Gabapentin

gabapentin
Chemical Name: gabapentin
Drug Type: gamma-aminobutyric acid analogs

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic medication, also called an anticonvulsant. It affects chemicals and nerves in the body that are involved in the cause of seizures and some types of pain.

Gabapentin is used in adults to treat nerve pain caused by herpes virus or shingles (herpes zoster).

The Horizant brand of gabapentin is also used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS).

The Neurontin brand of gabapentin is also used to treat seizures in adults and children who are at least 3 years old.

Use only the brand and form of gabapentin that your doctor has prescribed. Check your medicine each time you get a refill at the pharmacy, to make sure you have received the correct form of this medication.

Gabapentin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

You should not use gabapentin if you are allergic to it.

To make sure gabapentin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • diabetes;
  • liver disease;
  • a history of depression, mood disorder, drug abuse, or suicidal thoughts or actions;
  • heart disease; or
  • (for patients with RLS) if you are a day sleeper or work a night shift.

Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using gabapentin. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Gabapentin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

The Horizant brand of gabapentin should not be taken during the day. For best results, take Horizant with food at about 5:00 in the evening.

Both Gralise and Horizant should be taken with food.

Neurontin can be taken with or without food.

If you break a Neurontin tablet and take only half of it, take the other half at your next dose. Any tablet that has been broken should be used as soon as possible or within a few days.

Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

If your doctor changes your brand, strength, or type of gabapentin, your dosage needs may change. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the new kind of gabapentin you receive at the pharmacy.

Do not stop using gabapentin suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take gabapentin. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.

Gabapentin can cause you to have a false positive urine protein screening test. If you provide a urine sample for testing, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking gabapentin.

Store gabapentin tablets and capsules at room temperature away from light and moisture.

Store the liquid medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Be sure to take the medicine with food. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Avoid taking an antacid within 2 hours before or after you take gabapentin. Antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb gabapentin.

Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Seek medical treatment if you have a skin rash with symptoms of a serious allergic reaction that can affect other parts of your body, including: fever, dark urine, blood in your urine, swollen glands, sore throat, extreme weakness or tiredness, unusual bruising or bleeding, muscle pain, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, depression, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • increased seizures;
  • severe weakness or tiredness;
  • upper stomach pain;
  • chest pain, new or worsening cough with fever, trouble breathing;
  • severe tingling or numbness;
  • rapid back and forth movement of your eyes;
  • kidney problems--little or no urination, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or
  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Some side effects are more likely in children taking gabapentin. Contact your doctor if the child taking this medication has any of the following side effects:

  • changes in behavior;
  • memory problems;
  • trouble concentrating; or
  • acting restless, hostile, or aggressive.

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness; or
  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking gabapentin with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Other drugs may interact with gabapentin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Your pharmacist can provide more information about gabapentin.