Many of my clients take the drug Gabapentin or one of its associated versions, such as Lyrica or Neurontin. I estimate that I see this drug in the list of pharmaceuticals more than any other. My clients take it for a range of medical problems including migraines, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. Most
commonly, they are taking it for such nerve pain as neuropathy in their feet or hands.
Lots Of Prescriptions--Lots of Results?
So, does it actually do anything? A new study suggests that Gabapentin is not very effective at all. Two researchers at the University of South Carolina found that there is very little evidence that Gabapentin works to alleviate the problems for which it is prescribed. Worse still, the drug had profound side effects, such as sleepiness, dizziness, and even difficulty walking. The researchers further found that Gabapentin can be addictive.
Too Many Doctors Prescribing For Too Many Conditions
If doctors only prescribed Gabapentin for the uses the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for, the problem might be small in scale. The FDA said that doctors should limit the use of Gabapentin to treat only four problems: postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and spinal cord injury. But doctors have been handing out Gabapentin for all manner of chronic health problems. Some doctors think of Gabapentin as an all-purpose pain reliever, when, in fact, there is little proof that Gabapentin relieves pain.
The 64 Million Dollar Question
While Gabapentin would seem to have limited uses, it is among the most commonly prescribed medications in America. In 2016, doctors wrote sixty-four million prescriptions for Gabapentin. Something doesn't add up here.
As Always, Talk To Your Doctor
Never go off any medication without talking to your doctor first. But, it might be a good idea to sit down with your physician and ask why you are taking Gabapentin when the best evidence suggests it does very little good to balance some very real risks.