The Dangers of Snorting Gabapentin

 

dangers of snorting gabapentine

Gabapentin is the generic name for Neurontin, a brand-name medication that is commonly prescribed to treat nerve pain, epilepsy, and restless leg syndrome. Gabapentin works to treat seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain and relieves pain by changing the way the body responds to it.[1]

When taken in high doses, gabapentin can produce euphoric effects, so many people abuse the medication. While Neurontin is intended to be swallowed in pill form, individuals who abuse it might snort it to increase the intensity of their high.

Between 40 to 65% of people prescribed gabapentin are abusing it.[2]

If you or a loved one abuse gabapentin, being aware of the dangers of snorting the substance can prevent you from experiencing life-threatening effects.

What Happens When You Snort Gabapentin?

If you have been abusing gabapentin for an extended period, you will develop a tolerance, meaning the same dosage you are accustomed to taking will no longer affect you. Tolerance may cause you to consider other methods of administration that increase the potency, such as snorting. Because intranasal drug abuse increases the absorption rate and bioavailability of gabapentin, the effects will begin within minutes.

While snorting gabapentin does increase the potency and how quickly you experience the effects, it also increases your risk of adverse effects. And because snorting Neurontin increases the potency of the drug, you can also become addicted to the substance faster or experience an overdose.

Dangers of Snorting Gabapentin

Before discussing the dangers of snorting gabapentin, it’s important to understand the effects of abusing this drug. Whether you swallow, smoke, snort, or inject gabapentin, you can experience a variety of side effects.

The side effects of gabapentin abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Anxiety
  • Memory issues
  • Constipation
  • Unwanted eye movements
  • Unusual thinking
  • Poor coordination
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Red or itchy eyes

When you snort gabapentin, these side effects can increase. Additionally, you are at risk of experiencing dangers specifically associated with snorting this drug. Because gabapentin is formulated to be swallowed and dissolved in your gastrointestinal tract, snorting the substance puts you at risk of damage to your nasal passages.

Snorting gabapentin can result in the following damage to the nose:[3]

  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Damaged cilia (hairs in the nose)
  • Frequent infections
  • Runny nose
  • Problems swallowing and issues with breathing
  • Obstruction or deformity of the nose
  • Collapsed nasal passages
  • Deviation or perforation of the septum
  • Snoring
  • Whistling noise from the nose when breathing

Even further, when you snort gabapentin you face more than just damage to your nose. If you have been snorting gabapentin long-term, you could experience the following effects:

  • Lung complications
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Respiratory issues
  • Blood circulation issues
  • Arrhythmias
  • Life-threatening overdoses
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased risk of developing hepatitis C

Research has found that “cases classified as gabapentin abuse also involve the use of alcohol and/or opioids.”[2] It is important to note that mixing gabapentin with other substances like opioids or alcohol also increases your risk of experiencing life-threatening effects like overdoses.

How To Tell If a Loved One is Abusing Gabapentin

If you are worried that your loved one is abusing gabapentin, it’s important to be aware of the signs of drug abuse. To begin, you should look for clear signs of intoxication such as appearing drunk, decreased inhibition, increased sociability, sedation, or euphoric behavior.

In addition to the signs of intoxication, there are behavioral signs to watch out for if you are worried that your loved one is addicted to gabapentin. These signs include:

  • Going to multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription for gabapentin (doctor shopping)
  • Lying to friends and family about substance abuse or becoming defensive when it is brought up
  • Attempting to stop or cut back on gabapentin use but being unable to
  • Having to continuously increase the dosage of gabapentin to experience an effect (developing tolerance)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they cannot use the drug
  • Dealing with frequent cravings or urges to abuse the substance
  • Mixing gabapentin with other substances to increase the potency of the drug
  • Having drug paraphernalia in the home that indicates substance abuse (empty baggies, pill bottles, razors, straws, crushed pill residue)
  • Continuing to abuse gabapentin despite facing issues at work, school, or home
  • Continuing to abuse the substance even in the face of increased mental health issues or the development of physical health conditions

If you or a loved one are addicted to gabapentin, it’s important to seek help from a prescription drug rehab center.

Find Help for Gabapentin Abuse and Addiction

Gabapentin addiction can cause significant issues in your life, including increased mental health issues and adverse health effects. The dangers of gabapentin abuse increase substantially when you are snorting the substance or mixing it with other drugs. Attending a professional addiction treatment program will provide you with the support and tools you need to achieve long-term sobriety.

To learn more about our gabapentin abuse and addiction rehab program, contact Moving Mountains Recovery Center today.

References:

  1. MedlinePlus: Gabapentin, Retrieved March 2023 from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a694007.html
  2. National Library of Medicine: Gabapentin misuse, abuse, and diversion: A systematic review, Retrieved March 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573873/
  3. Time Magazine: It’s Not Just Chocolate Powder. You Shouldn’t Be Snorting Anything, Doctors Say, Retrieved March 2023 from https://time.com/4851507/snorting-chocolate-powder-drugs/
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