Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a prescription anticonvulsant medication that is prescribed to treat neuropathic (nerve) pain and seizures.[1] Although gabapentin abuse is not as common as other forms of prescription drug abuse, studies have documented increasing reports of people misusing the medication with other drugs like alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids.[2]

Taking gabapentin for long periods–whether prescribed and taken as directed or misusing it–can result in the development of physical dependence. People who take daily doses between 400 mg to 8000 mg for at least three weeks are more susceptible to dependence and withdrawal.[3]

Gabapentin has a similar mechanism of action to benzodiazepines in the way it acts on the reuptake of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter.[4] As a result, gabapentin withdrawal closely resembles benzodiazepine withdrawal.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal
  • How long withdrawal lasts
  • What to expect during the withdrawal timeline
  • How to detox safely

If you or a loved one are struggling with prescription drug abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at First Step Behavioral Health to discuss your treatment options.

Gabapentin Withdrawal Symptoms

People who take gabapentin for extended periods may become physically dependent, resulting in the development of withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop taking it.

Withdrawal symptoms from gabapentin discontinuation may vary in severity and manifestation among individuals. They are typically more intense in people of older age as well as those who are taking higher doses, have developed physical dependence, or struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.

Common symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal may include:[4,5]

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Body pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation

In some cases, gabapentin withdrawal can be severe. Although less common, these symptoms include:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle twitching
  • High blood pressure
  • Light sensitivity
  • Restless leg movements
  • Cold or flu symptoms
  • Seizures

People who were taking gabapentin for seizures may experience frequent or more frequent seizure activity upon stopping the medication.

Due to the potential for relapse, suicidal ideation, and withdrawal seizures, you should never stop taking gabapentin cold turkey. Talk to your healthcare provider about stopping the medication if it is prescribed to you or seek help from a trusted drug detox center.

How Long Does Gabapentin Withdrawal Last?

Symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal can begin as soon as 12 hours after taking the last dose. Symptoms can last up to 10 days, although the exact timeline can vary based on factors such as:

  • Dosage – Higher doses of gabapentin are associated with more severe, long-lasting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Length and frequency of use – Using gabapentin for longer periods or more often than prescribed can lead to more intense withdrawal experiences.
  • Age – Due to a slower metabolism, older individuals may experience longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms than younger people.
  • Polysubstance abuse – Abusing gabapentin in combination with alcohol or other drugs can affect withdrawal.
  • Medical or mental health issues – Co-occurring disorders may contribute to more severe withdrawal symptoms, but this varies on a case-by-case basis.[5]

Gabapentin Withdrawal Timeline

While the timeline can vary, individuals can expect the following.

  • 12-48 hours – Withdrawal symptoms often appear 12-48 hours after stopping gabapentin suddenly. In some individuals, it can take up to seven days for symptoms to begin.[6] Early symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, sweating, nausea, and headaches.
  • Day 3 – Symptoms often peak on day three. Restless leg syndrome, disorientation, confusion, agitation, light sensitivity, and anxiety are common. Neuropathic pain may return if the person struggled with it previously.
  • Days 4-5 – Peak symptoms may continue, although for some, symptoms will begin to subside.
  • Days 6-10 – Withdrawal symptoms gradually subside. Most people feel better after 10 days, but some people experience withdrawal symptoms for longer.

Undergoing a gradual taper or supervised medical detox can reduce the risk of unpleasant and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Medical Detox: Comprehensive Treatment for Gabapentin Withdrawal

Individuals who are addicted to or are abusing gabapentin can benefit from seeking treatment from a detox center. Medical supervision is especially important for those who are at risk of seizures or are already experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. In these circumstances, intensive around-the-clock monitoring and symptom management are essential.

For most cases, gabapentin is phased out over one week, but the timeline can vary based on a person’s needs. Working with a healthcare provider, individuals gradually reduce their dose to safely and comfortably wean off it. Tapering slowly can prevent severe withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse. Healthcare experts generally reduce the dose by a maximum of 300 mg every four to five days.[6]

A medical detox center may also provide counseling and behavioral therapies for emotional and psychological support. After detoxing, individuals may transition to an inpatient or outpatient treatment center for continued care.

Find Help Now

At First Step Behavioral Health, our recently renovated, state-of-the-art detox facility in Pompano Beach offers comprehensive treatment for gabapentin withdrawal. Our experienced medical team provides compassionate care and personalized treatment plans to support individuals through the detox process safely and effectively.

During detoxification from gabapentin, our facility offers round-the-clock medical supervision to ensure the comfort and safety of our clients. We monitor withdrawal symptoms closely and provide appropriate medical interventions as needed to manage any discomfort or complications that may arise.

If you or a loved one is struggling with gabapentin addiction or withdrawal, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Contact First Step Behavioral Health today to learn more about our prescription drug detox program and begin your journey toward recovery.


  1. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Neurontin
  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Gabapentin misuse
  3. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Gabapentin: Abuse, Dependence, and Withdrawal
  4. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (AJHP): Withdrawal symptoms after gabapentin discontinuation
  5. Alpha Psychiatry: Gabapentin withdrawal in a depressed patient: A case report
  6. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper

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