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Can You Take Gabapentin & Suboxone Together?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Feb 20, 2024 • 7 cited sources
can you take gabapentin and Suboxone together

Yes, you can take gabapentin and Suboxone together, but there are potential risks. You should only do so under direct medical supervision.

Medications can interact in unexpected ways, so they should never be mixed without explicit direction from a medical professional. Each medication can have a mechanism of action that can counteract or enhance the other.

If you are taking multiple medications, it can be more complicated to reverse an overdose or deal with the side effects of multiple drugs, meaning that complications and potential risks for each drug are compounded when they are mixed.

Always follow the explicit directions of your medical provider, and be careful when taking more than one drug at a time.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a nerve pain and anticonvulsant medication.[1] Gabapentin is often used for conditions like neuropathic pain and epileptic seizures.[1]

Gabapentin works directly on the body’s GABA system, which brain cells use to create or receive chemical messages.[5] When gabapentin is active, brain cells are inhibited, and seizure risks lower accordingly. Sometimes, that same action reduces pain too.

Gabapentin is a prescription medication that comes in the following forms:

  • Capsules: Medications in capsule form can’t be crushed (like tablets can). Capsules also dissolve quickly, so they act fast within the body.
  • Tablets: Medications in tablet form can be cut in half, which is ideal for someone who needs just a small amount of gabapentin each day.
  • Oral solution: Some people struggle to swallow capsules or tablets. A suspension is easy to swallow.
  • Extended-release formats: Some people need a constant stream of gabapentin to keep seizures at bay. Extended-release formats push a small amount of the medication into the body regularly.

No matter what form you take, it should be used exactly as prescribed by a medical professional.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone contains both the partial opioid agonist buprenorphine and the opioid antagonist naloxone.[2]

The two ingredients work together to provide relief and protection for people with opioid use disorder (OUD) as follows:

  • The buprenorphine component partially activates opioid receptors in the brain and depresses the central nervous system. In this way, it reduces cravings for other opioids.
  • The naloxone component deters potential misuse and is only activated if Suboxone is misused through injection.

Suboxone is taken as a sublingual tablet or film to be dissolved in the mouth.

When taken as prescribed, the medication won’t get people with OUD high. Instead, it blocks cravings and lowers relapse risks.

In people with pain, the medication can ease discomfort while lowering overdose risks.

potential dangers of mixing suboxone and gabapentin

Potential Dangers of Mixing Suboxone & Gabapentin

Gabapentin and Suboxone can be used together in appropriate situations. The benefits of combining these drugs should be carefully weighed against the risks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says people using gabapentin should use caution when mixing the drug with other drugs that have sedative properties.[6] Combinations can lead to severe central nervous system depression.

Suboxone is a sedating drug. People have experienced life-threatening episodes of respiratory depression while using drugs that contain buprenorphine, including Suboxone.[7]

The two drugs can interact in a potentially lethal way, interfering with breathing and leading to coma or death. In one study, researchers said co-prescription of opioids and gabapentin was associated with a significantly increased risk of opioid-related deaths, when compared to opioid prescriptions alone. In fact, gabapentin use was associated with a nearly 60% increase in the risk of opioid overdose death, compared to no gabapentin use.[3]

Under the direction of a medical provider, it is possible to take Suboxone and gabapentin together. Please let your doctor know if you are overly sedated when taking these medications together so he or she can adjust your dose appropriately.

Signs of a Gabapentin Overdose

It’s possible to take too much gabapentin and experience an overdose.

Experts say people taking up to 49 grams of gabapentin have experienced the following acute overdose symptoms:[6]

  • Double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

Severe cases of gabapentin overdose require blood transfusions and medications to protect the liver.[6] If you or anyone else has taken too much of your medication, get immediate help by calling 911.

signs of gabapentin induced opioid overdose

Signs of an Opioid Overdose

Opioid overdose is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States. Around three-quarters of the over 100,000 drug overdose deaths in the one-year period ending April 2021 involved an opioid drug.[4]

It is important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is experiencing the following symptoms of opioid overdose:[7]

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Sedation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow or absent breathing

It’s crucial for anyone using gabapentin and Suboxone together to be aware of opioid overdose signs. Combining these medications increases the risk of an opioid overdose.[7] If you feel slightly sedated while using both medications, talk to your doctor. Open communication is key.

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

  1. Gabapentin. U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). January 2022. Accessed November 2022.
  2. Suboxone. Indivior. Accessed November 2022.
  3. Gabapentin, Opioids, and the Risk of Opioid-Related Death: A Population-Based Nested Case-Control Study. PLOS ONE. October 2017. Accessed November  2022.
  4. Drug Overdose Deaths Top Over 100,000 Annually. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 2021. Accessed November 2022.
  5. Brain GABA and Glutamate Concentrations Following Chronic Gabapentin Administration: A Convenience Sample Studied During Early Abstinence From Alcohol. Frontiers in Psychiatry. March 2018. Accessed January 2024.
  6. Neurontin Prescribing Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. October 2017. Accessed January 2024.
  7. Suboxone Prescribing Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. March 2021. Accessed January 2024.

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