Gabapentin belongs to the group of medications called anticonvulsants or antiepileptic medications. It is used to treat epilepsy and nerve pain.
Uses of Gabapentin
- Gabapentin is the first line of treatment for neurogenic pain (e.g. the nerve pain that comes up after having herpes which can last for months)
- It is also used in seizures, nerve disorder associated with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy), migraine and anxiety disorders
Contraindications of Gabapentin
When should one not use Gabapentin
If you are allergic to Gabapentin.
Side effects of Gabapentin
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Viral infection
- Fever, tiredness
- Confusion, mood changes
- Blurred vision, double vision
- Respiratory infections, urinary tract infection
- Increased appetite
- High blood pressure, flushing or dilation of blood vessels
- Difficulty breathing, sore throat, cough, dry nose
- Vomiting, nausea, inflammation of gums, diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation
- Facial swelling, bruises, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, back pain, twitching
- Difficulties with erection (impotence)
- Swelling in the legs and arms, difficulty while walking
Precautions and Warnings of Gabapentin
Can I take Gabapentin during pregnancy?
Gabapentin capsules should not be taken during pregnancy unless advised by your physician. Use contraception if you are a woman of child-bearing potential. Medicines for epilepsy should not be discontinued abruptly as there is a risk of fits which can be harmful to the baby. Discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant.
Can I take Gabapentin while breastfeeding?
Gabapentin passes into breast milk. Since the effect on the baby is unknown, it is not recommended to breastfeed while using Gabapentin capsules.
Can I drive if I have consumed Gabapentin?
Caution is advised as Gabapentin can cause dizziness or tiredness. Avoid driving if you experience these.
Can I consume alcohol with Gabapentin?
It is not recommended with alcohol as it increases the risk of side effects like drowsiness and difficulty in concentrating.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- You have kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis), epilepsy or other seizure disorder
- If you have diabetes, liver disease or a heart disease
- Mental symptoms and history should be specifically shared: a history of depression, mood disorder, drug abuse or suicidal thoughts or actions
- Some people have suicidal thoughts while taking this medicine. Your family members or other close relatives should be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms
- Consult with your doctor in case you see mood changes while on this medication
- Some patients get addicted to the use of Gabapentin which then becomes drug abuse
- Beware of self-medication and do not extend the treatment beyond the duration required
- Stick to your prescribed dose and beware of overdose
Mode of Action of Gabapentin
How Does It Work?
It affects chemicals and nerves in the body that cause seizures (convulsions) and some types of nerve pain.
Interactions of Gabapentin
Interactions with other medicines
Gabapentin may interact with medicines like Levothyroxine, Ascorbic Acid, Alprazolam, Atorvastatin and Furosemide.
Interactions with food items
If you are on treatment with Gabapentin avoid fish oil as it increases the side effects of it.
Dosage of Gabapentin
Symptoms of overdose are double vision, slurred speech, loss of consciousness, drowsiness and diarrhea. Inform your doctor immediately in case of overdose.
Missed a Dose
If you missed any dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, then skip the missed dose & do not take extra medicine to compensate for the missed dose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How long does it usually take for Gabapentin to work?
A: Some people see improvement in their symptoms about a week after starting treatment. Others need about a month before they see significant improvements.
Q: Can children and adolescents safely take Gabapentin?
A: Gabapentin has only been approved for use in adolescents above the age of 12.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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