Gabapentin is used to help control partial seizures in epileptic patients. The medication must be taken regularly in order to continue to control seizures. This drug has also been used to control postherpetic neuralgia, or the pain that occurs after a patient suffers from shingles. In some cases, Gabapentin has also been used to treat Restless Leg Syndrome, the relief of pain from minor injuries or arthritis. Medication is strictly prescribed, so patients will need to attend regular check-ups to determine the proper dosage of the medication.
Gabapentin is available in capsule, suspension, tablet, and solution forms. Each will have its own particular instructions so talk to your doctor about the best way to take it. Tablets should be taken with your evening meal, ideally around 5 p.m. The capsule version can be taken without food. If you are using Gabapentin for Restless Leg Syndrome it should be taken before bed. Those using the drug for epilepsy should not allow more than 12 hours to pass between doses and should try to take doses at similar times each day. Tablets can be broken into two pieces if necessary. Do not crush or chew the pills.
Common side effects of Gabapentin include clumsiness and rolling eye movements. These side effects are not necessarily dangerous and may go away as your body becomes more used to the medication. However, it is still important to inform your physician to monitor your condition. If these side effects do not cease or if they worsen, seek immediate medical attention.
Children using Gabapentin saw an increase in mental side effects. These include aggressive behavior, anxiety, concentration problems, depression or crying, hyperactivity, rapidly changing moods, overly emotional responses, or restlessness. These reactions were not always exclusive, so it is important to watch your child carefully for any behavior or emotional responses that are abnormal. If these reactions persist or seem to be extreme then it is important to contact your physician.
Less common side effects included sinus or lung issues such as chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, sores in the mouth, or sore throat. These are not usually severe and resolve with time. If any of these symptoms persist, consult your physician. If any of these symptoms impact your ability to eat or breathe seek emergency care.
Circulation issues were also reported in some patients. Fever, blood in the stool, unusual bleeding, bruising, unexplained weakness, loss of memory, or swollen glands and limbs have been reported. These side effects could be symptomatic of a more serious reaction, so it is critical that you report them immediately. A diagnostic exam can determine the extent of the issue and whether or not it is safe to continue taking Gabapentin.
Very rare cases have shown allergic reactions. Watch for swelling of the limbs, face or reproductive organs to determine if you are having a reaction to your mediation. This includes blistering or peeling of the skin. Some patients have also reported blurred vision or increased thirst. Any rashes, redness, yellowing, or odors that cannot be explained should be reported to your doctor right away. Do not ignore these symptoms as they can become worse and more dangerous over time. Do not stop taking Gabapentin without speaking to your doctor first. This is especially important for those who are using the drug to treat epileptic seizure.
There are no specific warnings for prescribing Gabapentin to children or seniors. However, it is important to discuss your medical history and undergo a diagnostic exam before starting a prescription. This will reveal any health issues that may complicate drug use.
Studies have shown that Gabapentin may cause harm to unborn children, so pregnant women should avoid use of the product if possible. Research shows that Gabapentin is excreted into breast milk. Talk to your doctor about whether or not it is safe to use this product while breastfeeding and be sure to attend follow up appointments to monitor any potential side effects experienced by your infant.
Gabapentin should NOT be used alongside any other medications that include isoniazid, phenothiazines, or tricyclic antidepressants. These can significantly increase the risk of seizures. Bacterial vaccines, blood thinners, diabetes drugs, anti-inflammatories, and corticosteroids should also be avoided. Tell your doctor if you are on a regimen that includes Naproxen, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Cimetidine, or Antacids. These drugs can conflict with your body's ability to absorb the medication, which can lead to serious side effects.
Talk with your physician before consuming alcohol while on gabapentin. In some cases there is little to no risk, while others may experience side effects. If you experience serious drowsiness, confusion, or dizziness while consuming alcohol during a gabapentin dose, contact medical services immediately. They will be able to help you evaluate your risk and determine if you need emergency care.