Medications for opioid withdrawal
If a person is suffering from back injury, doctor prescribes an opiate, such as Vicodin, oxycodone and hydrocodone to relieve the pain. But an opiate is related to withdrawal symptoms. Gabapentin has been tested as an alternative treatment for opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Effects of gabapentin on withdrawal symptoms
Anyone who tried to stop taking an opiate drug after long medication may have experienced withdrawal symptoms. Opiates increase pain sensitivity levels as they used to relieve pain symptoms. This means you may experience more pain than the original injury, if you were trying to stop the mediation. Opiates relate to euphoric and feel high symptoms. That is why opiates are addictive. Withdrawal symptoms are responsible for back to opiates.
Gabapentin helps to relieve pain by slowing down the pain signals that travel through the brain. Some researchers proved that gabapentin effect on substance P, a neurotransmitter chemical, which is used in pain syndrome. Gabapentin used to decrease substance P in the brain. Therefore, gabapentin is used as an alternative medicine for opiate.
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and analgesic drug. It is mainly used to treat epilepsy, as it controls seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. It is likewise employed in pain caused by post herpetic neuralgia. Its mechanism of action is not recognized until now. But it resembles to GABA (gamma amino butyric acid).
What is the chemical structure of gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an analog of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid, it is a neurotransmitter). Its chemical structure consists of the addition of the Cyclo – hexyl group to gamma amino butyric acid (GABA).
Mode of action:
Gabapentin decreases pain intensity, as it aids in controlling pain syndrome. In animals, gabapentin shows tremendous activity in controlling seizures. As its mechanism of action is not recognized, some researchers suggested that gabapentin interact with voltage-dependent calcium channels in neurons. It decreases release of monoamine and augment axon excitability in hippocampus region. It is also found out in some study that it can cross the lipid membrane barrier.
If a person uses opiate for a long time, the effects of opiate are build up in the body. If a person tries to stop medication suddenly, withdrawal symptoms come on fast and strong. Because of this effect, doctor taper opiate usage, which involves decreasing of dose until a person is off the drug.
Gabapentin ability is to mimic the effect of opiate. Because of this mimic effect, a person can stop taking opiate medication without any opiate withdrawal effect. Gabapentin shows GABA like effect on the brain, which reduces pain intensity.
Gabapentin effectiveness in treating opiate withdrawal is unknown, the drug calming effect on brain neurotransmitter pathways offer the benefit of providing relief for opiate addiction. Many times, treatment for one condition, leads to addiction of the drug. But gabapentin has less addiction potential than opiates. To get off from gabapentin, just decrease the dose so that brain starts to function without the drug.
Gabapentin for opiate withdrawal can be considered because it has lesser side effect and does not link with addiction. It is the safest medicine which is used by doctors to treat pain instead of opiate.