Neuropathic pain, seizures, restless leg syndrome and hot flashes are very common in people nowadays, especially in the USA. They only seek for a medicine that will help them against these terrible symptoms. Gabapentin, sold under the name Neurontin, used to relieve pain and against epilepsy was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993 and later again in 2004.
But, a very short time after it was released, a company called Parke-David which is the daughter company of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, started using it for unapproved things and was called “off-label.” It became more accessible to consumers, insurers and healthcare providers. It was used to treat migraines and even bipolar disorders.
From 10 to 20% of all prescriptions that are written in the U.S. these days are used off-label. Even doctors use them and recommend them.
According to a recent study, almost 80% of the off-label prescribing still hasn’t been was not backed by scientific evidence. These patients had more side-effects than patients who used approved medicines.
When you’re considering on starting to use a medicine, you must look at the side-effects it can cause closely. Some of them are: suicide, aggressive behavior, distrust, depression, rapid mood changes, tremors, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, false sense of well-being and hyperactivity.
There are numerous cases of side-effects. There was a case with a woman called Caryl Westwood who was prescribed Neurontin to treat her lower back pain. She experienced fog, insomnia and anxiety for months and when she finally decided to confront the doctor, she discovered that the medicine is actually very powerful against epilepsy.
There wasn’t a strong proof that it can treat the pain. In 2004, it was estimated that about 90% of this medicine’s sales which was about $2.7 billion was actually from off-label use prescriptions.
Pfizer admitted that they were guilty in promoting the off-label use of Neurontin. They paid $430 million in a settlement, but the off-label use still exists today.
Beyond Painkillers: Ohio Substance Abuse Alert
There has been a public warning about the gabapentin by the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network (OSAM). They claim that it has started to be sold in the streets as a drug. You can obtain it very easily.
It has been used in a combination with heroin and creates a stronger, but it also helps you cope with the withdrawal effects.
Doctors have to pay close attention to their patient behavior and not only to refill them with medicines. If you think that someone is abusing gabapentin, here are some signals that they will show you:
- Memory loss
- Jerky movements
- Anxiety or depression
- Double vision
- Loss of coordination
- Changes in social behavior
- Visiting multiple doctors / Switching doctors
- Unusual eye movements
- Difficulty speaking
- Exaggerating symptoms to doctor / Lying
Try to talk to your personal doctor about the addiction caused by prescription medicines and consider visiting a treatment facility or an addictions specialist. You can also visit this site: DrugAbuse.gov.
Article and image source: https://theheartysoul.com