Written by Dr. Inez Van Roy on
March 11, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Inez Van Roy on:

Do you feel like you can’t think straight when you’re taking gabapentin? Do you experience brain fog? If so, you’re not alone.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the possible causes of gabapentin brain fog, as well as some potential remedies you can try and prevention steps you can take.

We’ll also discuss a few gabapentin side effects and how to prevent them from occurring. So, if you’re looking for information on gabapentin and brain fog, read on!

What exactly is brain fog?

Brain fog or mental fog is a term used to describe feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, mental fatigue, or sluggish brain function. 

It can make it difficult for you to focus, think clearly, or get your brain involved in tasks. Brain fog can also affect memory, especially short-term working memory.

You may feel like you’re in a haze and find it hard to make decisions or remember things. For some people, brain fog is a temporary problem.

But for others, it can be a chronic issue and can be a serious detriment to their brain health. If you have chronic brain fog, it can interfere with your work, social life, and everyday activities.

There are many possible causes of brain fog. These include:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Allergies
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lyme disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Thyroid problems
  • Weight gain, especially obesity
  • Medication side effects

What is gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a medication that’s used to treat seizures, nerve pain, and restless legs syndrome.

And it is also frequently used as an analgesic in patients with chronic kidney disease. It’s also been prescribed off-label to help relieve chronic pain.

Gabapentin belongs to a class of prescription drugs called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing the number of electrical signals sent between brain cells. 

Gabapentin is available as a generic drug and as the brand-name prescription drugs Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant, and Fanatrex. 

Can gabapentin cause brain fog?

Gabapentin is a medication that can cause side effects.

Brain fog is not a common side effect of gabapentin, but it has been reported in some people taking the drug.

The possible cause of gabapentin fog may be related to how the drug works.

Gabapentin decreases electrical signals in the brain. This may lead to feelings of confusion or mental fatigue.

If you’re experiencing gabapentin fog, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to a different medication.

Does gabapentin cause memory loss?

Some people taking gabapentin, mostly those with chronic kidney disease, have reported problems with short-term memory loss. However, it’s not clear if gabapentin is actually responsible for these brain function issues.

One study found that gabapentin alone did not affect memory or cause memory impairment or memory loss. Nevertheless, more research is needed to determine if gabapentin causes memory loss.

If you’re experiencing problems with your memory, it’s essential to talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if gabapentin is the cause and make any necessary changes to your treatment plan.

Common Symptoms of Gabapentin Brain Fog

There are a few common symptoms of gabapentin mental fog. These include:

  • Feeling confused or mentally fatigued
  • Having difficulty focusing or thinking clearly
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Feeling like you’re in a haze 
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Experiencing anxiety or depression 
  • Headaches 

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if gabapentin is the primary cause of your brain fog and make any necessary changes to your treatment plan. 

How to prevent gabapentin fog from occurring?

There are a few things you can do to help prevent gabapentin mental fog from occurring in the first place. These include effective remedies like:

Make sure you get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation is a common cause of brain fog and other cognitive function issues, especially chronic kidney disease.

If you’re taking gabapentin, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

You should aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about ways to improve your sleep habits.

Staying hydrated

Dehydration can also lead to brain fog and worsen chronic kidney disease. Make sure you’re drinking enough fluids each day, preferably water, especially if you’re taking gabapentin.

Exercising regularly

Regular exercise is another way to help prevent brain fog from occurring, prevent nerve pain or chronic pain, and improve your cognitive health.

Also, regular exercise helps improve blood flow to the brain and reduces stress levels. 

If you’re not sure how to start exercising, talk to a physical therapist or a personal trainer. They can help you create an exercise plan that’s right for you.

Managing your stress levels 

High-stress levels can also lead to brain fog. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try some relaxation techniques, such as yoga, deep breathing exercise, meditation, or getting a relaxing full-body massage.

Eating a healthy diet

A healthy diet is important for overall health and well-being. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help lessen complications from chronic kidney disease, and improve your focus and concentration.

