Drug Interactions, Kratom Guides

Everything You Need to Know About Mixing Kratom & Gabapentin

Does Kratom Interact With Gabapentin?

Yes, kratom may increase the sedative side effects of gabapentin if used in combination and could lead to a higher risk of other, more serious side effects.

Speak to your doctor about kratom before you try it if you’ve been prescribed gabapentin.

Gabapentin is a fairly recent addition in medicines, and researchers are still learning much about its effects and mechanisms of action.

Although people have used kratom for centuries in Southeast Asia, it has only recently become popular in the west. To make things worse, it’s an unregulated substance, which means large-scale controlled studies are lacking.

That said, it does not appear that kratom and gabapentin interact in a way that causes imminent risk. It could still be dangerous, however, so only use the two with a doctor’s guidance.

Both compounds affect the body in completely distinct ways but can produce parallel effects since both provide analgesic pain relief.

Gabapentin Specs:

Drug NameGabapentin
Trade NameNeurontin, Gralise, Gabarone, Horizant
Other Names (other generics)N/A  
ClassificationAnticonvulsant
CYP MetabolismGabapentin is eliminated by renal excretion and is not meaningfully metabolized in humans
Interaction With KratomMixed
Risk of InteractionLow to moderate

Is It Safe to Take Kratom With Gabapentin?

Both kratom and gabapentin can be addictive and carry the potential for misuse [1].

Furthermore, increased rates of gabapentin misuse and its involvement in opioid overdoses force the medical community to recognize that it is not as safe as previously thought [2].

Kratom binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system, activating opioid receptors similarly to opiates.

Although kratom is much safer than opioids, the fact that it still carries risk along with its inherent similarities to opioids should give pause to anyone thinking of mixing kratom and gabapentin.

If you’re intent on trying this combination, consult your doctor before doing so.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin falls under the class of anticonvulsant medications.

Gabapentin is a prescription medication that works on the brain to treat seizures and neuropathic pain caused by various conditions.

It is a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog, which means it has a very similar structure to GABA. GABA affects the brain’s neurons by decreasing their activity, decreasing the possibility of seizures, and dampening pain signals sent by the brain.

Essentially, gabapentin works by decreasing excessive excitability in the brain.

Gabapentin has been available in the US as a generic medication since 2004. In 2018, it was the 11th most prescribed medication in the country.

What Is Gabapentin Used for?

Gabapentin primarily treats focal seizures, neuropathic pain, and other neurological conditions.

There are several types of seizures. Gabapentin effectively treats focal impaired awareness or complex partial seizures but isn’t effective in treating primary generalized seizures such as absence, myoclonic, or primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures [3].

Gabapentin can also treat neuropathic pain, although success varies greatly depending on the specific condition.

It’s used for the following ailments:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)
  • Shingles
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Central pain syndrome

However, gabapentin is only moderately effective in this type of treatment. Around 30-40% of patients experience meaningful relief [4].

Other studies have found gabapentin may be effective as a sedative for treating primary insomnia [5].

What’s the Dose of Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication, which means you should have a doctor’s instructions on how to take it. Dose and method of consumption vary.

General instructions say to ingest capsules, tablets, and oral solutions three times a day with a glass of water. Evenly space the doses throughout the day. Only take gabapentin as prescribed by your doctor.

Generic & Brand Name Versions

Gabapentin is available under the following brand names:

  • Neurontin
  • Gralise
  • Gabarone
  • Fanatrex

What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin?

It’s always important to watch for side effects whenever you’re on medication.

Common side effects of gabapentin include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Tremors
  • Loss of coordination
  • Swelling of legs and feet
  • Double vision
  • Fever

Gabapentin can also provoke depression and suicidal thoughts, and severe, life-threatening allergic reactions. However, the research is unclear. Additionally, the cessation of gabapentin can cause withdrawal symptoms [6].

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is a psychoactive plant that has been harvested in Southeast Asia for many centuries by the indigenous peoples.

It contains potent plant-based alkaloids that cause its effects. These compounds act on the body’s central nervous system, either stimulating or depressing it.

Kratom’s effects vary depending on the dosage.

Low doses produce powerful stimulating and nootropic effects — excellent for a morning boost or to stimulate euphoria. Alternatively, high doses promote analgesic pain relief and anxiolytic, sedating effects.

Kratom can be consumed in a variety of ways.

You can make tea, take it in a capsule, or even chew the raw leaves like those native to Southeast Asia do.

What is Kratom Used for?

The kratom community is teeming with stories of kratom’s effectiveness at dealing with different ailments.

