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Does Gabapentin Cause Weight Gain?

Does Gabapentin Cause Weight Gain?

It’s normal to experience some undesirable side effects while taking prescription medications.

Among the most common is weight gain. Whether it’s due to increased appetite or water retention, there are various reasons why certain prescription drugs cause you to gain some unwanted pounds. But what about gabapentin? Does gabapentin cause weight gain? Our Illinois rehabs are here to explore this query and offer insights into how to address the factors of weight gain after stopping a medication.

What Is Gabapentin?

Also known by brand names like Neurontin and Gralise, gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat seizure disorders like epilepsy and alleviate nerve pain caused by conditions like shingles. As an anti-seizure medication, gabapentin alters electrical activity in the brain and body by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that blocks brain signaling or neurotransmissions. When someone uses gabapentin, they may experience sedation, drowsiness, sleepiness, and a sense of relaxation.

Some other common gabapentin side effects include:

  • Back or chest pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Flu or cold-like symptoms
  • Memory loss
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Sore throat
  • Uncontrollable eye-rolling

Children and older adults taking gabapentin are more likely to experience adverse side effects. Physical dependence is also a possible side effect of taking gabapentin, even if it’s taken as directed.

Physical dependence can lead to compulsive drug-taking behavior, such as taking higher doses to experience relief. This not only increases the risk of an overdose but also makes it more difficult to reduce or stop taking gabapentin in the future due to withdrawal symptoms.

If you’re misusing your medication or are showing any signs of gabapentin withdrawal, speak to your doctor about alternative treatment methods. Our Heartland Treatment Center also offers medically monitored detox for prescription drugs that includes 24-hour medical assistance.

What Does Gabapentin Do for Your Metabolism?

Even though gabapentin is an essential medication for the treatment of neurological disorders, it has no direct effect on the body's energy expenditure or metabolic rate. Although gabapentin does not directly affect metabolism, it is important to note that people using this medication should be aware of potential side effects that may have an indirect impact on metabolic health. Being aware of these potential effects and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, can help individuals manage their overall metabolic health while using gabapentin for its intended medical purposes.

Does Gabapentin Make You Gain Weight?

In addition to the other side effects of gabapentin, weight gain is a concern for many patients. Gabapentin can cause weight gain, but this side effect is usually rare.

People may gain weight while taking gabapentin because the drug increases their appetite and causes water retention, mainly in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. Gabapentin water retention is another example of how the body can change when a medication is taken. Patients taking medications like Neurontin and Gralise may gain a few pounds after about six weeks into treatment.

Duration of use also affects whether you gain weight on gabapentin. One study measuring the correlation between gabapentin and weight gain in 44 patients found that 10 patients gained more than 10% of their baseline weight, and 15 patients gained 5% to 10% of their baseline weight.1

The study also found that this increase in weight occurred in the second or third month of treatment and tended to stabilize after about 6 to 9 months.1 So, it’s safe to say that it is possible to maintain your weight while taking gabapentin. It might just take some time.

Additionally, if you want to avoid gaining weight while taking gabapentin, make sure to drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and try to eat a clean diet. Weight loss after gabapentin is also possible, but it may require you to adopt some healthier habits.

Speak to your doctor about healthy things you do to prevent serious weight gain while on gabapentin. If you experience any other adverse side effects, such as difficulty controlling how much of the medication you take, speak to your healthcare provider right away. We also encourage you to contact us if you are concerned about the medication intake of yourself or your loved one.

Tips for Weight Loss After Stopping Gabapentin

Given that gabapentin may contribute to weight gain in some individuals, starting the process of losing weight after stopping the medication calls for caution and patience. Losing excess weight requires a holistic approach that takes into account not just the physical side of things but also the psychological and emotional aspects of this life-changing activity.

Because the body might require some time to acclimate to life without gabapentin, it is imperative to approach this change with an emphasis on general well-being. Understanding the complex interplay between food, lifestyle, and mental health when it comes to weight management creates the groundwork for a more long-lasting and fruitful weight loss journey.

Weight loss tips include:

  • Balanced diet: A balanced diet should consist of a range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. It should also be well-rounded and nutrient-dense.
  • Portion control: To avoid overindulging, pay attention to portion sizes. To better manage your portions, think about using smaller plates.
  • Hydration: Make sure you are getting enough water throughout the day. The body can occasionally mistake thirst for hunger.
  • Regular exercise: Make physical activity a regular part of your day. Try to incorporate strength training, flexibility training, and cardiovascular exercises into your routine.
  • Listen to your body: Observe your body's signals of hunger and fullness. Consume food only when you're hungry and quit when you're full.
  • Avoid emotional eating: Recognize and deal with the feelings that make you want to overeat. If left unaddressed, it can escalate into an emotional eating disorder. Look for different coping mechanisms, like exercise, meditation, or hobbies, to handle stress or emotions.
  • Keep a food journal: Track your daily food intake to become more aware of your eating habits and identify areas for improvement.
  • Seek professional guidance: For individualized guidance and assistance, speak with a registered dietitian or other healthcare professional.
  • Join a supportive community: To connect with people going through a similar situation and exchange advice, inspiration, and experiences, think about joining a weight loss or wellness group.

As always, the secret to successfully losing weight is forming long-lasting routines that improve your general health. Prioritizing long-term health over temporary solutions is critical. See your healthcare provider for advice specific to your needs if you have any worries or particular health issues.

Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

Not only does gabapentin cause weight gain in some users, but physical dependence and overdose are additional risks to be mindful of. Overdose can occur either intentionally by someone who wants to increase the impact of the drug’s effects or accidentally by mixing it with other medications or drinking alcohol on the same day.

Additionally, while gabapentin is believed to have a low potential for abuse and addiction, never take more than directed by your doctor and never mix it with other medications unless instructed to do so by your doctor.

Also, avoid drinking alcohol while on gabapentin, as both are considered depressants and can produce extreme sedation and cognitive impairment. If you find yourself misusing any prescription or illicit substances, we can help.

Our Heartland drug rehab offers inpatient substance abuse treatment for prescription and illicit drug addiction, as well as alcoholism. To learn how our specialists can help you or a loved one achieve an addiction-free life, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 and verify your benefits.


  1. NCBI - Changes in body weight with chronic, high-dose gabapentin therapy
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Does Gabapentin Cause Weight Gain?
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