You are probably wondering how effective this medicine is in responding to pain. It’s one of the most prescribed medicines in the United States due to its less addictive potential compared to opioid painkillers.
However, just like other prescription drugs, this prescription drug is also prone to abuse and misuse. It’s because of the relaxation and calmness effect it brings to the user.
On average, the effects of this drug start one to two weeks after your first dose, while for some people, it takes a longer time. Three things are affecting the time it takes for you to feel its effects:
- The kind of condition being treated
- The patient’s response to the medicine
- The dose recommended by the doctor
The dosage given by doctors varies from one patient to another, and it usually falls between 300 mg to 3,000 mg daily. You need to abide by your prescribed dose to avoid overdose and abuse.
Why Are Gabapentin’s Effects Slow?
You can feel its effects slowly because the doctor will always advise you to start on a low dose, gradually increasing over time. For example, if you take this drug to relieve nerve pain, you will start with a 300 mg dose and then increase it by 300 mg for the next few days.
In most medical reports, nerve pains treated with this medicine showed relief after a week of medication. You can feel its maximum effect in approximately four weeks.
Does Gabapentin Have To Build Up In Your Body To Work?
Despite the slow-acting effect of this medicine, your doctor will never give you a high starting dose because of the detrimental effects of this drug. You can feel its effects even on a small dose, yet it’ll take time considering the condition treated and your dosage.
This medicine is highly reactive when combined with other substances, so you need to avoid self-medication, or ingesting other substances not prescribed by your doctor.
What is Gabapentin for?
This drug is prescribed to individuals who experience seizures from epilepsy or nerve pain from shingles or even diabetes. It is commonly known as an anticonvulsant.
Gabapentin enacarbil whose brand name is Horizant is used to relieve restless leg syndrome (RLS). Unlike generic brands, this drug only requires one daily dosing. It is important to note that some generic brands of this medication do not work interchangeably with branded versions. Again, it is always important to consult your healthcare provider once you purchase this medication.
It also has its off-label functions. When you say off-label, that means the product can be used to treat other conditions as long as advised by the physician – even if the product has only been acknowledged by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for nerve pain.
The following are the common off-label uses of this substance:
- Withdrawal from other substances such as alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine
- Anxiety, mood disorders, and attention deficit disorder
- Sleep disorders
- Migraines and back pain
Its off-label use could be one of the reasons why the product is highly vulnerable to being abused. Sometimes, individuals who withdraw from other substances such as alcohol may be tempted to increase product intake because of the pleasurable effect it brings to the user.
Why Is Gabapentin Taken At Night?
There are two main reasons why this drug is taken at night, and it’s specifically advised to women:
Hot Flashes from Menopause
Doctors will prescribe you to take 300 mg as a starting dose to treat your hot flashes caused by the menopausal period. These hot flashes happen at night, that’s why your doctor will recommend you to take it at night.
Pelvic or Chronic Vaginal Pain
Some women experience myofascial pelvic pain syndrome (MPPS), and it usually happens at night which causes insomnia. To relieve your pain and help you sleep better, you are given a dose of this medicine.
On average, you will get a 3x a day prescription for this drug to alleviate that extreme pelvic pain.
Is Gabapentin safe and legal?
This medicine was given to the market in 1993 and was classified as an uncontrolled substance. You need a doctor’s prescription to take the drug.
In 2019, this medication is now under the Class C controlled substances and it’s stated in the Misuse Drug Act 1971.
This drug is considered safe as long as you are provided with proper supervision by your physician. You may experience the following side effects once you start using the medication:
- cold or flu-like symptoms
- blurred vision
- trembling or shaking
- pain in the lower back or side
- swelling of the hands, feet, or lower legs
- lack or loss of strength
If any of these symptoms seem uncomfortable to you, always seek medical advice from your physician. However, these are common side effects that are not a cause of concern unless you experience them to the extreme.
How does Gabapentin work in the body?
This controlled substance works on your GABA-aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain. It induces a relaxing and euphoric effect, which helps ease the pain.
It usually takes effect in the body two or three hours after use. It may last up to two weeks to experience relief from nerve pain and a few more weeks to reduce seizure frequency. Sleep disorders may be improved in a span of one week.
Some generic brands require a maximum of three doses each day while a specific brand such as Horizant is rapidly absorbed by nutrient transporters through the gastrointestinal tract and immediately hydrolyzed to gabapentin. For this type of brand, it must only be given once a day.
What is the prescribed dosage of Gabapentin?
The maximum dosage per day ranges from 1800 to 2400 milligrams. You must disclose pre-existing ailments to your physician so that an accurate dosage will be given to you.
It has serious withdrawal symptoms that is why you must be given the minimum required dosage possible so that there will be no complications that will arise once you are ready to taper off the medication.
It is also important to note that in case when you are prescribed to take this medication in conjunction with another medicine, you must not take them altogether.
Make sure to leave a two-hour gap between the two. It is also advisable to skip the tablet once you forgot to take it on schedule. Never take two tablets of this medicine at once.
If you’re already abusing this substance, now is the time to seek medical assistance from a doctor or addiction specialist. The side effects of this drug are dangerous and can cause irreparable damage to your brain and body.
Find a reliable rehab center as early as today so that you can start your recovery program.