Because it’s less risky than opioids, kratom is most popular as an herbal pain management option. For long-term use, it’s even safer than over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can cause liver damage [7].

Kratom is a nootropic that also provides anxiety relief and effectively deals with the symptoms of opioid withdrawals.

At low doses, it provides numerous mental benefits like a boost in energy levels, increased focus, and mood support.

What’s the Dose of Kratom?

It is never a good idea to employ a formulaic approach to dosage recommendations.

Proper dosage is always affected by several complicating factors such as body mass, method of consumption, and treatment goals.

If you’re starting to experiment with kratom, the smart thing to do is go slow and listen to your body.

For a starting point, kratom dosage recommendations are usually the following:

  • Low dose: 1-5 g
  • Medium dose: 5-10 g
  • High dose: 10-15 g

The effects of kratom vary depending on the dosage.

A low dose is best to promote the stimulant and nootropic properties of the kratom plant. Medium to high doses are preferable when attempting to stimulate analgesic and anxiolytic benefits.

What Are the Side Effects of Kratom?

Kratom still comes with side effects. To keep these minimal, use as little as you can and take breaks from kratom.

Kratom may cause the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Brain fog
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety

At high doses for a prolonged period, kratom can be addictive. Exercise responsibility and caution when using kratom.

What Are the Different Types of Kratom?

The differing methods of harvest and processing used by traditional farmers in Southeast Asia and the distinct locations in which kratom grows give rise to many different kratom strains.

These strains all share the same basic properties, but each one emphasizes a certain benefit more prominently.

The name of the strains is given based on the color of the kratom leaf’s veins. However, once crushed and ground, the strains have no appreciable visual difference.

1. White Vein Kratom

White vein kratom is known to accentuate the nootropic and stimulating effects of the kratom plant.

Accordingly, the white-veined strains are more popular with those looking for a mid-morning boost or a mood enhancer. It is quite popular with all who have active lifestyles.

If you are looking for a herbal supplement to boost focus, stimulate euphoria or improve your focus, go with white veins.

2. Red Vein Kratom

Red-veined kratom strains are best suited for the management of chronic pain, provide effective anxiety relief, and promote general feelings of calm and sedation.

Red-veined strains are a great option for those who want to feel these benefits but do not want to take high doses regularly.

3. Green Vein Kratom

Green vein kratom is the middle point between white and red kratom strains. They carry a well-balanced profile that contains both the benefits of white and red.

However, this does come at a price. Green-veined strains sacrifice the targeted kratom experience that the others can provide. If you’re just starting with kratom, this is most likely the best choice for you.

4. Yellow Vein Kratom

Yellow vein kratom is thought to be a mixture of white and red kratom. In this way, it closely resembles the green strains.

Yellow vein users report this strain as being somewhat milder than other strains, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those who experience a strong reaction to kratom.

Key Takeaways: Is It Safe to Mix Kratom & Gabapentin?

When taken with precaution and responsibility, kratom and gabapentin are relatively safe compounds.

However, both have the potential for adverse effects, addiction, and fatal overdose. These risks only become more pronounced when these compounds are mixed.

Kratom and gabapentin do not react dangerously within the body, but due to the increasing presence of gabapentin in opioid overdoses, one should exercise extreme caution when mixing these compounds.

If you attempt to do this, make sure you take the gabapentin as instructed by your doctor and keep the kratom dose to a minimum.

In any case, you should consult your doctor before using them together.

References

  1. Smith, R. V., Havens, J. R., & Walsh, S. L. (2016). Gabapentin misuse, abuse and diversion: a systematic review. Addiction, 111(7), 1160-1174.
  2. Peckham, A. M., Evoy, K. E., Ochs, L., & Covvey, J. R. (2018). Gabapentin for off-label use: Evidence-based or cause for concern?. Substance abuse: research and treatment, 12, 1178221818801311.
  3. Rheims, S., & Ryvlin, P. (2014). Pharmacotherapy for tonic–clonic seizures. Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy, 15(10), 1417-1426.
  4. Wiffen, P. J., Derry, S., Bell, R. F., Rice, A. S., Tölle, T. R., Phillips, T., & Moore, R. A. (2017). Gabapentin for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (6).
  5. Lo, H. S., Yang, C. M., Lo, H. G., Lee, C. Y., Ting, H., & Tzang, B. S. (2010). Treatment effects of gabapentin for primary insomnia. Clinical neuropharmacology, 33(2), 84-90.
  6. Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar disorders, 7(3), 302-304.
  7. Chun, L. J., Tong, M. J., Busuttil, R. W., & Hiatt, J. R. (2009). Acetaminophen hepatotoxicity and acute liver failure. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 43(4), 342-349.