Metabolism of Gabapentin: How Long Does It Stay In Blood, Urine and Hair
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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).
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.
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.
- 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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5914156/
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