Vigabatrin (Sabril)

Medications are sometimes used in the field of addiction treatment. In some cases, you might receive a prescription for these drugs to replace prescription opioid pain relief drugs or heroin with opioid antagonist and agonist medications. A good example is Vigabatrin (Sabril).

When you receive a prescription for an addiction treatment medication, it could prove useful in alleviating the symptoms of withdrawal. As a result, these medications could make your detox process much easier, as well as improve your outcomes from treatment. These drugs could also improve your resistance to relapse as well as increase your likelihood of remaining in the treatment program.

If you are addicted to cocaine and check into a rehabilitation center, you might get a prescription for Vigabatrin (Sabril). This drug is effective at controlling cocaine cravings. It can also make it more feasible to recover from your cocaine addiction.

Understanding Vigabatrin (Sabril)

Vigabatrin (also known as Sabril) is an anticonvulsant medication that is primarily used in the treatment of seizure disorders like epilepsy. The drug was first synthesized in 1974 for the treatment for epilepsy. However, it was first approved for use in treatment settings in the United States in 2009. Today, the drug is produced, owned, and marketed by Lundbeck, INC.

Vigabatrin (Sabril) Uses

If you are enrolled in a drug rehab program for a stimulant use disorder, you might get a prescription for Vigabatrin (Sabril). Typically, you will be given a dose of 500 mg of the drug that you need to take twice every day. The oral dose of Vigabatrin comes with a half-life of between 5 and 8 hours for young adults and 12 to 13 hours among the elderly.

The drug is useful in the management of addictions involving stimulants such as cocaine. When you receive this prescription, it could help you overcome your cocaine cravings, which could potentially prove useful in keeping you in the treatment program for longer.

Vigabatrin (Sabril) Side Effects

Like any other medication, Vigabatrin comes with some side effects. These side effects include but are not always limited to:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Blurred vision
  • Breathing problems
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Ear infections
  • Feeling tired
  • Fussiness
  • Irritable mood
  • Issues with coordination
  • Issues with thinking
  • Joint pain
  • Memory issues
  • Mood instability
  • Nausea
  • Other eye problems
  • Problems focusing
  • Problems with memory
  • Problems with walking
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Symptoms of a cold, including sore throat, stuffy nose, and sneezing
  • Tremors
  • Vision changes
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain

Although all these side effects are possible while you are on Vigabatrin (Sabril), vision changes tend to occur more frequently among patients. When this happens, you might experience some permanent changes in your visual ability and structure.

Even so, the Archives of Ophthalmology reports that there are no negative results from the potential for visual impairment if you are being treated with this drug for a stimulant addiction involving substances like cocaine.

However, this list of side effects is not incomplete and there is always a risk that you could develop other adverse effects while you are on Vigabatrin (Sabril). It is recommended that you inform your doctor about all these effects.

How Vigabatrin Works

Since Vigabatrin (Sabril) is primarily used in the treatment of seizure conditions like epilepsy, you might wonder why and how it works in the treatment of addiction. That said, you should know that the medication is not used for any addiction. Instead, it can prove useful in the treatment of the symptoms that you could develop while withdrawing from stimulant drugs.

Vigabatrin works by effectively boosting the levels of GABA neurotransmitters inside the brain. This neurotransmitter is useful in the treatment of cocaine addiction. This is because your addiction would have damage your brain's natural reward system.

Ongoing cocaine abuse could also cause a malfunction in the dopamine receptors. This would effectively cause you to develop anhedonia, meaning that you would not be able to naturally feel pleasure.

When you use this medication, you will become more relaxed even as you go through cocaine withdrawal. It could also prove useful in dissipating any anxiety that you might develop as part of your stimulant withdrawal.

Vigabatrin (Sabril) also works to reduce the cocaine cravings that you are highly likely to experience once you give up this stimulant. This is an useful mode of action because cravings could deter you from achieving a state of full recovery and sobriety.

The drug could also help you go through the medical detoxification process that you have to undertake before receiving further treatment and rehabilitation services for your cocaine addiction.

Precautions with Vigabatrin (Sabril)

You should always take some precautions while you are on this medication. This means that you need to inform your doctor in case you develop any of the following adverse symptoms of Vigabatrin use:

  • Any vision changes, irrespective of how mild they might be
  • Feeding problems
  • Fussiness
  • Involuntary or unusual eye movements
  • Low red blood cells (or anemia), which is often accompanied by pale skin, shortness of breath, unusual tiredness, cold feet and hands, and lightheadedness
  • Numbness
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Signs of any infections in your ear, including trouble hearing, fussiness, ear drainage, fever, ear pain
  • Tingling or burning sensations in your feet or hands
  • Weight gain that could or could not be accompanied by swelling
  • Worsening or increasing seizures

As we mentioned above, you should also note that this drug can cause you to develop permanent loss of vision even after you have stopped taking it. This is why it is advised that you inform your doctor in case you experience any changes in vision while on it. You should also go for frequent eye examinations while you have a prescription for Vigabatrin (Sabril).

You should also inform your doctors and addiction treatment professionals about any of the following health issues that you might have had in the past if they put you on Vigabatrin (Sabril):

  • Anemia (or low red blood cells)
  • Any mood disorders
  • Depression
  • Kidney disease
  • Mental illness
  • Suicidal ideation or actions
  • Vision problems

Getting Help

Although Vigabatrin (Sabril) comes with many side effects - some of which could turn out to be severe or even permanent - it is still effective in the treatment of a cocaine addiction. As long as you take the medication exactly as advised and under the careful and constant observation of your addiction treatment team, it should prove useful in helping you overcome your cocaine abuse and addiction.


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