MOST COMMON BRAND NAME: Neurontin
Uses of Neurontin
Neurontin (gabapentin) belongs to the class of drugs known as anticonvulsants or antiepileptics. This medication’s primary use is to control or prevent seizures, yet is commonly used “off label” to treat a variety of nerve pain conditions. These include diabetic neuropathy, herpes zoster, and shingles. Neurontin is also occasionally prescribed to treat fibromyalgia and other pain syndromes. It is sometimes used in conjunction with other drugs to treat chronic and acute pain.
Taking prescription Neurontin capsules:
As with any prescription medication, be sure to read the patient information pamphlet contained within the packaging before starting Neurontin. If you have further questions consult your pharmacist.
Neurontin should only be taken orally (by mouth). It may be taken with food or without, and should always be washed down with plenty of water. Gabapentin dosage varies widely depending on which condition it’s being prescribed for. In young children, dosing is also determined based on the patient’s weight.
Swallow tablets whole, never chew or otherwise crush them. If you’re dividing tablets to achieve the correct dose, use the divided halves promptly. Discard any broken tablets if you haven’t taken them within several days. Only take Neurontin orally: never snort, inject or take this medication in any other way. Always take Neurontin with plenty of water.
Neurontin (generic name gabapentin)
Take Neurontin (and all other prescription drugs) exactly as instructed. It’s likely that you’ll be started at a small dose which will be gradually increased over the following days. This can minimize side effects by allowing the body to become accustomed to the drug. Especially at the start of treatment, it’s generally advisable to take Neurontin before bed, as drowsiness is a common side effect.
To receive the most benefits from this medication it must be taken at regular times. Take this drug in divided doses at even intervals throughout the day. This ensures that the level of medication in your system remains as consistent as possible. Make sure that no more than 12 hours elapses between doses, especially if Neurontin is being prescribed to treat epilepsy. Failing to do so can increase a patient’s risk of seizures.
Never adjust your own dose of Neurontin, either up or down. Don’t stop taking this medication on your own, especially if it’s being used to control epilepsy. Abruptly discontinuing gabapentin or any other antiepileptic drug can greatly increase the risk of seizures.
What Conditions Does Gabapentin Treat?
What Conditions can be treated with Neurontin (gabapentin) capsules?
- Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
- Neuropathic pain
- Nerve pain associated with herpes
- Acute postoperative pain
- Fibromyalgia and other complex pain syndromes
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Essential Tremor
- Menopausal symptoms
- Extreme localized discomfort in the calves upon rest.
Gabapentin Side Effects
Neurontin (gabapentin) side effects:
Common side effects include: fatigue, tiredness, drowsiness, blurred or double vision, unusual eye movements, and shaking (tremors). If these effects persist or become worse talk to your pharmacist or doctor immediately.
Before prescribing Neurontin your doctor will determine if the potential side effects outweigh the possible benefits. Most people taking Neurontin (gabapentin) do not experience severe side effects.
Some patients are prescribed Neurontin for psychological conditions such as bipolar disorder. In a small number of patients this may cause increased depression or other mood disturbances, which may contribute to suicidal thoughts or actions. Tell your doctor immediately if you or a loved one notices any sudden changes in mood or behavior.
A very small percentage of people taking Neurontin may experience swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or other extremity locations. Shallow or labored breathing may also occur. These are potentially life threatening reactions and medical help should be sought immediately.
Gabapentin Allergy Symptoms
In very rare cases patients may have a severe allergic reaction to Neurontin. Symptoms include a full-body rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a swollen tongue and / or throat. Difficulty breathing may occur. If any of these occur seek emergency medical attention immediately.
This is not a complete list of all known side effects. If you experience effects other than those listed above consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
In the United States, contact the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at (800) FDA-1088 to report any adverse effects. You can also report online at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada, you can report adverse effects to Health Canada at (866) 234-2345.
Avoid antacids which contain magnesium, aluminum, or both while taking Neurontin. When combined, these medications can reduce the body’s ability to absorb gabapentin. If it’s necessary to take these types of antacids, don’t take them within 2 hours of taking Neurontin.
Gabapentin comes in sustained release, immediate release, and enteric coated varieties. Each is absorbed by the body differently, and has been prescribed to you for a specific reason. Never switch from one form to another unless your doctor instructs you to.
Tell your doctor immediately if the condition you’re being prescribed Neurontin for fails to improve or becomes worse.
Allergies to Neurontin
If you are allergic to gabapentin or gabapentin enacarbil tell your doctor before taking Neurontin. Also inform your doctor if you have any other drug allergies. This drug may also contain inactive ingredients which can potentially trigger allergic reactions. For a full set of potential reactions talk with your pharmacist.
Certain preexisting conditions must be taken into consideration before starting Neurontin. Tell your doctor if you have a history of psychiatric problems. These include but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, other mood disorders, or thoughts of suicide. Also inform your doctor if you have a history of drug / alcohol abuse or dependence. Tell your doctor if you have (or have had) kidney disease or problems breathing before starting Neurontin.
Limit alcohol consumption when taking Neurontin. Dizziness, drowsiness, and blurred vision are relatively common side effects. Alcohol can intensify these effects. Abstain from recreational drug use (including marijuana) while on Neurontin. Don’t drive, operate heavy machinery, or participate in activities which require alertness until you are familiar with its effects.
Adults over the age of 65 may be more prone to the side effects of Neurontin. This is especially true of slow or shallow breathing and swelling of the ankles, feet, and hands. Loss of balance and coordination can occur while taking Neurontin, which may increase fall risks in older adults.
Children under the age of 15 may also be more prone to Neurontin’s side effects. This is especially true of mood and behavior disorders. These can include, but are not limited to: restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and increased hostility.
Give your Dr a List of Your Medications
Make sure your doctor has a full list of your medications and dosages before surgery. This includes prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs, as well as herbal and nutritional supplements.
Gabapentin, the active ingredient in Neurontin, readily passes into breast milk. Avoid nursing when taking Neurontin. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. This drug should only be used if absolutely necessary during pregnancy. As with all prescription drugs, your doctor will discuss all potential benefits and risks before starting Neurontin.
Drug Interactions with Gabapentin 300mg
Other drugs may change how Neurontin works, or increase your risk of experiencing adverse effects. Tell your prescribing doctor about all medications you’re currently taking. This includes over the counter (OTC) drugs, as well as nutritional supplements. Do not stop taking or reduce the dosage of any medications you’re currently taking without permission from your doctor. Never start taking a medication without first consulting your doctor.
Let your doctor know if you are currently taking any medications which can induce drowsiness. This includes, but are not limited to the following: benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Ativan, narcotic pain medications, muscle relaxants, antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, and medicinal marijuana. Refrain from using recreational drugs while taking Neurontin or other prescription medicines. Neurontin may interact with statin (cholesterol lowering) drugs, producing potentially severe side effects.
Read Product Labels
Product labels on the medications you’re taking will tell you which drugs they contain. Carefully read all labeling, especially on cough and cold products. These may contain antihistamines. If you have any further questions consult with your pharmacist.
Neurontin is not the only prescription drug which contains the active ingredient gabapentin. This includes gabapentin enacarbil. Do not combine gabapentin-containing medications.
Gabapentin has been shown to interfere with laboratory testing of blood and urine samples. When lab testing is ordered, inform your doctor and lab technicians that you’re currently taking Neurontin.