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How Long Does Gabapentin Stay In Your System? Half-Life & More

Last Updated: April 8, 2024

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Gabapentin has become a prevalent off-label option for various medical conditions. The prevalence of Neurontin prescribing among the U.S. privately insured population has increased steadily in recent years, with estimates of off-label prescribing as high as 95%. Considering how widely used this medication is, it pays to know a little more about this medication, including how long the medication stays in your system.

How long Gabapentin stays in Your System?

Gabapentin is not generally tested in a typical drug test. The substance can be detected if instructions are made to look for the presence of the drug mainly. As the medicine remains in your urine, blood, saliva, and hair for a different amount of time. The detectability of the drug varies in different test types and according to other factors mentioned above.

How long does Gabapentin stay In Your Blood?

It stays till five to seven hours after use; hence the detectability of neurontin will range from five to seven hours. However, the drug takes up to two days to clean from the blood as the drug is not protein-bound.

How long does Gabapentin stay In Your Saliva?

It stays within a few hours or till a day. Saliva quickly detects a drug even within just minutes of usage. Although the route of administration of this medicine is oral, the salivas swab test cannot quickly assist in indicating Neurontin in the system.

How long does Gabapentin stay In Your Hair?

The amount of drug present in someone’s hair follicles can be traced through hair tests. However, it is unusual to use a hair test in determining Neurontin. The presence of most drugs can be detected up to 90 days of use in hair samples. The reason being, there is no way to tamper with the drug content in someone’s hair. However, usually, hair shows less practical results.

How long does Gabapentin stay In Your Urine?

Urine test is the most common method to test the presence of this drug because they are easy to administer and provide rapid results. Urinalysis can detect the drug for up to two to three days.
Moreover, According to a study approved by the Essex Institutional Review Board, a total of 57,542 urine specimens of chronic pain patients from 231 different pain clinics which were located in 19 states were examined over the period of November 2009, to May 2010. The Neurontin prevalence was 12.2% as it was identified in 7013 specimens.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System?

Gabapentin Half-Life

This medication can stay for up to two days after intake. Its half-life is between five and seven hours. In general, it will be completely out of the system within 48 hours, but, in some cases, a half-life of 132 hours has also been reported (after a dose of 400 mg).

Gabapentin Metabolism: How Is It Metabolized?

Gabapentin is eliminated from the systemic circulation by renal excretion as an unchanged medication. Neurontin is not appreciably metabolized in humans. Metabolites account for less than 1% of an administered dose.

The doctor prescribes medicine and holds it in her hands.

The remainder is excreted as unchanged parent drug in the urine. In elderly patients and/or patients with impaired renal function, Neurontin plasma clearance is reduced. Neurontin can be removed from the plasma by hemodialysis.

Factors That Influence Gabapentin Elimination

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

  • Drug Dosage and Use: Dose, poly-drug use, and history of abuse
  • Health status: medical condition, and overall health.
  • Individual Features (BMI): Age, Weight, height, and body fat
  • Patients Lifestyle:Food intake, hydration, and exercising

Patients in the following categories may have problems with taking the drug and their excretion time from the body also varies. The details for each category is as follows:

Elderly Patients

Aging changes the way the bodies metabolize medications, with older individuals experiencing longer elimination times than younger ones. Like in older (over 65) and thinner patients, Gabapentin lingers longer.

Pediatric Patients

Neurontin is used in the treatment of partial seizures in pediatric patients aged between 3 – 12 years. It is prescribed mainly because it helps children to feel less pain.
Normally, the half-life for pediatric patients is 4.7 hours. This approximation modifies due to numerous variables included but not restricted to kidney function.

Adult Patients with Reduced Kidney Function

For grown-ups with renal weakening, the half-life can differ excessively, from 6.5 hours to 52 hours, relying upon the kidney function. The half-life of the drug in individuals having kidney disease can be more than seven times longer than in individuals without it.

Anuric Adult Patients

In 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.

Essential Points to Remember Before Using Gabapentin

Understanding Neurontin half-life can help you understand how this medication can impact one’s body.

A stethoscope in the hand of a doctor in a white coat.

Gabapentin warnings to remember include:

  • It usually remains in one’s system till two days after consumption.
  • The most common drug detection way to check if Neurontin is still in your system is urinalysis.
  • Neurontin can affect people differently depending on some variables like health, age, weight, and genetics.
  • Even though the medication cannot be appreciably metabolized, It can be removed from plasma through hemodialysis.
  • Despite the fact that the drug is sold without a prescription, there is the possibility of od on gabapentin.

It is not a controlled drug, but this medication can still be abused. If you or a loved one needs help to weaning off gabapentin, addiction, or withdrawal symptoms, rehabilitation centers help as an excellent option to get this medical treatment.

Page Sources

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  2. Harvard Health Publishing, Drugs that relieve nerve pain, August 29, 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/drugs-that-relieve-nerve-pain
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  4. Pfizer, NEURONTIN (gabapentin), FULL PRESCRIBING INFORMATION, 2020 https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2020/020235s068,020882s049,021129s049lbl.pdf
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  8. Chelsea C. McDonnell, When GABA Goes From Fab One Day to Drab the Next: Safety of gabapentinoids in combination with opioids, 11 October 2019, https://sites.utexas.edu/pharmacotherapy-rounds/files/2019/10/McDonnell-ResRounds-Handout-without-pic-Oct-2019.pdf
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Published on: June 5th, 2017

Updated on: April 8th, 2024

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.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.

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