In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for gabapentin, trade name NeurontinTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Gabapentin is used to prevent and control seizures and treat nerve pain. This medication works by changing the nerve signals in your brain involved with seizures and pain.
As the dose increases, the chance of side effects also increases. When treating pain, your doctor may increase your dose slowly, every 3 or 4 days, to decrease the chance of side effects. If you increase the dose too quickly, the side effects may cause you to stop taking the medication.
This medication is sometimes used to treat other conditions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you are prescribed this medication to treat something that is not listed here.
Gabapentin is usually taken 1-3 times daily and may be taken with or without food. Your dose is based on your condition and response to treatment. Take your first dose at bedtime to decrease the side effects of your first dose.
Avoid antacids such as TumsTM or MylantaTM at least 2 hours before or after your dose of gabapentin. The antacid may block the effect of this medication.
Gabapentin works best when it is taken on a regular basis. This medication is usually not taken on an as needed basis. If you are taking this medication for seizure control, do not let more than 12 hours lapse between doses unless instructed by your doctor.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Do not increase your dose faster than the doctor has recommended. You will not get better quicker with a faster increase in dose; however, the chance of side effects will increase. Do not stop taking gabapentin too quickly because you may feel a sudden increase in symptoms or unpleasant withdrawal. Your doctor may decrease your dose slowly over a week or more.
Warnings & Cautions
- Rarely, this medication may change your mood or cause suicidal thoughts or attempts. Talk about this with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the mood changes, restlessness, and hostility.
- The elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the swelling of your hands and feet and a decrease in balance.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking gabapentin.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if gabapentin is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have a history of kidney or liver disease, family history of mental disease, any heart condition or blood pressure issues, or a family history of substance abuse.
- While taking gabapentin, you may feel a decrease in balance, dizzy, blurred vision, tremor, or some swelling your hands and feet. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any seizures, flu symptoms such as fever or swollen glands, chest pain or abnormal heartbeat, trouble breathing, or any other significant side effects.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have a significant worsening of your mood or experience any suicidal thoughts.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.