Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a popular prescription medication to control and prevent seizures and epilepsy. Adults with shingles experience nerve pain, and this medication is a good treatment.
Neurontin is the best-known brand name for Gabapentin. It treats epilepsy, neuropathic pain, hot flashes, and restless legs syndrome.
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is one of your body’s primary neurotransmitters that helps calm your central nervous system (CNS). Gabapentin has a similar structure and potentiality to GABA.
However, prolonged use of Gabapentin pills can cause adverse effects on health.
This article tries to answer the question, “How long does Gabapentin stay in your system?”
Gabapentin is neither a controlled substance nor a narcotic. For this reason, standard drug tests cannot always correctly detect the presence of Gabapentin in your system.
How Is Gabapentin Metabolized?
Gabapentin is a tablet, capsule, extended-release (long-acting), and oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is a lipid-soluble drug.
The liver does not break down Gabapentin into metabolites, unlike most of the other drugs.
It is different from other drugs as this medication does not go through the process of hepatic metabolism. Therefore, the residues of this drug stay in your body only for a few hours.
The small intestine absorbs this medication, just like the foods we eat, and from there, its properties enter the bloodstream.
The kidneys process the Gabapentin that the body does not absorb and excrete it unchanged (at a rate of 190 mL/min).
The entire drug is typically excreted through the renal function of our body in liquid form.
Renal excretion eliminates Gabapentin from systemic circulation.
The liver does not convert this drug into metabolites, so humans do not significantly metabolize it.
Half-life of Gabapentin
The half-life of a drug is the length of time it takes for its concentration in the body to drop by half. The half-life of a drug is usually measured by identifying the amount of the drug left in the plasma.
According to various studies, the average half-life of Gabapentin in a healthy person ranges between 5-7 hours.
A person consuming a 300 mg dose of Gabapentin will be left with only 150 mg of Gabapentin in the system approximately after 7 hours of taking the pill.
About 6 to 8 half-lives are required for Gabapentin to be fully eliminated from your system.
How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System?
For fear of side effects, nobody likes to have the leftovers of a medication housed in their body for a long time.
Like most users of this drug, you may also want to know how long Gabapentin will show up on a drug test after you have relinquished it.
This drug is not a narcotic. Most standard drug testing solutions are specially designed for testing narcotic substances and drug metabolites.
Therefore, it is difficult to detect the presence of Gabapentin in your system with the current drug testing technology.
The half-life of Gabapentin is also very short compared to other medications.
Usually, the half-life of Gabapentin for most people ranges from 5 to 7 hours. This means that in less than 7 hours, most users of this medicine will have eliminated the half-dose of the drug taken.
If a drug requires 7 hours for its half-life to reach 50%, it will usually be eliminated from the body in less than 48 hours.
However, people using Gabapentin regularly for a long period or receiving high doses may retain the properties of the drug for a longer period than usual.
Gabapentin can be detected in your blood, urine, or saliva only for a short period ranging from 7 to 48 hours.
How long Gabapentin remains in your body depends on several factors about your health and diet habits.
Neurontin will not last for more than 48 hours in most people who use it. However, for some people, the process of eliminating drugs from the body takes longer. After a 400 mg dose of Neurontin, a half-life of 132 hours is also reported.
How long does Gabapentin stay in your blood?
Gabapentin is not a protein-binding drug; thus, it stays in the blood only for a few hours. Peak plasma concentrations of this drug occur 1-2 hours after taking the drug.
Depending on the drug’s dose and frequency, a blood test can detect Gabapentin in the blood between the ranges of 5 and 36 hours. In most cases, it is not traceable in the blood after 7 hours of consuming this drug.
A blood test for detecting Gabapentin is mostly done to detect drug abuse by a person. It has little value in therapeutic monitoring.
How long does Gabapentin stay in your saliva?
Neurontin is mostly an orally administered drug. However, Gabapentin is not detectable by swab tests of saliva.
The saliva screen test is usually performed to detect narcotics or drug abuse.
How long does Gabapentin stay in your hair?
A hair screen test for tracing Gabapentin is uncommon. Hair testing for drug abuse is a complicated process that requires time and advanced equipment.
However, hair tests provide the longest detection window compared to all other biological screen tests.
