The key difference between GABA and gabapentin is that GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps in the development and maturation of the mammalian central nervous system, whereas gabapentin is a medication that can mimic the effect of GABA.
GABA and gabapentin are chemically related, but there is a difference between them based on their structural make-up and applications.
What is GABA?
The term GABA is short for gamma-aminobutyric acid. It is a chief inhibitory neurotransmitter that is useful in the development and maturation of the mammalian central nervous system. The major role of this compound is to reduce neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.
As a neurotransmitter, GABA comes in two classes as GABA-A and GABA-B. In GABA-A, the receptor is part of a ligand-gated ion channel complex, whereas in GABA-B, metabotropic receptors open or close ion channels via intermediates.
Generally, neurons known as GABAergic neurons tend to produce GABA as the output of the neuron. These neurons have the main inhibitory action at the receptors in adult vertebrates. Among these neurons, the medium spiny cells are a typical example of GABAergic neurons that occur in the central nervous system.
We can mostly observe GABA occurring as a zwitterion having a carboxyl group that is deprotonated and an amino group that is protonated. The conformation of this substance depends on the surrounding. For example, in its gas phase, it has a highly folded conformation that is strongly favoured due to the electrostatic attraction between the two functional groups.
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication that is useful in treating partial seizures and neuropathic pain. The trade name of this compound is Neurontin. The route of administration for this medication is oral. This medication belongs to the drug class of gabapentinoid.
The bioavailability of gabapentin ranges from 27 to 60%, which can be inversely proportional to the dose of the medicine. The protein binding ability of this substance is less than 3%. When considering the metabolism of gabapentin, there is no significant metabolism for this substance, but the elimination half-life can be given as 5-7 hours. The excretion can occur through the renal route.
There can be some common side effects of gabapentin, including dizziness, somnolence, fatigue, and peripheral edema. However, it can also cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors. An overdose of gabapentin can be caused by excessive ingestion, accidental overdosing. The symptoms of overdosing include sedation, blurred vision, slurred speech, and drowsiness.
What is the Difference Between GABA and Gabapentin?
GABA and gabapentin are chemically close to each other, but they have differences between them. e.g. structural make-up of the chemical compounds, applications, etc. The key difference between GABA and gabapentin is that GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can regulate the neuronal excitability in the central nervous system, whereas gabapentin is a medication that can mimic the effect of GABA.
The below infographic presents the differences between GABA and gabapentin in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – GABA vs Gabapentin
The term GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid. Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication that is used in treating partial seizures and neuropathic pain. The key difference between GABA and gabapentin is that GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can regulate the neuronal excitability in the central nervous system, whereas gabapentin is a medication that can mimic the effect of GABA.
1. “Gabapentin: Medlineplus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
1. “Gamma-Aminobuttersäure – gamma-aminobutyric acid” By NEUROtiker – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Gabapentin2DACS” By Fuse809 (talk) – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia