Gabapentin: Use, Side Effects, Dosage, Precautions

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Gabapentin is a prescription medicine used by mouth to treat seizures and some types of neuropathic pain. Gabapentin is a generic drug, and there are several brand-name versions of the drug. There are certain recommended doses of gabapentin for each condition, and your healthcare professional can also adjust the dose to achieve a therapeutic effect with minimal side effects.

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Applications

Gabapentin is used to treat conditions that include seizures or pain.

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  • Postherpetic neuralgia : allowed only for adults.
  • Epilepsy : Approved for adults and children 3 years and older.

Post-herpetic neuralgia is a painful condition that can develop after a shingles attack.

Gabapentin is used as an adjunctive anticonvulsant to prevent partial seizures. Gabapentin is not considered effective in preventing seizures when used alone. As adjunctive treatment, it should be used together with another anticonvulsant .

Partial-onset seizures (also called focal seizures ) are seizures that are known to start in one area of the brain. These types of seizures can be generalized or non-generalized (spread to the rest of the brain).

Gabapentin is not effective for seizures that start throughout the brain and can be used for partial seizures that are generalized or not generalized.

According to the manufacturer, the mechanism of action of gabapentin is unknown .

Use not indicated on the label

Gabapentin is often not listed on the label. There are a number of unauthorized uses for gabapentin, including fibromyalgia , nausea, migraine prevention and alcohol withdrawal, and other types of neuropathic pain in addition to postherpetic neuralgia .

While off-label use of gabapentin may be safe, there are some safety concerns and possible side effects of off-label use .

Before drinking

This medicine is not considered safe for pregnant or nursing women. Older people are at high risk for side effects .

Precautions and contraindications.

Gabapentin can cause severe dizziness or drowsiness. If you are driving or using equipment that could be dangerous, you should be careful when taking gabapentin.

There have also been concerns about the harmful abuse of gabapentin, so it is important that you only use this drug as directed .

Other names of drugs

Gabapentin is a versatile drug. Brand-name versions of gabapentin include Neurontin and Horizant.

Dose

The general form of gabapentin is available in 100 milligram (mg), 300 mg, and 400 mg capsules, 600 and 800 mg tablets, and 250 mg per 5 milliliter (ml) oral solution . The tablets are divided in half.

Postherpetic neuralgia

When used to treat postherpetic neuralgia, gabapentin is started at a low dose and increased over several days to a maximum recommended dose of 1800 mg / day.

According to the manufacturer, the recommended schedule for the use of gabapentin for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia is as follows :

  • Day 1: 300 mg once a day
  • Day 2: 300 mg twice a day.
  • Day 3: 300 mg 3 times a day.

Epilepsy

When used to prevent seizures in epilepsy, the dose of gabapentin is dependent on age and weight. It should be started with a low dose and increased to the target dose for approximately three days .

Dosage recommended by the manufacturer:

Adults and children from 12 years : the starting dose is 300 mg 3 times a day. If necessary, you can increase the dose of gabapentin to 600 mg three times a day.

Children 3-11 years old : Gabapentin starts with 10-15 mg per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day, divided into three doses:

  • The target dose for children 3 to 4 years of age is 40 mg per kg of body weight per day, divided into three doses.
  • The target dose for children 5 to 11 years old is 25 to 35 mg per kg of body weight per day, divided into three doses.

Modifications

If you have kidney failure or are undergoing hemodialysis , you will need less than the recommended dose of gabapentin. The adjusted dose will depend on the creatinine clearance.

If your creatinine clearance is less than 15 ml / min, the gabapentin dose should be reduced in proportion to the percentage reduced creatinine clearance compared to normal .

How to take and store

Gabapentin should be swallowed with water without crushing the tablets or capsules. You can take gabapentin with or without food.

Gabapentin tablets and capsules should be stored at 25 ° C (77 F). Store the oral solution in the refrigerator between 2 and 8 ° C (36 to 46 F).

Side effects

The side effects of gabapentin vary depending on the condition in which it is taken and the age of the person taking it.

Various side effects are due to various reasons. Different doses depending on the condition and differences in age can lead to correspondingly different concentrations of the drug in the body. Also, the underlying medical condition can affect the way the drug interacts with the body.

general

Sometimes side effects are dose dependent and may improve with a lower dose of gabapentin, but it can have persistent side effects even with lower doses.

If your side effects persist at the lowest effective dose, you may need to stop taking gabapentin. You and your healthcare provider will need to discuss this option together.

Common side effects of gabapentin:

  • For postherpetic neuralgia : dizziness, drowsiness, and peripheral edema.
  • For epilepsy in adults and children over 12 years of age : drowsiness, dizziness, ataxia, fatigue, and nystagmus .
  • For epilepsy in children 3 to 12 years : viral infection, fever, nausea and / or vomiting, drowsiness and hostility.

Severe form

If you experience serious side effects from gabapentin, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Serious side effects of gabapentin:

Warnings and interactions

Abruptly stopping gabapentin can trigger a seizure or status epilepticus , which is a type of prolonged seizure that requires medical attention. This withdrawal effect is more likely if you are taking it to treat epilepsy.

If you stop taking gabapentin, you should gradually stop taking the medicine as directed by your healthcare professional. And if you have epilepsy, your doctor may prescribe another anti-seizure medication to replace the gabapentin when you reduce your gabapentin dose.

Gabapentin can interact with other medications, including:

  • Hydrocodone : Taking gabapentin with hydrocodone reduces the effects of hydrocodone.
  • Morphine : Taking gabapentin with morphine can cause severe drowsiness and shortness of breath.
  • Maalox : If you are taking maalox, it may reduce the effects of your gabapentin, which may lead to pain or seizures (depending on why you are taking gabapentin). It is recommended that you avoid taking Maalox for two hours after taking a dose of gabapentin.
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