Does Gabapentin Cause Weight Gain? All You Need To Know!

Gabapentin Cause Weight Gain

If you are under a Gabapentin prescription and notice changes in your weight, this article is for you. The question ‘Does Gabapentin cause weight gain’ is a valid question and the answer to that question is “yes”. Medications that are usually administered for neurological purposes result in weight gain as one of its myriad side effects. Gabapentin is prescribed for epilepsy and nerve pain and can cause the same kind of side effects. But the medication is quite helpful for treating conditions like seizures and postherpetic neuralgia and is FDA approved. In many cases, the symptoms of weight gain can happen after almost 6 months. Studies have linked this sudden weight gain to an increased appetite caused by the consumption of Gabapentin.

In this article, we will be analyzing various properties of Gabapentin in detail and its various usages.  Additionally, some side effects other than weight gain are mentioned, as well as detailed instructions on how to prevent weight gain while taking Gabapentin. If you or one of your loved ones is taking this medication, this article can surely be helpful for you. So dive right in and enjoy the reading journey!

Gabapentin- What Is It?

Gabapentin, which is known by its brand names such as Neurontin, Horizant, Gralise, etc is a member of a group of medications known as anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsants are used to treat epileptic seizures because they can calm the restless nerves in your brain.  First approved in 1993 in the United States, Gabapentin has been available as a generic medicine since 2004. The scientific name of Gabapentin is Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) analog.

Gabapentin

The major uses for this medicine include treating seizures, shingles, restless leg syndrome, nerve pain, etc. Gabapentin can be purchased as tablets, oral solutions, capsules, and extended-release tablets.

Common uses of Gabapentin

As an anticonvulsant, Gabapentin is usually administered to relax restless nerves in your brain that are caused by conditions like epilepsy and seizures. Some of the common uses of Gabapentin are listed below:

  • To treat seizures:  Gabapentin is an FDA-approved medication prescribed for treating focal onset seizures. It calms down the abnormal nerve actions in your brain that arise due to conditions like seizures.
  • To cure nerve pain:  Studies have proved that Gabapentin is effective for treating nerve pains caused by conditions such as shingles and diabetic neuropathy. Gabapentin can change the way your body reacts to pain and makes you more tolerable to chronic pain.
  • Treating anxiety:  Some case reports have been made on the effectiveness of Gabapentin in treating conditions such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It is usually an off-label prescription for anxiety and has proven to be effective in easing the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Cure sleep disorders: A study published in Clinical Neuropharmacology in 2010 has elaborated on the efficacy of Gabapentin in treating primary insomnia. Around 100-400 mg of Gabapentin is usually subscribed for treating insomnia and thereby aids in better sleep.
  • To cut down alcohol dependence: Studies and research have proved the role of Gabapentin in reducing alcohol dependence. It has also been shown to be effective as a painkiller for people affected by alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Common side effects of Gabapentin

Gabapentin can cause many side effects. Some of these side effects can be common and some can be rare. If you experience any serious side effects after using Gabapentin, it is advised to seek immediate medical guidance.

Below is a list of some of the common side effects caused by Gabapentin. Check out the list below:

  • Excessive sleepiness:  One of the common side effects of Gabapentin can be excessive sleepiness or drowsiness.
  • Nausea: You might experience nausea or be sick after taking Gabapentin.
  • Fatigue: Excessive tiredness or fatigue is another common side effect of consuming Gabapentin.
  • Peripheral Edema: This means swelling in the extremities which usually affects your lower limbs.
  • Involuntary eye movement: Another common side effect of Gabapentin is nystagmus or involuntary eye movements.
  • Weight gain: Gabapentin can increase your appetite and make you eat more. This can have a considerable effect on your weight.
  • Erectile dysfunction: One of the most common sexual problems that affect men is ED aka Erectile Dysfunction. Gabapentin can cause ED as a side effect.

⚠️ Some serious side effects of taking Gabapentin include suicidal tendencies,  increased temperature, severe stomach pains, hallucinations, etc.

Reasons why Gabapentin causes weight gain

Studies have postulated that weight gain can be a serious side effect of consuming Gabapentin. A study published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring in the year 1997 elaborated on the details of weight gain caused by Gabapentin therapy.

Medications such as Gabapentin can cause weight gain because of several reasons. Some are listed below:

👉 It makes you more hungry: Many case studies have proved that medications like Gabapentin can stimulate your appetite. This can lead to overeating and thereby a considerable change in weight.

👉 It leads to edema or fluid retention: One of the side effects of using Gabapentin is fluid retention which can be visible as bilateral leg swelling. Excessive water retention in your body can lead to weight gain.

👉 Enhance the storage of fat:  Most antiepileptic drugs such as Gabapentin have a notorious history of causing unwanted weight gain. The fluid retention property of the medication can enhance fat storage in your body and thereby can cause weight gain.

👉 Reduces the metabolic speed:  Gabapentin increases your appetite and thereby a considerable reduction in the speed of metabolism happens. When your metabolism is slowed, it can affect the burning of fat and can lead to weight gain.

👉 Difficulty in physical movements: One of the major side effects of drugs like Gabapentin is that it can cause drowsiness and excessive sleepiness. This can result in an inability to get up and exercise and thereby can lead to overweight conditions.


You might also like to read: Does Abilify Cause Weight Gain? How True Is It?


Ways to avoid weight gain due to Gabapentin

Medications like Gabapentin can induce weight gain in your body. There are certain ways you can adhere to avoid the weight gain process caused by Gabapentin. Some of these tactics are given below:

Switch your medication: Before switching the medication that causes weight gain, always consult your doctor first. If you experience symptoms of weight gain due to the intake of Gabapentin, seek the doctor’s advice regarding it and ask for switching to other medications.

Reduce the dosage:  In this case, too, seek your doctor’s guidance and ask to lower the dosage. If you can lower the dosage of Gabapentin, it might help prevent the onset of weight gain.

Eat less: As medications like Gabapentin can increase your appetite, you tend to eat more than usual. To avoid this, use smaller plates and limit your portion sizes. This can control the amount of food you eat and thereby can set a limit to weight gain.

Limit the intake of sugar:  Added sugars can increase your body weight and cause harmful effects on your body.  Keeping control over your sugar intake can help you to lose weight.

Try to get a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet with healthy ingredients is inevitable to maintain a healthy weight. If you are experiencing weight gain due to the side effects of Gabapentin, make some healthy changes to your diet.

Invest in sleep: If you have been putting on weight due to the intake of Gabapentin, try to get some quality sleep. Getting enough sleep can balance your metabolism and help you relieve increased appetite.

The Bottom Line

From the above-mentioned points, you can understand that medications like Gabapentin can cause weight gain as one of its side effects. Usually taken for treating conditions like seizures and nerve pain, Gabapentin has been associated with an increase in weight.  This is because the medication can create an enhanced appetite which can lead to overeating and thereby fat accumulation. It can also create a fluid buildup also known as edema in your lower limbs, which can also affect your weight.

By managing certain parts of your diet and lifestyle, the weight gain effect of Gabapentin can be prevented. If you are thinking about changing the medication or lowering your dosage, make sure to seek the guidance of your doctor. Changing the dosage of medication on your own can do more harm than good. So if you are experiencing any sort of weight gain symptoms after Gabapentin intake, contact your doctor immediately.

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