Off-label Use of Gabapentin

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant prescription drug that goes by several brand names including, Neurontin, Gralise, Gabarone, and Fanatrex.

Gabapentin is used to help control partial seizures (convulsions) in the treatment of epilepsy. This medicine cannot cure epilepsy and will only work to control seizures for as long as you continue to take it.

Gabapentin is also used to manage a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, which is pain that occurs after shingles.

Gabapentin works in the brain to prevent seizures and relieve pain for certain conditions in the nervous system. It is not used for routine pain caused by minor injuries or arthritis. Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant.

This medicine is available only with your doctor’s prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Capsule
  • Tablet
  • Solution
  • Suspension

It was approved by the FDA in December 1993 for the following main uses.

    1. Controlling certain types of seizures in people who have epilepsy
    2. Relieving nerve pain (think: burning, stabbing, or aches) from shingles
    3. Calming restless legs syndrome

Gabapentin is prescribed off-label for several conditions including:

    • migraine
    • anxiety disorders
    • fibromyalgia
    • bipolar disorder
    • insomnia

Gabapentin is also used off-label to treat chronic pain (as an alternative to opioid medications), alcohol use disorder (AUD), and substance use disorder (SUD).

Today there’s growing concern about increased misuse of gabapentin. Greater numbers of prescriptions means more access to gabapentin.

The risk of misuse is higher among those with an existing SUD — 15 to 22 percent. Overdose deaths have been reported when combined with other drugs.

Studies show an increase in overdose deaths in recent years linked to the rise in the number of overall prescriptions.

Certain drugs like opioids taken together increase the danger of overdose.

Several states are currently considering legislation to help stop this misuse. Many have put special monitoring requirements in place for gabapentin.