But a person who uses Neurontin for a short time may not have a detectable amount of its properties deposited in the hair follicles. Only a chronic user of this drug would have a detectable amount of its properties deposited in their hair follicles.
Usually, particles of drugs can be detected in the hair follicles up to 90 days after cessation of use.
Since Gabapentin is not converted to metabolites by the liver, hair tests can hardly detect the presence of this drug in the hair follicles.
How long does Gabapentin stay in your urine?
Gabapentin can be detected in your urine for 1–3 days.
But the elimination period is slower for chronic users or people taking a higher dose of this pill. This drug is detectable in the urine screen test for up to a week in such a scenario.
Every bit of Gabapentin is fully eliminated from your system through the renal functions performed by the kidneys.
A well-hydrated body expels the residues of the drug faster from the system through increased frequency of urination.
In a healthy person, it isn’t easy to detect the presence of Neurontin in urine beyond two days after quitting it.
Every drug has an estimated average time required for its elimination from the body.
However, how fast the properties of medicine are eliminated from the system depends on several variables of the individual user.
Some of the chief factors are:
Renal Function: A person with impaired renal function eliminates Gabapentin from the system very slowly.
Age: Younger people with healthy metabolisms quickly remove the properties of the drug from the body than older adults.
Hydration: A person who drinks an optimum amount of water has a higher frequency of urination and better detoxification of drugs from the body.
Metabolic Rate: Healthy metabolic activities of the system help in the faster absorption and removal of drugs from the body.
Body Mass and Fat: A short, lightweight person will take longer to clear the drug than a tall, heavyweight person. However, a person with too much fat retains drugs in the fat cells for a longer time.
Dosage: A person who takes a larger dosage of the drug will need much more time for its elimination.
Diet: Eating acid-forming foods results in the faster elimination of drugs from the system.
Long-term Side Effects of Gabapentin
Gabapentin does not stay in your system and is not potentially active for more than 48 hours. This drug also has a very short half-life compared to many other drugs. Therefore, the side effects of this drug are short-lived.
Long-term side effects of Gabapentin may be possible in persons who use this medication for a considerably long period or in those who abuse drugs.
Reported cases of the side effects of Gabapentin are few, and most of them are mild side effects that last for a day or two.
According to a report published by the Mayo Clinic, the mild side effects of these drugs are:
- Clumsiness and loss of balance
- Rolling eye movements
- Behavioral issues and aggression
- Aches and pains
Usually, this drug’s mild side effects result from consuming a high dosage of the drug. Children and older adults are more likely to experience mood swings, depression, and aggression in behavior.
WebMD and the FDA report a few severe and long-term side effects that might result from overdosing on or abusing this drug:
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Respiratory suppression
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Loss of memory
- Sores on the mouth or skin
- Delays in muscle movement
- Stomach pain.
One of the long-term side effects of Gabapentin is the damage it might cause to the kidneys. Consumption of any drug for a long time can negatively affect renal functions, especially in persons with already existing kidney issues.
In the event of any allergic reactions or other severe side effects, it is important that you immediately consult your doctor.
Clearing Gabapentin From Your Body
Gabapentin is fully eliminated from your system by the kidneys and expelled through urination.
The rate of clearance of the drug is proportional to the creatinine clearance. In less than 7 hours after the last dose, half of the drug is expected to be cleared out of your system. Approximately in 1.6 days, over 95 percent of Gabapentin is removed from your system via the renal functions of the body.
However, people with kidney issues may have to wait much longer for the drug to clear out of their system. In case of serious kidney issues, renal dialysis may be required to remove drugs and toxins from your system quickly.
Drinking large amounts of fluids like water, juices, and smoothies is a good way to flush out the drug. Taking acid-rich foods can also cleanse your system of drugs faster.
Eating fiber-rich foods enhances digestion and speeds the excretion of drugs and wastes from the body.
According to a PubMed Health report, Gabapentin is a lipid-soluble drug not metabolized by the liver, unlike many other drugs.
Secondly, this drug does not bind to proteins and has a clearance rate of 190 ml. About 50 percent of Gabapentin is cleared from the system within 5 to 7 hours. This drug will be almost fully eliminated from your system approximately two days after the last ingestion.
However, the poor health condition of the user, such as renal impairment, can make Neurontin stay in your system for several days before it gets eliminated gradually.