Does Gabapentin Show Up On A Drug Test?

Does Gabapentin Show Up On A Drug Test?


Gabapentin might not show up in standard panel drug tests but it may show up when it is specifically tested for the drug. Gabapentin is a antiepileptic mostly used in the treatment of epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, and pain. Although gabapentin is not as addictive as opioids, many individuals still abuse it. People addicted to opioids or other substances have higher chances of getting addicted to gabapentin. 

Gabapentin works by producing chemical structures similar to the brain chemicals that promote calmness and relaxation. Gabapentin can help with anxiety, nerve pain, and insomnia. It is popularly sold under the street name ‘Johnnies’ or ‘Gabbies’. 

Although gabapentin is meant to promote relaxation, abuse of the drug can cause mood swings, and drastic behavior changes in users. It can also increase people’s blood pressure, change their appetite, induce chest pain and cause fever. 

Table of Contents:

Does Gabapentin Pop Up on a Drug Test?

Yes. Yet, gabapentin is not a substance that is typically screened for in drug tests. Gabapentin is tested when there are specific instructions for the testing agency to look for the drug. The following are the typical methods of drug tests for gabapentin:

  • Blood test: Gabapentin can be detected 5 to 7 hours after consumption in a blood test.
  • Oral swab test: Gabapentin cannot be detected in oral swab tests. 
  • Hair follicle test: Hair follicle tests can detect gabapentin presence up to ninety days after being administered. Yet, hair tests are rare and not typically recommended.
  • Urinalysis: Gabapentin can be detected through urinalysis within three days. Urinalysis is a standard method for testing the presence of the drug in one’s body.
  • How Long Can Gabapentin Stay in Your System?

    Gabapentin may stay in your system for 48 to 72 hours after last intake. The half-life of gabapentin is five to seven hours. It may take between 5 to 7 hours to reduce half of the gabapentin metabolites from one’s body. 

    Extended-release gabapentin would allow the constant release of the drug, which extends the detectability. Extended-release of gabapentin increases the amount of time the drug remains in one’s body. Other factors that affect how long gabapentin stays in your system are as follows

    • The amount of gabapentin consumed.
    • Age and weight
    • Kidney condition
    • Other medications consumed with it

    Is Gabapentin a Narcotic or Controlled Substance?

    No. Gabapentin is not a narcotic substance. Gabapentin is becoming the latest craze among the drug users. Due to its potentially addictive nature and side effects, some states reclassify the drug as a controlled substance. West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, and Virginia classify gabapentin as a Schedule V controlled substance with a low potential for abuse.

    Does Gabapentin Cause Weight Gain?

    Gabapentin can cause a rare and undesirable side effect of weight gain. Studies show that a small percentage of people who are prescribed gabapentin experience weight gain, nearly five pounds after about six weeks of using the drug. 

    The increased weight may be a result of the patient’s increased appetite. Weight retention can also result from fluid retention, which is another side effect of gabapentin. 

    How to avoid weight gain while on gabapentin?

    • Choose a balanced and healthy diet.
    • Eat smaller portions of food.
    • Avoid snacking on high-calorie food items such as chips, desserts, sweets, and pastries.
    • Substitute fried snacks with fruits and vegetables to manage hunger.
    • Exercise regularly.

    Can You Overdose On Gabapentin?

    Yes. Overdose of gabapentin might lead to the following symptoms

    • Slurred speech
    • Double vision
    • Diarrhea
    • Drowsiness
    • Sluggishness. 

    How Long Does Gabapentin Take to Work?

    For immediate release of gabapentin, it will take just three hours for peak concentration to kick in. You might experience relief from sleeplessness as an immediate result. Yet, gabapentin can take up to two weeks to relieve nerve pain. It might take a few weeks to have a reduction in the frequency of seizures.

    Does Gabapentin Cause Hair Loss?

    There is some evidence that gabapentin causes hair loss, but there are no conclusive studies on the matter. Under the FDA labeling records from 2010, hair ‘disorder’ was mentioned as an infrequent side effect of gabapentin. As per a 2011 article published in the US National Library of Medicine, hair loss can be a sustained effort of treatment with gabapentin. Yet, hair disorder is a vague terminology that suggests nothing specific.


    Gabapentin might show up on your drug test when tested for the drug. Gabapentin is not classified as a narcotic substance but it is a potential abusive drug. It is safe for responsible consumption and should only be consumed with prescription, as it can become addictive with regular, unprescribed usage. 

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