Gabapentin may be another weapon to help fight alcohol dependence

A few weeks ago, I tore a hamstring playing volleyball. Some may argue that I’ve gotten too old to play like I was, but that’s another story all together. The truth is that I played, was having fun, and then, POW, I felt my leg explode.

After a couple of days of limping and trying to deal with the pain I went to see a doctor. He prescribed me 10mg Flexeril pills and I was on my way. I took the Flexeril, which is a muscle relaxant, but it made me way too groggy at full strength. I then took a half pill, and it helped a little, but I still didn’t like the way I felt while taking it. Plus, my lower back and left hip started hurting, I assume because of the way I was walking. Therefore, after more than a week of trying the Flexeril and icing my leg, I was worse than I was before. I went back to the doc.

This time, the doctor took several x-rays and determined that the x-rays showed that my back was in spasm and that the pain was probably associated with the Sciatic nerve being compressed. So, this doc prescribed me 100mg Gabapentin capsules, which I began taking that night.

Gabapentin is primarily used to treat epilepsy, as it controls the seizures. Plus, as in my case, Gapapentin is also being used to treat various neuropathies. But, what was interesting to me was that I had just read two (2) studies that discussed Gabapentin’s efficacy within an alcohol treatment framework. One study was using Gabapentin by itself, while the other study coupled Gabapentin with Naltrexone. Both studies found that Gabapentin, both by itself and with Naltrexone, were effective for treating symptoms associated with alcohol detox and continued cravings. Another point of interest stated in both studies is that pharmacological interventions for alcoholism are only used in treatment in nine percent (9%) of all cases of US alcohol dependence. To me, this small number is a sign that perhaps our medical community needs to learn more about the mechanics of addiction in order to see that there are far more options that the medical community realizes. I’ve included the studies for everyone’s review here:Gabapentin for alcoholism and Gabapentin with Naltrexone for alcoholism.

Did Gabapentin help me? Well, fter five (5) days of taking the med, I can say that my back is back to normal and even though I did experience some drowsiness, strange dreams, and some increased anxiety, I think Gabapentin was effective and quite safe. I’d be curious to learn of anyone using Gabapentin to treat his or her alcoholism, because if it works as indicated in the studies, it can be yet another weapon in the fight against the scourge of addiction…


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