gabapentin uses

Gabapentin: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects and warnings 2021

Gabapentin Summary

  1. Gabapentin oral capsule is available as both a generic and brand-name drug. The brand name for gabapentin oral capsule is Neurontin.
  2. Gabapentin is also available as an immediate-release oral tablet, an extended-release oral tablet, and an oral solution.
  3. Gabapentin oral capsule is used to treat partial seizures in adults and children. It’s also used to treat nerve pain caused by a shingles infection.

What is gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription drug that is administered in four variants. It is available 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 NeurontinIt’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In most cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.

Gabapentin uses

Gabapentin oral capsule is used to treat the following conditions:

  1. Seizures

#2. Post-herpetic neuralgia

#1. 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.

#2. Post-herpetic 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 is a member of a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a related or similar manner. Drugs of the same class are typically used for the treatment of similar or related conditions.

How gabapentin works is still being studied. However, it is established that postherpetic neuralgia prevents the rise in sensitivity to pain that occurs. For seizures, postherpetic neuralgia may alter the effect of calcium (low levels of calcium may cause seizures).

Gabapentin oral capsule causes dizziness and drowsiness. Avoid driving or using heavy machinery while taking this drug until you know how it affects you.

Gabapentin side effects

According to the way it is administered, 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.

Common side effects of gabapentin and their rate

Common side effects of gabapentin and their rate are:

#1. viral infection

#2. fever

#3. nausea and vomiting

#4. trouble speaking

#5. hostility

#6. jerky movements

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Gabapentin side effect rate

The side effect rates of gabapentin are computed based on patients over 12 years old. This is as stated in clinical trials for the brand equivalent, Neurontin. Some rates contrast by age. For instance, pediatric patients 3 to 12 years of age most typically 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 report.

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.

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Serious side effects

Serious side effects of gabapentin and their symptoms can include the following:

#1. Changes in mood or anxiety issues

#2. Changes in behavior and thinking

#3. Serious and life-threatening allergic reaction

#1. Changes in mood or anxiety issues

Symptoms of this include the following:

  1. thoughts of suicide or dying
  2. attempts to commit suicide
  3. restlessness
  4. panic attacks
  5. trouble sleeping
  6. anger
  7. aggressive or violent behavior
  8. extreme increase in activity and talking
  9. unusual changes in behavior or mood

#2. Changes in behavior and thinking

Typically in children ages 3 to 12 years. Symptoms of this include the following:

    1. emotional changes
    2. aggressiveness
    3. trouble concentrating
    4. restlessness
    5. changes in school performance
    6. hyper behavior

#3. Serious and life-threatening allergic reaction

Symptoms  of this include the following:

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.

Gabapentin may interact with other medications

Gabapentin oral capsule can interact with some other medications. Diverse interactions can cause diverse effects. For example, some interaction can interfere with how well a drug works, while others can cause increased side effects.

We will provide a list of medications that can interact with gabapentin. This list does not cover all the 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 and side effects.

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

Drugs that may interact with gabapentin

Drugs that may interact with gabapentin include:

#1. Pain drugs, example morphine

#2. Stomach acid drugs, example aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide

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#1. Pain drugs

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

  • morphine

#2. 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

Gabapentin dosage

The gabapentin dosage your doctor prescribes will be determined by some factors. These factors include:

  1. the type and severity of the condition you’re using gabapentin to treat
  2. your age
  3. the form of gabapentin you take
  4. other medical conditions you may have

Normally, your doctor will put you on a low dosage and modify it over time to reach the dosage that’s accurate for you. They’ll eventually prescribe the minutest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information defines dosages that are usually used or recommended. However, be certain to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your wants.

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)

  • Usual 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)

The kidney function may decrease with age. If you are 65 years or older, 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)

Usual 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)

Usual 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)

Usual 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)

The kidney function may decrease with age. If you are 65 years or older, 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.

Some 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.

