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Gabapentin

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Overview

Gabapentin is an oral medication prescribed to patients who have epilepsy. The patients suffering nerve pain and other causes of seizures find relief by using Gabapentin.

It is a highly effective medication available under different brand names. Each of them solves other purposes:

  1. Neurontin: Treats seizures in children (above six years only) and adults along with neuropathic pain relief
  2. Gralise: Manages Neuropathic Pain
  3. Horizant: Treats nerve pain & restless leg syndrome

Brand Name: Neurontin, Horizant, and Gralise

Prescription Required: Yes

Drug Class: Anti-epileptic, Anticonvulsant

Availability: Tablets, Capsules, and Oral Solutions (Liquid)

What is the use of Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is prescribed to treat the symptoms of:

  • Epilepsy (Primary usage)
  • Diabetic Nerve Pain
  • Shingles
  • Migraine Headaches (Occasional usage)

How do Gabapentin works?

Gabapentin stops seizures by lowering down the abnormal electrical activity happening in the brain.

It works by interfering with the central nervous system for nerve pain and migraine. Gabapentin interacts with the neurotransmitters and accelerates the response of the immune system to calm down the brain. It blocks the pain by interfering with the chemical messengers of the brain. Thus, the patient feels relaxed.

Dosage Information

Gabapentin dosage might be prescribed differently depending on the patient’s conditions.

The most common dosage of Gabapentin is three times per day.

  • For tablets & capsules: Swallow it with a glass of water
  • For oral solution: Use a liquid solution of Gabapentin as guided by the doctor or follow the instructions on the leaflet

Gabapentin is used before or after having meals. Food consumption does not affect Gabapentin’s effectiveness.

Try not to miss or skip Gabapentin dosage. If you miss or skip any dosage, continue with the next scheduled dosage.

Don’t overdose Gabapentin. Increasing Gabapentin dosage thinking that it will improve health conditions faster might put your health at risk.

Please don’t drink alcohol while using Gabapentin as both of them cause dizziness.

Gabapentin is not for the use of pregnant or breastfeeding women. Tell your doctor if you are planning to conceive.

Note:

Gabapentin is not for every patient who has epilepsy. So, you must consult the doctor and then start using this medicine.

Doctors may prescribe lighter initial dosage first. If they don’t see any adverse effects, they may prescribe a higher dosage. The patient should not increase the dosage by themselves unless prescribed.

Side-effects of Gabapentin

The most common side-effects of Gabapentin include:

  • Tiredness
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness

Some patients may also witness moderate side-effects like:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Muscular Weakness
  • Numbness of limbs
  • Dry Mouth
  • Mood Swings
  • Constipation
  • Blurry Vision
  • Weight Gain
  • Memory Problems

Such mild side-effects disappear as the effectiveness of Gabapentin reduces in the body. However, they may appear every time you use this medicine. Ask your doctor and seek medical attention if such effects make you feel uncomfortable.

Interactions with other drugs

Gabapentin is prescribed with other drugs to treat epilepsy & other health conditions, as mentioned above.

Indigestion remedies like antacids lower the amount of Gabapentin taken by the body. Hence, Gabapentin might not work as expected. You may keep a gap of at least 2 hours between taking Gabapentin & antacids in such cases.

The following things should be discussed with your doctor before starting to use Gabapentin:

  • Tell your doctor if you’re using Morphine (or similar strong painkillers)
  • Share if you’re using Antidepressants like Fluoxetine or Amitriptyline
  • Mental health problem medicines (antipsychotics) like schizophrenia
  • Malaria treatment medicines
  • Weight-loss medicines like Orlistat

Note: Most herbal medicines and supplements have not shown any negative effects. However, you should always show concerns to share with your doctor or pharmacist that you use any vitamins, supplements, or herbal medicines.

Storage Instructions

  • Store Gabapentin at normal room temperature between 15 to 25 Degrees Celsius.
  • Keep Gabapentin out of reach of children.

FAQs

1) Is Gabapentin addictive?

Gabapentin may be found addictive among the patient who is using this medicine for years. If you stop taking Gabapentin suddenly, then serious withdrawal effects may appear. So, if you want to stop taking Gabapentin, seek medical guidance on discontinuing Gabapentin safely.

2) How does Gabapentin make me feel?

Though it may take a few weeks for Gabapentin to show effectiveness, it will soothe nerve pain & relieves the problem due to seizures.

3) For how long should I use Gabapentin?

It would help if you used Gabapentin for as long as your doctor wants you to. Please don’t stop taking Gabapentin or continue using it endlessly. Visit your doctor after frequent intervals and learn the improvements in your health conditions.

4) What happens if I don’t see side-effects disappearing?

If the side-effects of Gabapentin do not disappear as the effect of medicine diminishes in the body, you should see the doctor.

5) Can I use Gabapentin during pregnancy?

No. Gabapentin should not be used during pregnancy as it may cause excessive bleeding during delivery. Also, it should be avoided when you’re trying to conceive or breastfeed your child.

6) Does Gabapentin affect fertility?

No. Gabapentin has not shown any harmful effects on fertility in men or women. It would help if you asked the doctor regarding this.