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All about: gabapentin

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Generic Name: gabapentin (ga bah PEN tin)
Brand Names: Neurontin

What is gabapentin?

Gabapentin affects chemicals and nerves in the body that are involved in the cause of seizures and some types of pain. The exact way that it works is unknown.

Gabapentin is used with other drugs in the treatment of some types of seizures and for the management of postherpetic neuralgia (nerve pain caused by the herpes virus or shingles).

Gabapentin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about gabapentin?

If you are taking gabapentin for seizures, do not stop taking gabapentin even if you feel better. It is important to continue taking the medication to prevent seizures from recurring.

Carry or wear a medical identification tag to let others know that you are taking this medicine in the case of an emergency.

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Gabapentin may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking gabapentin?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions, especially kidney, liver, or heart disease. Also discuss any medicines that you take, including over-the-counter preparations. Gabapentin is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether gabapentin will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take gabapentin without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Gabapentin passes into breast milk. Do not take gabapentin without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take gabapentin?

Take gabapentin exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose of gabapentin with a full glass of water. Gabapentin can be taken with or without food.

To ensure you get the correct dose, measure the gabapentin oral solution with a dose-measuring cup or spoon, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.

Carry or wear a medical identification tag to let others know that you are taking this medicine in the case of an emergency.

Do not stop taking gabapentin without talking to your doctor. Suddenly stopping gabapentin may cause side effects.

If you are taking gabapentin for seizures, do not stop taking gabapentin even if you feel better. It is important to continue taking the medication to prevent seizures from recurring. Store gabapentin tablets and capsules at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Store the gabapentin oral solution in the refrigerator.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if several hours have passed and it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of the medication to catch up.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical treatment.

Symptoms of a gabapentin overdose include double vision, drowsiness, slurred speech, diarrhea, poor coordination, and difficulty breathing.

What should I avoid while taking gabapentin?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Gabapentin may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities. Avoid alcohol during treatment with gabapentin. Alcohol may increase the risk of having side effects while taking gabapentin.

Gabapentin side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking gabapentin and seek medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives).

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take gabapentin and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • dizziness, poor coordination, or drowsiness;

  • blurred or double vision;

  • irregular back-and- forth movements of the eyes;

  • nausea and vomiting; or

  • tremor.

If children 3 to 12 years of age experience any of the following serious side effects, contact your doctor immediately

  • emotional lability (anxiety, behavior problems, crying, false sense of well-being, mental depression, reacting too quickly, too emotionally, or overreacting, rapidly changing moods);

  • hostility (aggressive behavior, suspiciousness, or distrust);

  • restlessness, hyperactivity or increase in body movements;

  • amnesia (loss of memory); or

  • thought disorders (concentration problems and change in school performance).

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect gabapentin?

Gabapentin does not interact with other commonly used antiseizure medications.

Antacids will decrease the amount of gabapentin that is absorbed in the stomach. Do not take gabapentin for at least 2 hours after a dose of antacid.

Gabapentin may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, alcohol, antihistamines, sedatives (used to treat insomnia), pain relievers, anxiety medicines, and muscle relaxants.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with gabapentin or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about gabapentin written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Gabapentin is available with a prescription under the brand name Neurontin. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Neurontin 100 mg--white capsules

  • Neurontin 300 mg--yellow capsules

  • Neurontin 400 mg--orange capsules

  • Neurontin 600 mg-white, elliptical, film-coated tablets

  • Neurontin 800 mg-white, elliptical, film-coated tablets

  • Neurontin 250 mg/5 mL oral solution-clear, colorless to slightly yellow solution

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.05. Revision Date: 1/14/05 12:04:29 PM.

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