Very vital warnings include:

#1. Drowsiness warning

#2. Depression warning

#3. Multiorgan hypersensitivity or DRESS warning

#4. Allergy warning

#5. Alcohol interaction warning

#1. 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.

#2. 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.

#3. 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.

#4. Allergy warning

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

  1. trouble breathing
  2. swelling of your throat or tongue
  3. hives
  4. 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).

#5. 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.

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Warnings for people with certain health conditions

  1. Warning 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.

  1. Warning 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.

Gabapentin warnings for other groups

#1. Warning for pregnant women

The use of gabapentin has not been studied in humans during pregnancy. Research in animals has shown negative effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug. However, animal studies don’t always predict the way humans would respond.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

If your doctor prescribes gabapentin for you while you’re pregnant, ask about the NAAED Pregnancy Registry. This registry tracks the effects of anti-seizure drugs on pregnancy. Information can be found at aedpregnancyregistry.org.

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#2. Warning for women who are breastfeeding

Gabapentin may pass into breast milk and cause serious side effects in a breastfeeding child. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should decide together if you should stop taking this drug or stop breastfeeding.

#3. Warning for seniors

Kidney function may decrease with age. You may process this drug more slowly than younger people. Your doctor may start you on a lowered 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.

#4. Warning for children

Gabapentin has not been studied in children for the management of postherpetic neuralgia. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years. This drug should not be used to treat partial seizures in children younger than 3 years.

Take as directed

Gabapentin oral capsule may be used either for short-term or long-term treatment. The duration of treatment depends on what condition it’s being used to treat. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

Gabapentin Considerations

#1. If you stop taking it suddenly or don’t take it at all:

  • For seizures: This can increase your risk of status epilepticus, which is a medical emergency. With this condition, short or long seizures occur for 30 minutes or more. If your doctor decides to reduce your dose or have you stop taking gabapentin, they will do this slowly. Your dose will be reduced or your treatment stopped over the course of at least one week.
  • For postherpetic neuralgia: Your symptoms won’t improve.

#2. If you miss doses or don’t take it on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. In order for this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

#3. If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  1. double vision
  2. slurred speech
  3. tiredness
  4. loose stools

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before the time for your next dose, then only take one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two capsules at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have fewer seizures. Or you should have less nerve pain.

Other important considerations for taking gabapentin

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes gabapentin oral capsule for you.

General

Gabapentin oral capsules can be taken with or without food. Taking them with food can help to reduce upset stomach.

Storage

  • Store gabapentin at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you, such as in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Be sure to carry with you the prescription-labeled box that your medication came in.
  • Do not put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor your kidney function.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for gabapentin. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more preferred than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is gabapentin used for?

Gabapentin is typically used to treat epilepsy. It’s also taken for nerve pain, restless leg syndrome, hot flashes and neuropathic pain. Nerve pain and neuropathic pain can be caused by several illnesses, including diabetes and shingles, or it can happen after an injury.

Is gabapentin considered a painkiller?

Gabapentin, also popular by the brand name Neurontin, is a prescription painkiller which belongs to the drug class, Gabapentinoids. It is considered an anti-convulsant, and is most commonly used to treat epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, and neuropathic pain.

What is the most common side effect of gabapentin?

The most common side effects, occurring in 10 percent of participants on gabapentin, were: dizziness. sleepiness. water retention (swelling of the arms, hands, legs, and feet).

Is Gabapentin a narcotics or a controlled substance?

Gabapentin, unlike pregabalin, is not currently considered a federally controlled substance in the United States. However, some states have added legislation to limit its misuse.  States that have passed legislation to classify gabapentin as a controlled substance do so in response to knowledge in recent years of gabapentin potential for abuse and addiction.

Is gabapentin good for back pain?

Gabapentin is prescribed frequently for chronic back pain syndromes in both primary care and specialty pain clinics. This is particularly when there is a ‘radicular’ or neuropathic component with pain radiating into the upper or lower legs. Massage therapy is also prescribed to help get rid of back pain.

Disclaimer

Freefitnesshub.com has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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