Gabapentin

Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic medication, also called an anticonvulsant. It affects chemicals and nerves in the body that are involved in the cause of seizures and some types of pain.

Gabapentin capsules, tablets, and oral solution are used to help control certain types of seizures in people who have epilepsy. Gabapentin capsules, tablets, and oral solution are also used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN; the burning, stabbing pain or aches that may last for months or years after an attack of shingles). Gabapentin extended-release tablets (Horizant) are used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS; a condition that causes discomfort in the legs and a strong urge to move the legs, especially at night and when sitting or lying down).

Gabapentin is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. Gabapentin treats seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. Gabapentin relieves the pain of PHN by changing the way the body senses pain. It is not known exactly how gabapentin works to treat restless legs syndrome.

Gabapentin is used in adults to treat nerve pain caused by herpes virus or shingles (herpes zoster).

The Horizant brand is also used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS).

What are the FDA and non-FDA approved uses for gabapentin?

  • Gabapentin is approved for treating seizure disorders and nerve damage from herpes zoster (shingles, postherpetic neuralgia).
  • There are many non FDA-approved uses for gabapentin. These include
    • Alcohol withdrawal
    • Cocaine withdrawal
    • Hiccups
    • Restless leg syndrome
    • Hyperhidrosis
    • Headaches
    • Diabetic neuropathy
    • Hot flashes
    • Fibromyalgia

What is the dosage for gabapentin? How should I take it?

Gabapentin is available as:

  • Capsules: 100, 300, and 400 mg.
  • Tablets: 100, 300, 400, 600, and 800 mg.
  • Solution: 250 mg/5 ml

Dosage for postherpetic neuralgia and seizures.

  • The recommended dose for postherpetic neuralgia is 1800 mg daily in 3 divided doses (Neurontin) or 1800 mg once daily (Gralise). Gralise is not interchangeable with other gabapentin products.
  • Seizures are treated with 900-1800 mg/daily in 3 divided doses (Neurontin). Withdrawal of treatment should occur slowly over a week.

Gabapentin may be taken with or without food.

 

Is gabapentin a narcotic? Is it addictive?

Gabapentin is not an opioid narcotic, and it is not classified as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). However, this medication does share signs and symptoms associated with drug misuse, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms of opioids like:

  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Goosebumps (philoerections)

There have been reports of patients abusing this drug.

 

The Neurontin brand is also used to treat seizures in adults and children who are at least 3 years old.

Use only the brand and form of gabapentin that your doctor has prescribed.

Check your medicine each time you get a refill at the pharmacy, to make sure you have received the correct form of this medication. What is Gabapentin, How to take Gabapentin, the Gabapentin Dosage, Gabapentin side effects, Gabapentin Dependence, What is the effectiveness of Gabapentin on Pain.

For more Gabapentin information, please check BuyingGabapentin.com

What is gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral capsule, an immediate-release oral tablet, an extended-release oral tablet, and an oral solution.

Gabapentin oral capsule is available as the brand-name drug Neurontin. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.

Why it’s used

Gabapentin oral capsule is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Seizures: Gabapentin is used to treat partial (focal) seizures. It’s taken together with other seizure medications in adults and in children 3 years of age and older who have epilepsy.
  • Postherpetic neuralgia: This is pain from nerve damage caused by shingles, a painful rash that affects adults. Shingles appears after infection with the varicella zoster virus. This virus occurs in people who have had chicken pox.

Gabapentin may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other drugs.

How it works

Gabapentin belongs to a class of drugs called anticonvulsants. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

It’s not fully understood how gabapentin works. For postherpetic neuralgia, it seems to prevent the increase in sensitivity to pain that occurs. For seizures, it may alter the effect of calcium (low levels of calcium may cause seizures).

Gabapentin side effects

Gabapentin oral capsule can cause mild or serious side effects. The following list contains some of the key side effects that may occur while taking gabapentin. This list does not include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of gabapentin, or tips on how to deal with a troubling side effect, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

More common side effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of gabapentin are listed below, along with their rates:

Also:

  • viral infection
  • fever
  • nausea and vomiting
  • trouble speaking
  • hostility
  • jerky movements

The side effect rates are based on patients over 12 years old, as reported in clinical trials for the brand equivalent, Neurontin. Certain rates vary by age. For example, pediatric patients 3 to 12 years of age most commonly experienced viral infection (11%), fever (10%), nausea and/or vomiting (8), tiredness (8%), and hostility (8%). There were no clinically significant differences in rates between men and women. For more information, see the FDA package insert.