If you’re not sure how to eat a healthy diet, talk to a registered dietitian. They can help you create a meal plan that’s right for you.

Taking breaks throughout your day

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or tired, take a break. Go for a walk, listen to music, or read a book. Taking breaks can help clear your mind, improve your focus, and enhance your overall cognitive health. 

Getting some green time

Spending time outside in nature has been shown to improve mental clarity and reduce stress levels. If you can, try to spend some time each day outdoors, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

You can try sitting outside to get some sunlight or taking a walk in the park.

Exercising your brain 

Just as you exercise your body, you can also exercise your brain. Challenging yourself and getting your brain involved in new tasks or puzzles can help improve focus and concentration.

If you’re not sure how to start exercising your brain, talk to a neurologist or neuropsychologist. They can recommend some activities that are right for you.

Considering brain supplements

There are a number of supplements that have been shown to help improve focus and concentration. These include omega-three fatty acids, vitamin B12, Ginkgo Biloba, and green tea extract.

If you’re considering taking any supplements, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. They can let you know if they’re safe for you to take and if they’re likely to be effective.

Reducing your exposure to toxins

There are a number of everyday products that contain harmful toxins that can lead to brain fog. These include cleaning products, personal care products, and processed foods.

To reduce your exposure to toxins, try to use natural cleaning products and personal care products. And, try to eat more whole foods and less processed foods.

Limiting your alcohol intake

Drinking too much alcohol can also lead to brain fog. If you drink alcohol, it’s important to do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.

Quit smoking cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes is not only bad for your health, it’s also bad for your brain. Cigarette smoke contains a number of harmful toxins that can damage the brain and lead to cognitive decline.

If you’re looking to improve your focus and concentration, try to quit smoking cigarettes. It won’t be easy, but it’s worth it for your health and your brain.

If you’re taking gabapentin, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and take the medication as prescribed.

You should also talk to your doctor about any potential side effects you may experience. They can help you determine if gabapentin is the right medication for you and make any necessary adjustments to your dosage.

Other Common Side Effects of Gabapentin

In addition to brain fog, gabapentin can also cause a number of other side effects. These include:

Feeling sleepy, tired, or dizzy

Gabapentin can cause sleepiness because it lowers your blood pressure. If you feel sleepy, tired, or dizzy while taking gabapentin, talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dosage or recommend a different medication.

Nausea and vomiting

Some people react badly to gabapentin, causing nausea and vomiting. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor. They may be able to change the amount of gabapentin you take or suggest an alternative treatment.

Dry mouth

Gabapentin can cause dry mouth because it decreases saliva production. If you experience dry mouth, try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candy. You can also drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Constipation

Gabapentin can also cause constipation. If you have problems with regularity, talk to your doctor about ways to improve your bowel movements. 

Rashes

Some people who take gabapentin develop a rash. If you experience a rash, stop taking gabapentin and see your doctor. They may recommend an alternative medication.

Lowered libido and erectile dysfunction

Gabapentin has also been linked to a decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction. If you experience either of these issues, talk to your doctor. They might be able to change the amount of gabapentin you take or suggest other treatment options.

Other possible side effects of gabapentin include headache, anxiety, confusion, and mood swings.

If you experience any of these side effects while taking gabapentin, especially adverse ones that may be a result of gabapentin toxicity, talk to your doctor.

They can help you determine if the medication is right for you and make any necessary adjustments, especially if you’ve been previously prescribed with higher doses.

The Bottom Line

Gabapentin is a medication that’s commonly used to treat seizures, nerve pain, chronic kidney disease, and chronic pain. It can be effective, but it also has a number of potential side effects.

If you experience gabapentin fog, talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dosage or suggest an alternative treatment option.

And, be sure to follow their instructions and take gabapentin as prescribed. It’s important to do so, in order to minimize the risk of side effects.

Also, there are a number of different things you can do to help reduce the risk of gabapentin fog—laid out as remedy options and prevention tips in this article.

If you want to learn more about brain fog and how to clear brain fog instantly, check out these educational blog posts, and feel free to join this online community of brain health enthusiasts.

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