The FDA have warned that people with certain respiratory risk factors may have serious breathing problems if they take gabapentin. The risk factors include:
- being an older adult
- taking opioid pain medication
- taking other drugs that may slow breathing, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicines, or antihistamines
- having a condition that reduces lung function, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
According to the FDA, the risk of breathing problems appears to be lower in healthy people who take only gabapentin. The FDA warning also applies to people taking pregabalin (Lyrica), which is another gabapentinoid.
Gabapentin can sometimes have long-term effects, which may include:
- respiratory failure
- memory loss
- weakened muscles
A person with a preexisting kidney disease could have a fatal reaction to gabapentin, according to an older study paper from 2010.