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Re: Does gabapentin have anything to do with GABA?

Posted by SLS on October 22, 2000, at 11:59:56

In reply to Does gabapentin have anything to do with GABA?, posted by Buffet on October 22, 2000, at 4:08:07

> It wasn't named because it deals with GABA receptors or GABA itself was it? If so I am very interested in how it works.
> Also, does neurontin have sedative qualities to it? Still looking for something to take place of xanax. My only option is to go back onto another ssri (the only thing that kinda works).
> Does anybody know of any research on drugs that increase the production of GABA? Or, act as an 'sGri'. This would put an end to the dependence to benzos.

Hi Buffet.

Yes, gabapentin (Neurontin) was probably named for its structural similarity to the GABA (gamma-amino-butyric-acid) molecule. It was designed that way on purpose. However, it doesn't act at all like GABA. The body does not treat gabapentin as if it were GABA. However, it does seem to have properties that probably lead to an enhancement of GABA-type activity. One of the earlier ideas regarding gabapentin is that it increased the production of GABA, just as you suggested. But it also does a whole bunch of other things that may account for its therapeutic effects. Neurontin is actually a pretty poorly understood drug.

Neurontin does have significant anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects in many people. Perhaps it will be able to replace your Xanax, or reduce the amount of Xanax you need. Neurontin can reduce anxiety without producing sedation.

As is often pointed out here, there is nothing inherently wrong with "depending" on a drug, whether it be Prozac, lithium, Neurontin, or Xanax. Some people have to take these drugs for the rest of their lives. I'm not sure it makes sense to think of a benzodiazepine any differently than an SSRI. You need to take both regularly. If you stop either, there are significant withdrawal syndromes. I guess the real issue with a specific benzodiazepine is whether or not it has lost its effectiveness (tolerance) for you or if you don't like the way you feel while taking it. Without knowing anything about you, I would say that if your doctor feels Neurontin is worth a try, I would not be hesitant.

Good luck.

- Scott




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