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Metabolism of Gabapentin: How Long Does It Stay In Blood, Urine and Hair

gabapentin half-life

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Table of Contents

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a drug used in the treatment of seizures, nerve pain and restlessness. It is not a narcotic, and it’s not a controlled substance. Therefore, standard drug tests can’t detect Gabapentin. If one tests for Gabapentin, the drug might show as anticonvulsant or sedative. Urine tests can detect the drug for up to two days after intake.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in the System?

Gabapentin, known on the market as Neurontin, is not scheduled as a controlled substance. However, it’s important to know how long it takes for the drug to leave the system, as it leads to some uncomfortable Gabapentin side effects and withdrawal. On top of that, some specialized tests can detect Gabapentin.
The average half-life of the drug is 5-7 hours, which means that it takes 1-2 days to get Gabapentin out of system.
Although 48 hours are enough for Gabapentin to leave the system, note that for some users, that process might take longer. A half-life of 132 hours has also been reported (after a dose of 400 mg).

Gabapentin can stay for up to two days after intake. Its half-life is between five and seven hours. In general, the drug will be out of system within 48 hours. However, many factors influence the duration and the elimination of the drug. For instance, patients with renal failure might need around 30 days to get clean.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay In Blood?

Peak plasma concentrations occur 1-2 hours after intake. The drug is not protein bound, and its half-life is around 5-7 hours. That means that on average, it takes up to two days to get clean.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay In Saliva?

Although the traditional route of administration of the drug is oral, Gabapentin is not detectable by swab tests.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay In Hair?

Like swab tests, hair tests for Gabapentin are uncommon. However, in general, hair tests provide a longer window of detection.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay In Urine?

The human body excretes Gabapentin via the kidney (interestingly enough, unchanged). Drinking water or other liquids and the urine pH affect the elimination of the drug. However, as mentioned above, it takes around two days for Gabapentin to leave the system.

Factors That Influence Gabapentin Duration & Elimination

Even health experts can’t say how long it takes for Gabapentin to exit the system of a user, only because many factors affect the duration and the elimination of the drug.

  • Dose, polydrug use, and history of abuse
  • Age, medical condition, and overall health
  • Weight, height, and body fat
  • Food intake, hydration, and exercising

Larger doses lead to slower excretion. In older (over 65) and thinner patients, Gabapentin lingers longer. Staying hydrated is something that can help the user get Gabapentin out of their system quicker. Also, acid-forming foods can accelerate the process.
Note that in the case of renal dysfunction, the user might need more time to get clean. In patients who suffer from renal failure, it might take up to 30 days.

How Is Gabapentin Metabolized?

Unlike other drugs, Gabapentin does not break into metabolites in the liver. The fact that the drug is not subject to hepatic metabolism makes Gabapentin a different drug. That also means that Gabapentin can leave system fast.
After intake, the drug is absorbed by the small intestines and then, spreads into the bloodstream. Then, it’s processed by the kidneys and excreted unchanged (at 190 mL/min).

Gabapentin and Testing Information

As Gabapentin is not a controlled drug, tests rarely check for it. If it shows up, it will be as an anticonvulsant or sedative.
As mentioned above, Gabapentin can’t be detected by swab tests or hair tests are uncommon.

Blood tests can detect the drug in patients with renal failure, but this form of testing will be more expensive and time-consuming.
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Although testing for Gabapentin is uncommon, if one is tested for Gabapentin, most likely it will be via urinalysis. Remember that drinking a lot of water and eating acid-forming products can lead to quick elimination.
Some users are concerned that gabapentin could trigger a false positive urine test. Of course, that’s if Gabapentin is mixed with other drugs.
Always use gabapentin as prescribed by a health professional.

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  1. Dennis Swearingen, Gerald M. Aronoff, Sabrina Ciric, Ritu Lal. Pharmacokinetics of immediate release, extended release, and gastric retentive gabapentin formulations in healthy adults. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2018 May; 56(5): 231–238.
Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Olivier George

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.


Leave a comment

  • Christine
    I have weekly urine test an it shows up an i failed my test an I drank plenty of water for the whole week before an frequently urinated.
  • Concerned Friend
    hypothetically if someone took a large dose of neurontin say around 12,000 mg in a 6-9 hour time span, on a Saturday and received a call about a job interview the following Monday, would it be out of their system in time? Asking for a friend, Thanks
  • Jessica
    I take abstention and tegrotol.. I have to take regular urine test they told me I failed for the drug known as sublicense.. I’ve been clean over a year and a half.. Could one of these prescriptions I’m taking have made a false positive on my drug test?
  • Jessica
    Gabapentin I meant.
  • Glenn Huff
    I am 81 yrs. old taking 600mg 3 times a day. Morphine 30 er 1 in AM and 1 in PM Plus15 mg 3 times a day I have nerophy in my feet . want to get off gabapentin. HOW?
  • Missy
    This is exactly what I was looking for, thanks!
  • Carolyn knox
    Been taking gabapentin since oct. 2018. Weaning off since last thursday. I only was taking a total of 600 mg. A day. For internal shingles pain. I was having muscle and joint pain and abdominal pain. Some short term memory loss. I didnt take any last sun. Only took 400 mg mon. Tues and wed. None and only 100 mg around 2 oclock today. Withdrawals have been bearable but real.bad pain in Abdomen. Been achy tonite like flu like systems. Feel little bit light headed maybe little disorientated. Any suggestions
  • Melinda Gibson
    I have to take a urine drug screen in 4 days, do you think gabapentin will be out in 4 days??
  • patricia Lambert Virginyya
    Gabapentin made me start losing my hair. lost about half of it be fore i googled to see if it could do that . it does in some people , I weaned myself off of it but was rough , I had stomach pains , sleepless nights several night mares . ive been off it 2 weeks ,still losing hair but not as bad
  • Bobby
    Why is gabapentin so addictive
  • May
    I took one 800 mg gabapentin and 7 days later it still showed up in my urine!! And haven’t took that drug in over a year and only took one 800 mg pill. Im healthy 27 active female. And I drink alot of water.Really shocked me
  • Peggy
    Can gabapentin make you feel nervous peggy