Risks during pregnancy and when breastfeeding

People who are pregnant and those who intend to become pregnant should tell a doctor before taking gabapentin.

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Research from 2020 suggests that taking this drug during pregnancy may be associated with a higher risk of cardiac malformations in the fetus, a condition called small for gestational age, and preterm birth.

However, it is also essential to control seizures during pregnancy, so pregnant people should only take the drug if it is absolutely necessary.

People should never start or stop taking gabapentin for seizure control before talking with a doctor. They will assess the potential risks and benefits.

After childbirth, gabapentin passes into breast milk. At low levels, it may not affect the infant. However, it is best to discuss this issue with a doctor before breastfeeding.

At the federal level, gabapentin is not listed as a controlled drug, is considered a non-addictive medication, and is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a substitute for opiates for chronic pain. However, there are growing concerns about its potential for misuse.

Several US states have moved gabapentin to the Schedule V controlled substance category. Gabapentin does not have a high risk of an overdose but can increase the euphoria caused by opioids and reduce drug withdrawals. An Australian study examined fatal gabapentinoid-related poisoning and discovered that concomitant other drug use to be almost universal in such cases.

Furthermore, gabapentin can bypass the blocking effects of addiction treatment medications, and unfortunately, does not show up in urine drug tests.