However, it is also used off-label (i.e., not for its FDA-approved uses) to treat a variety of other conditions. Some of the off-label uses of gabapentin include:
- Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
- Bipolar disorder, particularly for treating manic or mixed episodes.
- Insomnia, particularly in people with anxiety or neuropathic pain.
- Migraine headaches.
- Alcohol dependence, particularly for managing withdrawal symptoms.
- Restless legs syndrome.
- Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition.
- Neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis.
- Pruritus (itching), particularly in people with chronic kidney disease.
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
It’s important to note that the off-label use of gabapentin is not always supported by strong scientific evidence, and it may not be safe or effective for everyone. It’s important to discuss any potential off-label use of gabapentin with a doctor before trying it.
Gabapentin extended-release tablets (Horizant) are used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS; a condition that causes discomfort in the legs and a strong urge to move the legs, especially at night and when sitting or lying down). Gabapentin is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. Gabapentin treats seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. Gabapentin relieves the pain of PHN by changing the way the body senses pain. It is not known exactly how gabapentin works to treat restless legs syndrome.
gabapentin can be used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS). Gabapentin is a medication that is commonly used to treat seizures, neuropathic pain, and anxiety disorders. However, it has also been found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of RLS, such as the uncomfortable sensations in the legs that can make it difficult to sleep or sit still.
Gabapentin works by increasing the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that helps to calm down the nervous system. By doing so, it can reduce the symptoms of RLS and improve sleep quality.
Gabapentin is also used off-label to treat chronic pain (as an alternative to opioid medications), alcohol use disorder (AUD), and substance use disorder (SUD).
Today there’s growing concern about increased misuse of gabapentin. Greater numbers of prescriptions means more access to gabapentin.
The risk of misuse is higher among those with an existing SUD — 15 to 22 percent. Overdose deaths have been reported when combined with other drugs.
Studies show an increase in overdose deaths in recent years linked to the rise in the number of overall prescriptions. Certain drugs like opioids taken together increase the danger of overdose.
Several states are currently considering legislation to help stop this misuse. Many have put special monitoring requirements in place for gabapentin.