the experiences of people who take treatment
only when they begin to experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as psychosis or unbearable cases of relapse. This makes it quite challenging to fully comprehend the nature of how withdrawal to the substance works.
However, there are still significant reports which have noted the following timeline during withdrawal to the substance.
Day 1 to 2
It takes about 12 to 24 hours after the last dose for withdrawal symptoms to start setting in. By this time, symptoms start moderately and intensify on the third day. The usual physical symptoms include tremors and headaches. Some might find themselves sweating excessively and experiencing palpitations. Tendencies of anxiety and seizures are also likely.
The third day is usually the peak of the withdrawal symptoms. This is when the severe ones knock a person hard down. Patients may experience fever on top of rapid heart rate. They may also appear usually agitated, restless, and confused. Some of the physical symptoms on day 1 may continue to persist at a more intense level during this time.
Psychological symptoms may also kick in very hard on this day. Some may struggle from hallucination and disorientation. It is important to closely watch over a person who manifests these conditions as this could lead to violence and harm. Physicians recommend bringing them to emergency admission once these tendencies occur.
Day 4 to 5
On the fourth down to the fifth day, most of the physical withdrawal symptoms tone down. However, anxieties may continue to persist as well as the tendency to be sensitive to the presence of light. Patients may also continue to appear confused and restless up to this date.
Normally, withdrawal symptoms may continue to persist up to 10 days and after that, it is expected for conditions to reach stability. Getting sick no longer becomes a problem and working on healthy habits can help sustain this progress. However, post-acute withdrawal can be likely experienced especially by those who have engaged in substance addiction.
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may continue to progress beyond the two-week timeframe. If this happens, it is important to seek the guidance of one’s physician so that a treatment plan can be created to attend to this need. It is in this case where relapse can be challenging and medical treatment aims to prevent one from returning to substance use so it is needed.
What Treatment Works for Substance Withdrawal
There is no FDA-approved medication intended for withdrawal to Gabapentin. Physicians mostly recommend tapering off the dosage of a person to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Studies have proven that the slower the taper schedule followed, the more effective the withdrawal treatment be.