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Can Vigabatrin Be Intentionally Abused?

Vigabatrin is an anticonvulsant or anti-epileptic medication. Vigabatrin works by decreasing any abnormal electrical activity in a person’s brain. It is commonly used with other medications to treat certain seizures, like complex partial seizures, in adults and children aged ten and older. Vigabatrin also comes in powder form. The powder form is used to treat infantile spasms in a baby a few months old up to 2 years old. Infantile spasms are a type of seizure that children and babies can have.

Is Vigabatrin Effective in Treating Addiction?

Any medication that changes the way you feel is at risk of being abused.  However, unlike Gabapentin, Vigabatrin is not a medication you hear about that is commonly abused. Vigabatrin can also be used in detox to treat common withdrawal symptoms from stimulants. It works by increasing GABA levels in the brain. This is important because long-term cocaine or stimulant abuse can damage the brain’s natural reward system and cause anhedonia. In addition, vigabatrin helps reduce cravings for cocaine and other stimulants. Research has shown that using Vigabatrin with a combination of counseling and therapy is highly effective in treating addiction.

Vigabatrin and Associate Abuse Risks

Vigabatrin can also be used to treat other problems not listed above. For example, it has been used to treat stimulants and cocaine addiction. This medication reduces cravings for these drugs, making recovery easier. The National Institute of Health’s Journal of the American Chemical Society says: GABA-AT inhibition raises GABA levels, which antagonizes the rapid release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) that occurs as a neurochemical response to cocaine or other drugs of abuse…The anti-epilepsy drug vigabatrin, the only FDA-approved drug that acts as an inactivator of GABA-AT, has been successful in the treatment of addiction in animal models for cocaine, nicotine, methamphetamine, heroin, and alcohol. Vigabatrin was also effective in treating cocaine addiction in humans, with up to 28% of patients achieving abstinence in a 9-week double-blind trial. The therapeutic potential of vigabatrin as a treatment for addiction may be problematic because permanent retinal damage has been reported in 25–40% of patients after long-term administration. (NIH) Vigabatrin was approved for treatment in the United States in 2009. For cocaine and other stimulant addiction, individuals are given 500 mg twice a day.

Side-Effects of Vigabatrin

Some of the most common side-effects of Vigabatrin are vision changes; Vigabatrin can cause permanent vision loss. It’s important to monitor any changes in your vision and have routine eye exams while on the medication. Some of the other side-effects of Vigabatrin can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Trouble focusing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Unstable mood
  • Memory issues
  • Dizziness
  • Irritable mood
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Joint pain

The biggest risk associated with this medication is the risk of suicidal thoughts. If you are taking Vigabatrin and experience thoughts of suicide, call your doctor right away.

Recovery For Stimulant Addiction

If you are experiencing trouble with cocaine or stimulant addiction, Evoke Wellness at Cohasset can help! Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers evidence-based drug treatment programs to cater to each patient’s individual needs. We offer a personalized Florida addiction treatment experience for each of our clients. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset provides comprehensive, integrated care for men, women, and families. Our solution-focused addiction treatment will lead you on the road to long-lasting recovery. At Evoke Wellness at Cohasset, our team of compassionate and understanding addiction specialists is available 24/7 to assist you with your treatment needs. Choose recovery over substance abuse and contact Evoke Wellness treatment centers to discover the beauty of sobriety!