September 15th, 2020
There are many drugs used to treat anxiety. New studies are now showing that Gabapentin has been a successful treatment for individuals who suffer from anxiety. However, there are no randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of this medication in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and there are only a few case reports.
People with GAD who take Gabapentin have been shown to be less irritable, reduce the use of alcohol as self-medication, have fewer depression symptoms, feel less anxious anticipating the future, improve in phobic avoidance (going out in public more, and experience a significant decrease in panic disorder and reduction of panic attacks).
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug that is primarily used to treat seizures and the pain that follows after an episode of shingles. Gabapentin is considered an off-brand drug used to treat anxiety. Neurontin is the most common brand name for Gabapentin, as well as Horizant and Gralise. Gabapentin has been shown to help people sleep better, as insomnia is a symptom of anxiety.
Like all medications, there are several side effects to taking Gabapentin. Side effects that you experience are relative to your personal reaction to the drug. Everyone is different, so you may not experience side effects that others do or don’t. Some side effects can be nausea, vomiting, tremors, dizziness, sleepiness, double vision, loss of control of bodily movements, fluid retention, difficulty speaking, jerky movements, unusual eye movements, double vision, and unsteadiness.
If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately. Get emergency help if you suspect you are having an allergic reaction like; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, hives, and difficulty breathing. If you notice that your symptoms are worsening, contact your doctor immediately. You may not notice symptoms until weeks after taking Gabapentin.
When you are prescribed Gabapentin to treat your anxiety, your doctor will determine the correct dosage necessary for you. Additionally, doctors will usually start with a lower dose of Gabapentin and gradually increase the dosage that will become their full intake. Gabapentin comes in capsules of 100, 300, and 400 mg. Gabapentin tablets are available in 100, 300, 400, 600, and 800 mg. Do not change your dosage or stop taking your medications without talking to your doctor first.
The effectiveness of Gabapentin is different for everyone, again also depending on the severity of your anxiety amongst other factors. The average timeline for effectiveness is about 3 weeks, but it could be sooner or later. It is important to remember that while Gabapentin may be helpful for some, it may not be helpful for you. If you want to consider using Gabapentin, consult your doctor, and together you can make the best decisions regarding treating your anxiety.
Markota, M., & Morgan, R. J. (2017). Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Gabapentin. Case Reports in Psychiatry, 2017, 6045017.
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