Posted by: Thixia | March 31, 2008

Gabapentin

 

Common Name


Gabapentin
Brand Name


Nu-Gabapentin
Neurontin

Condition Information

Restless Leg Syndrome

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Headaches

Migraine

Neuropathy (Nerve Pain)

How does this medication work?  What will it do for me?

Gabapentin belongs to the class of medications called anti-epileptics.  It is used for the management and prevention of seizures associated with epilepsy, often in combination with other seizure-control medications.  Gabapentin does not cure epilepsy and only works to control seizures as long as the medication is taken.  Gabapentin works by affecting the transmission of nerve signals in the brain

Gabapentin is, primarily, an anticonvulsant drug used, most often, in the treatment of epileptic seizures, although it has been shown to relieve spasticity and painful muscle spasm in MS.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries messages between brain nerve cells.

Because Gabapentin is so effective in inhibiting excess neuronal activity, it has proven efficacious in treating conditions like anxiety, depression, migraine,  neuropathic pain and spasticity in multiple Sclerosis

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do.  It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

The usual recommended adult dose of Gabapentin begins with 300 mg to 400 mg daily and increases to as much as 600 mg three times daily, according to need and as prescribed by the doctor.  The maximum daily dose is 2,400 mg taken in three equal doses of 800 mg each.  The recommended dose for children over the age of 12 is 900 mg to 1,200 mg daily.  Doses greater than 1,200 mg per day have not been studied in children.  Gabapentin may be taken with or without food. 

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as the severity of the condition, body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications.  If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is very important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.  If you forget a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember.  If it is less than three hours until your next scheduled dose, take the medication right away and then wait three hours before taking the next dose.  Then go back to your regular dosing schedule.  Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. 

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Nu®-Gabapentin is available in capsule form.

100 mg: Type: capsule.  Active ingredient: 100 mg of gabapentin.

300 mg: Type: capsule.  Active ingredient: 300 mg of gabapentin.

400 mg: Type: capsule.  Active ingredient: 400 mg of gabapentin. 

Who should NOT take this medication?

Gabapentin should not be taken by anyone allergic to Gabapentin or to any of the ingredients of this medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects.  A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses.  Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.  The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication.  If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor. 

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. 

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome.  Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • back pain
  • constipation
  • coughing
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • erectile difficulties (problems getting or maintaining an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse)
  • fatigue
  • heartburn
  • increased appetite
  • itchy skin
  • muscle pain
  • nervousness
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • swelling of feet or ankles
  • tremors (shaking)
  • twitching
  • weight gain

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abnormal thoughts
  • abnormal heart beat
  • involuntary eye movements, double vision, or other vision changes
  • poor coordination
  • problems with your teeth or gums
  • speech problems such as slurred speech; abnormal rhythm, speed, or tone (such as sounding hoarse or “nasal”) of speech; limited mouth or tongue movements; or drooling
  • symptoms of decreased white blood cell levels (which help fight infection) in the blood (such as high fever, sore throat, frequent infections, or sores on the body or mouth)
  • symptoms of depression (feeling sad; losing interest in work, hobbies, or friends; increased or decreased appetite; sleepiness or difficulty sleeping; weight loss or gain; feelings of hopelessness or guilt; or thoughts of suicide)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of a heart attack (such as chest pain or pressure, sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, anxiety, or shortness of breath)
  • symptoms of a stroke (such as sudden unexplained numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden vision problems in one or both eyes; sudden confusion; sudden difficulty speaking; or sudden unexplained severe headache)
  • symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (such as swelling of the face or throat, hives, or difficulty breathing)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed.  Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Be sure to inform your physician of all your medical conditions before you begin taking a medication.  Some conditions can affect how you should take this medication.

Alcohol: Avoid alcohol while taking Gabapentin, as Gabapentin may cause alcohol intolerance.  Alcohol intolerance leads to an unpleasant reaction (flushing, redness of the face after drinking alcohol, nausea, palpitations, or headache) after drinking alcohol.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: People with uncontrolled epilepsy should not drive or handle potentially dangerous machinery.  Gabapentin may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or problems with coordination.  Those taking Gabapentin should not do any activity requiring mental alertness or physical coordination until they determine that Gabapentin does not affect them adversely.

Kidney function: Gabapentin is not removed from the body as quickly in people with reduced kidney function as compared with those who have regular kidney function.  Your doctor may reduce your dose as needed.

Stopping the medication: As with other medications used to control seizures, stopping Gabapentin suddenly is not recommended because of the possibility of increased seizure frequency.

Pregnancy: Do not use this medication during pregnancy unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.  Talk to your doctor if you are or may be pregnant.

Breast-feeding: Gabapentin passes into breast milk, but the effect on the breast-feeding infant is unknown.  Breast-feeding while taking this medication is not recommended unless the potential benefit outweighs the potential risks.  If you are breast-feeding or considering breast-feeding, talk to your doctor.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of Gabapentin have not been established for use by children.  Although children 12 to 18 years old have taken this medication and reported similar side effects as adults, they should be monitored closely by their doctor.  In medical studies, children 3 to 12 years old experienced some psychiatric side effects, including mood swings, hostility, hyperactivity, and thought disorders.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

The following medications may affect the way that gabapentin works, be affected by gabapentin, or increase the risk of side effects:

  • antacids containing magnesium or aluminium
  • hydrocodone
  • morphine

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.  Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is. 

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them.  In many cases, interactions are intended or are managed by close monitoring.  Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication.  Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking.  Also tell them about any supplements you take.  Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on.  Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional.  Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s).  This site is not a substitute for medical advice.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: