A simple online search reveals hundreds of sites offering to send buyers gabapentin without a prescription. If a website doesn’t require a prescription, it’s a clear sign they are operating illegally.
The risks of buying gabapentin from this type of operation are high. You may end up with a fake product that doesn’t work or one that causes considerable harm.
Because these illegal pharmacies are unregulated, their products are untested and unverified. An individual who has ordered gabapentin online may receive any substance, including counterfeit gabapentin or another drug disguised as it. It’s always a danger to take an unknown drug, as it may have interactions or side effects the user is unaware of.
These online “pharmacies” may also sell expired gabapentin or tablets that have been stored improperly. All these factors can affect the quality and safety of the drug and make dosing unpredictable.
If an individual suspects they have been sold counterfeit or substandard gabapentin from one of these illegal online pharmacies, there is not much they can do about it. Ordering prescribed drugs (particularly controlled substances, as gabapentin has been classified as in at least two states) is illegal. An individual who is unhappy with their purchase can’t complain to a consumer site or dispute the charges with their credit card company. Instead, they are stuck with the bill and fake gabapentin.
Some of these sites have been known to steal their customers’ personal information and use it or sell it.
There is also the risk of having a package of gabapentin seized or facing criminal prosecution after ordering gabapentin online. While gabapentin remained under the radar for years and was not even considered an addictive substance, awareness of the drug is now rising as it faces bad press through its association with opioid use and overdoses.
After the Senate investigation into online pharmacies — particularly those that sell drugs related to opioid use and overdoses — it’s clear that local and federal authorities are taking action to stop the sale and distribution of prescribed drugs through these unregulated sites.
Gabapentin (also known under the brand names Horizant, Gralise, and Neurontin)
is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat epilepsy, nerve damage, and other nerve pain conditions, like restless legs syndrome and nerve pain caused by herpes zoster (shingles).
It is also prescribed for off-label use for a number of conditions. One of its brand-name manufacturers, Pfizer, has promoted its off-label use for migraines and fibromyalgia, and others have discussed its use in treating anxiety.It is unknown exactly how gabapentin works. It is believed that it affects electrical activity in the brain and alters the activity of brain neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) to create a soothing and calming effect on nerves.
In recent years, gabapentin use has risen significantly. A 2012 report indicated a 150 percent increase in gabapentin prescriptions over a five years.
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, gabapentin has been considered safe and non-habit-forming for years by the medical community. However, new trends and research indicate that many individuals are now using and abusing this widely available drug recreationally or to increase the high of other drugs, particularly opioids.
Because of these rising trends in gabapentin use, the drug is facing new regulations and classification. As of February 2019, two states — Michigan and Kentucky — have classified gabapentin as a Schedule V controlled substance. Kentucky reclassified the drug after an interview with 33 residents who admitted to using it to get high. Kentucky authorities also report that gabapentin is present in approximately a third of drug overdose deaths in the state.
With new regulations and a new awareness of gabapentin abuse in the medical community, it’s not as easy as it once was to get a prescription for the drug, particularly for those with a history of drug abuse or those seeking to obtain gabapentin for off-label use. For these reasons, there is considerable demand for gabapentin on the street market.
In a 2017 study reported by Pharmacy Times, 70 out of 323 urine tests from pain clinic patients contained gabapentin that was not obtained by prescription.
Although gabapentin may be available from illicit online drug marketplaces on the dark web (hidden parts of the internet where users hide their identity via masking technology and the use of anonymous cryptocurrency as payment), most people looking to buy gabapentin online will be seeking to obtain it through online “pharmacies.”
These sites often advertise low prices, fast delivery, and hassle-free service. The vast majority don’t require prescriptions from customers and operate illegally. Many claim to be “Canadian pharmacies,” but they operate overseas, often from China. The government and federal law authorities are continually shutting down these illegal sites, especially after a Senate investigation into online pharmacies.
Fighting Addiction Yourself is Difficult.
Let Our Experts Help!
There are some testing kits available to detect the presence of methamphetamine or fentanyl (although fentanyl has many analogs that are hard to detect). None of the available at-home gabapentin home tests are very precise or guaranteed.
After gaining notoriety as a favorite drug among opioid users looking to enhance their high and showing up in tests alongside opioids after drug overdoses, there is an increased awareness in the medical community about the potential dangers of gabapentin. This has led to tighter regulations on the drug, which may increase the already-present demand for gabapentin on the street market.
Many individuals have sought out gabapentin on the web, particularly from online pharmacies that don’t require a prescription. These sites are illegal and unregulated, and the quality of the gabapentin they are distributing may be poor and even unsafe.
Don’t take the risk of buying gabapentin online.
(February 2019) Why Gabapentin is Now a Schedule 5 Controlled Substance in Two States. Kim Dolce. MultipleScerosis.net. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/gabapentin-schedule-5/
(May 2018) Neurontin Abuse on the Rise. Naveed Saleh, M.D. Verywell Health. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.verywellhealth.com/is-gabapentin-abuse-on-the-rise-4126770
(March 2017) Abuse and Misuse of Pregabalin and Gabapentin. Kirk E. Evoy. SpringerLink. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40265-017-0700-x
(April 2018) Gabapentin Is the Latest Pain Medication Showing Up in Opioid Overdoses. Giggen Mommoser. Healthline. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/gabapentin-latest-pain-medication-in-opioid-overdoses#1
(January 2017) Should the Schedule Change on Gabapentin? Shelby Leheny, Pharm D. Pharmacy Times. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.pharmacytimes.com/contributor/shelby-leheny-pharmd-candidate-2017/2017/01/should-the-schedule-change-on-gabapentin
(2018) Combatting the Opioid Crisis: Exploiting Vulnerabilities in International Mail. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. United States Senate. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.hsgac.senate.g20Exploiting%20Vulnerabilities%20in%20International%20Mail1.pdfov/imo/media/doc/Combatting%20the%20Opioid%20Crisis%20-%
(June 2018) Safety and Potential Problems with Online Pharmacies. Trisha Torrey. Verywell Health. Retrieved March 2109 from from https://www.verywellhealth.com/buying-prescriptions-online-pharmacy-safety-2614904