One of the latest and supposedly greatest new drugs on the market is called Gabapentin. This drug is being called a wonder drug by some curing or treating everything from depression to addiction to chronic pain. It seems to be sometimes called the next Valium but is it really?
What is Gabapentin?
First you have to look at what Gabapentin is and is not. Gabapentin is a neurologic which is a really fancy word for it treats the nervous system or acts on the nerves. This is pretty straight forward when it comes to what its on label uses and even some of the off label ones. It is used for:
- Treating pain
- Treating fibromyalgia
- Treating neurological disorders
- Treating epilepsy
These are all considered disorders of the nerves. Now some of its off label uses are:
- Treating depression
- Treating anxiety
- Treating addiction to opiates
- Treating addiction to methamphetamines
Again, this is pretty straight.
Where the Problems Start
Almost everything is addictive to someone. Some people are addicted to drugs, some people are addicted to alcohol, and some people are addicted to learning. Some people are even addicted to books and chocolate. When it comes to addiction, sometimes it is possible that certain people have problems with addiction while others do not. This is not singling out any specific race, religion, socioeconomic status, or gender. It is just that some people are more susceptible to addiction than others. Just like some things are more addictive than others, things like opiates.
The Middle of the Problem
The middle is pretty simple. When you combine someone who is prone to addiction with a highly addictive substance, you have an addiction. This is over simplifying things a bit. In reality scientists continually, debate what the cause of addiction is or even how to classify it but this is the general gist of how it works.
Where Gabapentin Abuse Comes into the Picture
Gabapentin is addictive. There are warnings for potential abuse right from the manufacturer. So some people will become addicted to Gabapentin just because of that. Unfortunately, most of the case studies done with Gabapentin abuse are on individuals who are already addicted to something else, hence already prone to addiction.
This is not to say that Gabapentin isn’t an excellent drug for treating a variety of issues including treating certain addictions. It passed clinical trials and many people do very very well on it. It is however important to remember that the potential for abuse is there, particularly in individuals already prone to addiction. This is not to say stop taking Gabapentin if the doctor prescribes it. It is to say that the abuse potential is there. Gabapentin has its side effects just like any other drug on the market. One of those side effects just happens to be abuse. If you are taking Gabapentin, it is important to be aware of this possibility.