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Changes in mood or anxiety. Symptoms can include:
    • thoughts of suicide or dying
    • attempts to commit suicide
    • anxiety that’s new or gets worse
    • crankiness that’s new or gets worse
    • restlessness
    • panic attacks
    • trouble sleeping
    • anger
    • aggressive or violent behavior
    • extreme increase in activity and talking
    • unusual changes in behavior or mood
  • Changes in behavior and thinking, especially in children ages 3 to 12 years. Symptoms can include:
    • emotional changes
    • aggressiveness
    • trouble concentrating
    • restlessness
    • changes in school performance
    • hyper behavior
  • Serious and life-threatening allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
    • skin rashes
    • hives
    • fever
    • swollen glands that do not go away
    • swollen lips and tongue
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • unusual bruising or bleeding
    • severe tiredness or weakness
    • unexpected muscle pain
    • frequent infections
Gabapentin may interact with other medications

Gabapentin oral capsule can interact with several other medications. Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some can interfere with how well a drug works, while others can cause increased side effects.

Below is a list of medications that can interact with gabapentin. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with gabapentin.

Before taking gabapentin, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Pain drugs

When used with gabapentin, certain pain drugs can increase its side effects, such as tiredness. Examples of these drugs include:

  • morphine

Stomach acid drugs

When used with gabapentin, certain drugs used to treat stomach acid problems can reduce the amount of gabapentin in your body. This can make it less effective. Taking gabapentin 2 hours after taking these drugs can help prevent this problem. Examples of these drugs include:

  • aluminum hydroxide
  • magnesium hydroxide
How to take gabapentin

The gabapentin dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using gabapentin to treat
  • your age
  • the form of gabapentin you take
  • other medical conditions you may have

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage and adjust it over time to reach the dosage that’s right for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.

Forms and strengths

Generic: Gabapentin

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 100 mg, 300 mg, 400 mg

Brand: Neurontin

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 100 mg, 300 mg, 400 mg

Dosage for postherpetic neuralgia

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: Day 1, 300 mg; day 2, 600 mg (300 mg two times per day, spaced evenly throughout the day); day 3, 900 mg (300 mg, three times per day, spaced evenly throughout the day). Your doctor may further increase your dosage after day 3.
  • Maximum dosage: 1,800 mg per day (600 mg, three times per day, spaced evenly throughout the day)

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years has not been established.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your kidney function may decrease with age. Your body may get rid of this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose so that too much of this drug does not build up in your body. Too much of the drug in your body can be dangerous. Your doctor may change your dose based on how well your kidneys are working.

Dosage for partial-onset seizures

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Typical starting dosage: 900 mg per day (300 mg, three times per day, spaced evenly throughout the day). Your doctor may increase your dose to 2,400–3,600 mg per day.

Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

Typical starting dosage: 300 mg, three times per day, spaced evenly throughout the day. This can increase to 2,400–3,600 mg per day.

Child dosage (ages 3–11 years)

Typical starting dosage: 10–15 mg/kg/day, divided into three doses, spaced evenly throughout the day. Your child’s doctor may increase the dosage to meet your child’s needs.

Maximum dosage: 50 mg/kg/day.

Child dosage (ages 0–2 years)

Dosage for people younger than 3 years has not been established.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your kidney function may decrease with age. Your body may get rid of this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose so that too much of this drug does not build up in your body. Too much of the drug in your body can be dangerous. Your doctor may change your dose based on how well your kidneys are working.

Special considerations

Kidney problems: If you are older than 12 years and have kidney problems or are on hemodialysis, your dose of gabapentin will need to be changed. This will be based on how well your kidneys are working.

Gabapentin warnings

Gabapentin oral capsule comes with several warnings. Call your doctor if you start having more seizures or a different kind of seizure while taking this drug.

Drowsiness warning

Gabapentin can slow your thinking and motor skills and cause drowsiness and dizziness. It’s not known how long these effects last. You should not drive or use heavy machinery while taking this drug until you know how it affects you.

Depression warning

Using this drug increases your risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or notice any changes in your mood or behavior. Also talk to your doctor if you are having thoughts of harming yourself, including suicide.

Multiorgan hypersensitivity/DRESS warning

This medication can cause multiorgan hypersensitivity. This is also known as a drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS). This syndrome can be life-threatening. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as a rash, a fever, or swollen lymph nodes.

Allergy warning

Gabapentin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives
  • rash

Don’t take this drug again if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it before. Taking it a second time after any allergic reaction to it could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction warning

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking gabapentin. Gabapentin can cause sleepiness, and drinking alcohol can make you even more sleepy. Alcohol can also make you more likely to feel dizzy and have trouble concentrating.

Gabapentin online
Gabapentin online

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with epilepsy: Don’t stop taking gabapentin suddenly. Doing this can increase your risk of having a condition called status epilepticus. This is a medical emergency during which short or long seizures occur for 30 minutes or more.

Gabapentin can cause problems in children aged 3–12 years who have epilepsy. It raises their risk of thought problems as well as behavioral problems, such as being hyper and acting hostile or restless.

For people with kidney problems: Your body processes this drug more slowly than normal. This may cause the drug to increase to dangerous levels in your body. Talk to your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.