How Does Neurontin Help in Anxiety Disorders?


Neurontin is the brand name of a non-habit forming drug called gabapentin.

Neurontin was originally developed several decades ago for the treatment of patients with epilepsy. It falls into the class of drugs referred to variously as anti-epileptics, anti-convulsants, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) analogues.


Neurontin has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the following indications:

  • Nerve pain as a result of herpes virus or shingles
  • Some types of epilepsy

However, Neurontin is used off-label by many physicians to treat a wide variety of conditions, among them generalized anxiety disorder. This knowledge has developed over time through the clinical experience of doctors and therapists who have published case studies that indicate the potential efficacy of Neurontin in anxiety disorders.

Neurontin vs. Anxiety

The emerging evidence suggests that Neurontin is effective in controlling generalized anxiety disorders in some patients diagnosed with this condition. The exact mechanism of action is not known—meaning nobody can say precisely how or why Neurontin relieves anxiety from the perspective of its active ingredients and the function of the brain. Not knowing or being certain of a mechanism of action for particular medications in medicine is far from uncommon.

Therefore, despite the mounting evidence, it remains unclear how Neurontin actually works against anxiety. A number of in vitro studies—meaning studies carried out in the laboratory and not on people—suggest that there is some sort of a gabapentin-binding site in certain areas of the brain—notably, the neocortical and hippocampal areas. While it isn't clear what the significance is of this potential binding site is or what its effects are, it is an on-going area of investigation of particular interest to clinicians and patients alike.

Keep in mind that Neurontin may help the patient control their anxiety disorder, but it cannot and will not provide a cure. That is not the medication's intent and one should not have that expectation. Neurontin addresses the relief of symptoms only.

If one believes that he or she is experiencing any sort of anxiety disorder, it is recommended that they seek out a health care professional both for a proper and accurate diagnosis, as well as possible treatment options. Many options are available and there is no reason to suffer from anxiety without getting help.

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