What is gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic drug, 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.
All brands of gabapentin are used in adults to treat neuropathic pain (nerve pain) caused by herpes virus or shingles (herpes zoster).
The Gralise brand of gabapentin is indicated for the management of neuropathic pain only. It is not used for epilepsy.
The Horizant brand of gabapentin, in addition to treating neuropathic pain, 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, in addition to neuropathic pain.
Use only the brand and form of gabapentin your doctor has prescribed. Check your medicine each time you get a refill to make sure you receive the correct form.
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Children taking gabapentin may have behavior changes. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.
Do not stop using gabapentin suddenly, even if you feel fine.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use gabapentin if you are allergic to it.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
- depression, a mood disorder, or suicidal thoughts or actions;
- a seizure (unless you take gabapentin to treat seizures);
- liver disease;
- heart disease; or
- are taking an anti-depressant or sedating medication; 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 should check your progress at regular visits. 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.
Seizure control is very important during pregnancy, and having a seizure could harm both mother and baby. Do not start or stop taking gabapentin for seizures without your doctor’s advice, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
How should I take gabapentin?
Take gabapentin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Both Gralise and Horizant should be taken with food.
Neurontin can be taken with or without food, but should be taken with water.
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.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
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 have seizures. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.
This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using this medicine.
Store both tablets and capsules at room temperature away from light and moisture.
Store the liquid medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
What happens if I miss a dose?
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.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking gabapentin?
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.
Gabapentin Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Clumsiness or unsteadiness
- continuous, uncontrolled, back-and-forth, or rolling eye movements
More common in children
- Aggressive behavior or other behavior problems
- concentration problems and change in school performance
- false sense of well-being
- hyperactivity or increase in body movements
- rapidly changing moods
- reacting too quickly, too emotional, or overreacting
- suspiciousness or distrust
- Black, tarry stools
- chest pain
- depression, irritability, or other mood or mental changes
- loss of memory
- pain or swelling in the arms or legs
- painful or difficult urination
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swollen glands
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- decreased urine output
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- increased thirst
- itching or skin rash
- joint pain
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- loss of appetite
- muscle ache or pain
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- red, irritated eyes
- unpleasant breath odor
- vomiting of blood
- yellow eyes or skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Blurred vision
- cold or flu-like symptoms
- lack or loss of strength
- lower back or side pain
- swelling of the hands, feet, or lower legs
- trembling or shaking
Less common or rare
- Accidental injury
- appetite increased
- back pain
- bloated or full feeling
- body aches or pain
- burning, dry, or itching eyes
- change in vision
- change in walking and balance
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- cough producing mucus
- decrease in sexual desire or ability
- difficulty with breathing
- dryness of the mouth or throat
- excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
- excessive tearing
- eye discharge
- feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheadedness
- feeling of warmth or heat
- flushed, dry skin
- flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
- frequent urination
- fruit-like breath odor
- impaired vision
- increased hunger
- increased sensitivity to pain
- increased sensitivity to touch
- increased thirst
- noise in the ears
- pain, redness, rash, swelling, or bleeding where the skin is rubbed off
- passing gas
- redness or swelling in the ear
- redness, pain, swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
- runny nose
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- tightness in the chest
- tingling in the hands and feet
- trouble sleeping
- trouble swallowing
- trouble thinking
- unexplained weight loss
- voice changes
- weakness or loss of strength
- weight gain
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect gabapentin?
Taking gabapentin with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic medication, 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 your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use gabapentin only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
- Will Gabapentin affect pregnancy or breastfeeding?
- Gabapentin- Drug interactions that can affect your health
- Gabapentin – Dosage information for RLS, Epilepsy and Postherpetic Neuralgia
- Gabapentin- An anticonvulsant used to treat seizures
- Common, Major and Minor side effects of Gabapentin
- Treatment effects of gabapentin for primary insomnia
- Gabapentin Side Effects Weight Gain
- Gabapentin for Migraine and Gabapentin for Migraine Dosage
- the ingredients in NEURONTIN
- Gabapentin Improves Menopausal Hot Flashes, Insomnia