Gabapentin has two uses. First, it may be prescribed with other medications to treat partial seizures (the type in which symptoms are limited). It can be used whether or not the seizures eventually become general and result in loss of consciousness. Second, it can be used to relieve the burning nerve pain that sometimes persists for months or even years after an attack of shingles (herpes zoster).
Most important fact about Gabapentin Take Gabapentin exactly as directed by your doctor. To effectively control your seizures, it is important that you take Gabapentin 3 times a day, approximately every 8 hours. You should not go longer than 12 hours without a dose of medication.
Do not increase or decrease dosage of Gabapentin without your doctor’s approval; and do not suddenly stop taking it, as this may cause an increase in the frequency of your seizures. If you are taking an antacid such as Maalox, take Gabapentin at least 2 hours after the antacid. You may take Gabapentin with or without food. –If you miss a dose… Try not to allow more than 12 hours to pass between doses. Do not double doses. –Storage instructions… Store capsules and tablets at room temperature. Keep the oral solution refrigerated.
What side effects may occur?
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Gabapentin. When taken for epilepsy, more common side effects may include: Blurred, dimmed, or double vision, bronchitis (in children), dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, fever (in children), involuntary eye movement, itchy, runny nose, lack of muscular coordination, nausea, tremor, viral infection (in children), vomiting, weight increase (in children) When taken for nerve pain, more common side effects may include: Accidental injury, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, infection, lack of muscular coordination, nausea, swelling in arms and legs, vomiting, weakness A wide variety of uncommon and rare side effects have also been reported. If you develop any new or unusual symptoms while taking Gabapentin, be sure to let your doctor know.
Why should Gabapentin not be prescribed?
You should not take Gabapentin if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Special warnings about Gabapentin Gabapentin causes some people to become drowsy and less alert. Combining it with morphine makes this more likely. Do not drive or operate dangerous machinery or participate in any hazardous activity that requires full mental alertness until you are certain Gabapentin does not have this effect on you. In children, Gabapentin occasionally triggers behavioral problems such as unstable emotions, hostility, aggression, hyperactivity, and lack of concentration. However, such problems (if they occur) are usually mild. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any kidney problems or are on hemodialysis, as your doctor will need to adjust your dosage of Gabapentin. Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs. Possible food and drug interactions when taking Gabapentin If Gabapentin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either can be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Gabapentin with the following: Antacids such as Maalox Hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin) Naproxen (Naprosyn) Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin)
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding The effects of Gabapentin on pregnant women have not been adequately studied, although birth defects have occurred in babies whose mothers took an antiepileptic medication while they were pregnant. The drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. This medication may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. It should be used by mothers who nurse their babies only if its benefits clearly outweigh the risks.