Is anger a side effect of Gabapentin?(+3 ways to tackle)
In this article, we will discuss the common uses and side effects of gabapentin. This article will also disclose whether gabapentin is responsible for causing anger and agitation in patients or not.
Is anger a side effect of Gabapentin?
Gabapentin may cause anger as a side effect in some individuals. Although it is not a commonly reported side effect, this drug can have various side effects including abrupt mood changes, anger, and aggression which can be mitigated through dose adjustment or by changing the medication in some cases.
What is the link between Gabapentin and anger?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug that is used in the treatment of epileptic seizures and neuropathic pain. This drug was initially used as a muscle relaxer and an antispasmodic drug until it was discovered to be an anticonvulsant drug (1).
The mechanism of action of this drug is by crossing the blood-brain barrier and directly affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain. This drug binds to the special voltage-gated calcium channels and inhibits the release of excitatory neurons which play a significant role in generating epileptic seizures (1).
This drug indirectly affects GABA which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Gabapentin increases the levels of GABA which produces a calming and inhibitory neuronal effect (1).
An imbalance of the effects of gabapentin on GABA and glutamate receptors may be a significant cause of agitation, anger, and irritability in some patients. Underlying health conditions may also contribute to irritability and other mood changes in patients taking gabapentin (2).
The effect of this drug on the neurotransmitters in the brain could lead to inhibitory effects leading to suicidal and hostile thoughts in certain populations. The reason for developing such behavioural changes is linked to neurobiological and psychological factors (2).
How to tackle anger issues caused by Gabapentin?
If the use of gabapentin is causing serious anger and agitation, then the patient must be advised to (3):
- Immediately report to your healthcare provider and report the mood changes related to mood change and anger.
- Dose adjustment might also help in reducing the symptoms related to anger and agitation.
- It is also advised to note that these issues are due to the use of gabapentin or there might be other underlying conditions or use of any other concomitant drug causing these mood changes.
- Other modes of therapy should be considered or recommended to control anger issues such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, yoga, exercise, or some other healthy coping strategies should be advised.
Different patients react differently to different drugs based on their race, metabolism, gender, or age. Mood changes, anger, fatigue, and agitation are not common side effects of using gabapentin but can rarely occur in certain patients (3).
What are the additional side effects of Gabapentin?
This drug is generally known to have minor side effects. However, some common side effects due to the use of Neurontin include (1):
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Bloating and gas
- Weight gain
- Somnolence/driving impairment/dizziness
- Mood changes
- Hair loss
Some adverse effects can also be caused by the use of gabapentin such as (1):
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Suicidal thoughts
- Peripheral edema
While taking gabapentin for any of the mentioned health conditions, it is necessary to monitor the drug’s effects and the symptoms associated with it. In case of any serious adverse effects, do not immediately stop the medication as it would lead to severe withdrawal symptoms of the drug. Rather contact your healthcare prescriber and seek medical attention.
We have discussed gabapentin which is an anticonvulsant drug. This article elaborates on the link between the mechanism of gabapentin and its link with anger leading to serious behavioral symptoms. Additionally, we have looked into the role of gabapentin in causing anger and agitation in patients using this drug and the ways to tackle this condition.
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Yasaei R, Katta S, Saadabadi A. Gabapentin. [Updated 2022 Dec 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493228/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493228/
Ghaly RF, Plesca A, Rana S, Candido KD, Knezevic NN. Gabapentin-related suicide: Myth or fact? Surg Neurol Int. 2018 Oct 23;9:210. doi: 10.4103/sni.sni_420_17. PMID: 30488008; PMCID: PMC6213802.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213802/
Gupta S, Frank BL, Masand PS. Gabapentin in the Treatment of Aggression Associated With Conduct Disorder. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2000 Apr;2(2):60-61. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v02n0208c. PMID: 15014586; PMCID: PMC181210.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181210/