Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a popular prescription medication to control and prevent seizures and epilepsy. This medicine is also a good remedy for calming down the nerve pain caused by shingles in adults.
Neurontin is the best-known brand name of Gabapentin. It is used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, hot flashes, and restless legs syndrome.
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is one of your body’s primary neurotransmitters that help to calm down 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 give you an answer to 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 comes as a tablet, a capsule, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is a lipid-soluble drug.
The liver does not break 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.
Just like the foods we eat, this drug is absorbed by the small intestines, and from there the properties of this medicine spread into the bloodstream.
The parts of Gabapentin not absorbed by the body are processed by the kidneys and excreted unchanged (at 190 mL/min).
The entire drug is typically excreted through the renal function of our body in liquid form.
Gabapentin is eliminated from the systemic circulation by renal excretion.
As this drug is not turned into metabolites by the liver, it is not appreciably metabolized in humans.
Half-Life of Gabapentin
The half-life of a drug refers to the amount of time required for a drug in the body to be reduced by one-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 300mg dose of Gabapentin will be left with only 150mg dose of Gabapentin in the system approximately after 7 hours of taking the pill.
About 6 to 8 half-lives are required for the Gabapentin to be fully eliminated from your system.
How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System?
For the fear of side effects, nobody likes to have the leftovers of a medication housed in his/her 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 of the standard drug testing solutions available are specially designed for testing narcotic substances and metabolites of drugs.
Therefore, it is difficult to detect the presence of Gabapentin in your system with the drug testing technology currently used.
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 reaching half-life then it will usually get eliminated from the body in less than 48 hours.
However, people using Gabapentin regularly for a long period or having 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.
For how much time Gabapentin remains in your body is also dependent on several individual factors pertaining to your health and diet habits.
Neurontin will not last for more than 48 hours in the majority of the people who use it. However, for some people, the process of drugs getting eliminated from the body takes a longer time. After having a 400mg 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 and thus it stays in the blood only for a few hours. Peak plasma concentration of this drug occurs after 1-2 hours after taking the drug.
Depending on the dose and frequency of using the drug, a blood test can detect Gabapentin in the blood between the ranges of 5 to 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 for detecting 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 used Neurontin for short 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 sum of its properties deposited in hair follicles.
Usually, particles of drugs can be detected in the hair follicles up to 90 days after cessation of using a drug.
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 for 1 to 3 days in your urine.
But in the case of chronic users or people taking a higher dose of this pill have a slower elimination period. In such a scenario, this drug is detectable in the urine screen test for up to a week.
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 is difficult 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 at a very slow rate.
Age: Younger people with healthy metabolism quickly remove the properties of the drug from the body than elderly people.
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 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 who has too much fat in the body retains drugs in the fat cells for a longer time.
Dosage: A person who takes a larger dosage of the drug will take much more time for the elimination of a drug.
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 potentially active for more than 48 hours. This drug also has a very short half-life in comparison 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 those into drug abuse.
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 drug’s are:
- Clumsiness and loss of balance
- Rolling eye movements
- Behavioral issues and aggression
- Aches and pains
Usually, mild side effects from this drug are the result of consuming a high dosage of the drug. Children and elderly people are more likely to experience mood swings, depression, and aggression in behavior.
WebMD and FDA report a few severe and long-term side effects that might result from overdosing or abuse of this drug:
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Respiratory suppression
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Loss of memory
- Sores on mouth or skin
- Delays in muscle movement
- Stomach pain.
One of the long-term side effects of Gabapentin is said to be 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 any kidney issues already in existence.
In case 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 kidneys and expelled through urination.
The rate of clearance of the drug is proportional to the creatinine clearance. In less than 7 hours after having 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 renal functions of the body.
However, people who have kidney issues may have to wait for a much longer time for the drug to clear out of the system. In case of any serious issues with kidneys, renal dialysis may be required for the faster removal of drugs and toxins from your system.
A good way to flush out the drug is by having large amounts of fluids like water, juices, and smoothies. Taking acid-rich foods can also cleanse your system of drugs faster.
Eating fiber-rich foods enhances the process of digestion and faster excretion of drugs and wastes from the body.
The Bottom Line
According to a PubMed Health report, Gabapentin is a lipid-soluble drug that is not metabolized by the liver, unlike many other drugs.
Secondly, this drug does not bind to proteins and has a clearance rate of 190ml/min. 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.