Drug trade name: Gabarone, Neurontin
Generic name: gabapentin
Introduction and Quick Information:
Gabapentin is approved to help control certain form of seizures in patients with epilepsy. Apart from this, it is also used to ease the pain of postherpetic neuralgia. Gabapentin belongs to a group of drug called anticonvulsants that treats seizures by reducing abnormal excitement in brain. It relieves the pain of PHN (postherpetic neuralgia) by changing the way the body feels pain. gabapentin can be used alone or in a combination with other drugs to treat seizures in both adults and children (above 12 years).
Is Gabapentin Approved by U.S. FDA?
United States food and drug administration (FDA) have approved gabapentin on December 30, 1993, for prevention of certain types of seizures and for treating and controlling PHN (post-herpetic neuralgia).
Usage and Benefits of Gabapentin:
Gabapentin is a prescription medicine approved to treat following health condition such as-
- Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)
Gabapentin is generally prescribed to treat both of these health conditions. Apart from this, it is widely recommended to treat certain types of seizures in patients with epilepsy. There are around 30 different forms of seizures but this medicine has its limitations. It cannot control or cure all of them. These seizures have been divided into two main categories; generalized seizures and partial seizures. According to a medical report, around 60% of folks with epilepsy have partial seizures.
In this condition, gabapentin is prescribed to be used along with other seizure medication to cure partial seizures. But note that this medication is not approved to be used alone to treat seizure condition.
Gabapentin is commonly prescribed to relieve pain of postherpetic neuralgia. FDA particularly approved this medicine to treat or prevent pain associated with PHN.
Gabapentin is approved to treat children with partial seizures. However, you should ask your doctor about this risk and side effects associated with this medicine before using this medicine in children.
There are many non-approved or off-label uses of this medicine such as alcohol withdrawal, migraine headaches, bipolar disorder, hot flashes associated with menopause, social anxiety disorder, spasticity etc.
Please note that this gabapentin off-label uses are not approved by FDA.
Gabapentin Side Effects:
Side effects are major concerns associated with medicines and treatments. Gabapentin also has some adverse reactions that can be prevented. If you follow every instruction and guideline given by your doctor you can be on the safer side. Here are some medically known adverse reactions of gabapentin such as-
- swelling of your ankles or feet
- fever, chills, body aches
- flu symptoms
- increased seizures
- rapid back and forth movement of your eyes
- easy bruising
- confusion, tremor
- memory problems
- changes in behavior
- acting restless, hostile, or aggressive
- trouble concentrating
- weakness, tired feeling
- lack of coordination
- dizziness, drowsiness
- stomach pain
- blurred vision
- Dry mouth.
- diarrhea, constipation
- runny or stuffy nose, sore throat
- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
- sleep problems (insomnia), unusual dreams
- dry mouth
- acne, mild skin rash
This is not a complete list of side effects. You may ask your doctor about further adverse reaction of this drug. Note that you may avoid the harmful reactions of this medicine if you follow given guideline by a healthcare provider. Seek medical assistance if you think you are noticing gabapentin side effects.
General Recommend Dosages of Gabapentin:
This is a prescription medication and only prescribed by doctors and physicians. Dosages generally vary from patient to patient and amount of drug given also depends on severity of patient’s condition. Gabapentin dosages generally depend on a number of factors including-
- patient’s age and weight
- the health condition being treated
- uses of other medications
- other health issues
This medicine comes with a medication guide that you should follow for practicising safe ingestion. Here are some points that you should know before taking this medicine such as-
- This medicine comes in tablet and capsule form that is taken orally.
- For patients who have difficulty in swallowing capsule or tablet, gabapentin is available in a liquid form known as gabapentin solution.
- This medication can be taken with or without food but if you have upset stomach then it is advisable to take this medicine along with food.
- Try to take this medicine on time and tell your doctor if you missed or have taken overdose of this medicine.
- If you have any doubt over the medicine uses then talk to your doctor to clarify all your doubts.
Do not start taking any other medicines while taking gabapentin. Tell your doctor if you experience any unusual changes in your health while taking this medicine.
In Case I Miss The Dose?
The consequences of missing the dose cannot be figured out. However, if it happens then you must inform your doctor without any delay. In case of missed dose, you may need to reschedule your dosing. Do not take missed dose without telling your doctor. Do not try to take double the dose to make up for the missed one as it could lead to overdose adverse reactions.
In Case I Take Overdose?
Overdose of this medication can have fatal effects on body. Dosages are often prescribed after checking patient’s health and other conditions. Hence in most of the cases, body is not able to tolerate overdose effects and produces overdose adverse reactions.
Gabapentin overdose symptoms may include drowsiness, slurred speech, blurred vision, weakness, diarrhea and more.
Seek medical assistance if you think you have taken overdose of this medication to avoid the negative reaction of this drug.
Drug Interactions of Gabapentin:
Gabapentin can potentially interact with other drugs or medications. Interactions of other drugs with gabapentin can produce some adverse reactions or may worsen your condition. Here are some drugs that can potentially interact with gabapentin such as-
- Antacids containing magnesium or aluminum
There could be some other drugs that can interact with gabapentin and which have not been listed in the medication guide. You may ask your healthcare provider about possible drug interactions.
Lifestyle and Food Habits You Must Follow When on Gabapentin:
Lifestyle and food habits have great influence when you are taking medicine to treat health issues. A healthy diet along with active lifestyle can reduce the recovery time and improve your health condition. It is always suggested to follow a healthy diet and an active lifestyle while taking medicines. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these health conditions such as-
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Heart problems
You should not take this medicine if suspect an allergic reaction to Gabapentin. This can worsen your condition. Do not miss any appointment with your doctor.
How Safe is Gabapentin for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?
It is categorized in US FDA pregnancy category C. Potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks. Gabapentin can pass into breast milk which can be harmful to both nursing baby and breastfeeding mothers. Although there is no known medical evidence that could prove that this medicine has harmful effects on pregnant women, yet you should inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while taking this medicine.
Complications and Conditions Possible due to Prolonged use of Gabapentin:
Prolonged use of medicines is considered harmful to a person’s health. You should not take Gabapentin longer than recommended unless your doctor allows you or wants you to take it. There are some health complications that potentially can occur due to prolonged use. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risk and health conditions that may occur due to prolonged use of this medicine.
Availability of Gabapentin:
Gabapentin is a prescription medicine and should be consumed only when prescribed by the doctor. You can easily get this medicine form government and FDA approved drug stores. These days, things have become easy as there are plenty of medicine manufacturing companies which offer this medicine on their online drugs stores.