The Dangers of Prescription Medication Gabapentin

Playing New Drug of Abuse: Gabapentin?

There's a prescription drug that is being abused and killing people -- and you might not be aware of its potential dangers.

The Doctors discuss the anti-seizure medication gabapentin, which is being used to treat everything from nerve pain to hot flashes. While it might be seen as an alternative to opioids in treating pain, the drug was reportedly involved in over 100 overdose deaths in West Virginia and emergency rooms have seen a 90 percent increase of people coming in after using the drug. Is Gabapentin our next drug crisis and should doctors think twice before prescribing?

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Psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli says that it is often prescribed for anxiety, headaches, migraines, bipolar disorder and ADHD. He explains that it creates a slowing down effect on the brain. He says that many drug users have realized that taking the drug makes opioids more powerful when combined. He worries that people are not aware of how dangerous this combination can be.

The Doctors note that many people effectively use this medication. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork was prescribed the drug following his spine surgery. He feels it allowed him to take fewer opioids.

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Dr. Travis notes, "Anytime a doctor prescribes you a medication, [ask], 'Why am I taking this? How long do I need to take it? What is the lowest possible effective dose?'"