While gabapentin for anxiety is not one of the two approved indications-being, epilepsy and postherpetic neuralgia-it is one of the variety of off-label uses for this medication. Most physicians have had positive experiences when prescribing Neurontin for anxiety even though there is limited clinical data showing its effectiveness.
Physicians often prescribe medications that have been shown to help alleviate disorders other than the specified uses of the medications, as in the case of Neurontin for anxiety, if the benefits outweigh the risks. The other most common disorders that are treated by gabapentin include: bipolar disorder, insomnia, alcohol detox, and cocaine addiction. With limited interactions with other drugs and a non-addictive profile, prescribing gabapentin for anxiety is a safe decision as long as the patients follow the guidelines and correct dosages. Determining whether or not you can benefit from taking Neurontin for anxiety, is best accomplished by consulting with your physician and weighing the benefits against the side effects and negative health effects.
Although there is limited clinical data to support the use of gabapentin for anxiety, or anything else outside of seizures and nerve pain due to herpes, there are plenty of doctors and patients that have found it to be effective. While this anecdotal evidence encourages more physicians to give Neurontin for anxiety a try with their most anxious patients, everyone responds differently to different substances and there are plenty of side effects to be considered. In a study that looked at treating social phobia with Neurontin, they used very high doses around 3000 mg per day and still only found a slight increase in effectiveness over the placebo. But while the data is still lacking, if it works on you then it is worth a try.
Theoretically, gabapentin for anxiety should work perfectly at treating the disorder, and other panic disorders. Being chemically similar to the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system-GABA-Neurontin should induce a calming effect that is similar to benzodiazepines, an anti-anxiety agent that has much more severe side effects. But as it turns out the evidence for the effectiveness of using Neurontin for anxiety treatment just isn’t there. Even at high dosages, that exceed the recommended daily dose for gabapentin, there is little clinical evidence of its effectiveness.
Notwithstanding, the use of gabapentin for anxiety does work in some patients and will continue to be used for this purpose in hopes that it will work on more. When taken as prescribed, Neurontin for anxiety poses minimal side effects for the chance at controlling the disorder. Always discuss all of these options with your doctor and don’t try to self-medicate.