Gabapentin (Neurontin) - Uses, Interactions, Side Effects, Precautions
What Is Gabapentin (Neurontin)?
Neurontin is an anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) medicine often used to prevent the occurrence of seizures as well as post-herpetic neuralgia. It minimizes the pain associated with peripheral diabetic neuropathy as well as postherpetic neuralgia. Details of how it entirely works have not yet been revealed, but its structure is similar to that of a neurotransmitter Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). It is possible that this similarity is related to its mechanism of action.
How It Was Invented
Gabapentin was discovered 40 years ago by a Japanese scientist named Gerhard Satzinger. Initially, he was looking for a muscle relaxant or antispasmodic. Later in 2000, Parke-Davis bought it and contacted several tests on it to find out its effectiveness in treating people with epilepsy. It was during this time that he started giving out the medicine to some patient to confirm its efficacy. When you buy Neurontin Gabapentin 300mg tablets then you should be careful.
Initially, it was only issued at low doses. In other words, it was taken together with other anticonvulsants as back up. After several cases, doctors started issuing it alone, and they found that it worked efficiently. FDA then approved it.
How to Take Neurontin Generic?
Just like the other medications, Gabapentin should only be considered as per the doctor's prescription. Different patients are given different instructions depending on
- The specific condition you are treating
- The extent of your illness/ how severe it is
- Your age
- Any other medical conditions you are suffering from
- Your reaction to the first dose
- Body weight
This drug comes in several forms, and each works in the body differently. This explains why the dosage for the various types is always different. Ensure that you carefully go through the medication instructions and guidance in the label or medicine leaflet. Be sure to inform your healthcare practitioner in case of any question or concerns. When using the tablet and your pharmacist or doctor instructs you to split it by half, keep the remaining half safely and if possible keep it in an enclosed package.
If, due to some unavoidable circumstances, you are unable to finish the dose in time, discard the remaining half after seven days. When using the capsules, take them with plenty of water. In many cases, your doctor will first give you a small dose and late increase it after observing its reactions in your body. Also, to reduce the occurrence of side effects, take this medication before sleeping. This will not only increase its effectiveness but also minimize seizures.
For maximum benefits, Gabapentin should be taken at least three times. It also works remarkably well when the body is kept at constant. Take a lot of water during and in between the intervals to keep your body well hydrated. Don't stay for more than 12 hours without taking your dose; the seizures may be increased.
Drug interactions do not only reduce the effectiveness of the medications but also trigger adverse reactions. Therefore, do not start, start or change your dosage without engaging your healthcare provider first. Some of the drugs that interact with Neurontin are
- Antihistamines (Diphenhydramine, Cetirizine)
- Sleeping and Anxiety medications such as diazepam and alprazolam
- Muscle Relaxants
- Narcotic Pain Relievers (morphine, codeine)
Gabapentin may also interact with all drugs that contain the ingredients used in making it. For instance, Enacarbil. Be sure to reveal all the medications you are currently using be it prescribed, over the counter drugs, vitamin supplements or herbal medicines. This will help in preventing the possibility of having interactions.
Gabapentin Side Effects
Every drug has side effects, the doctor prescribes the medicine when the benefits outweigh the side effects. For this reason, Gabapentin has both the expected and unwanted side effects. However, most of the patients using this medication do not experience any effects at all. Inform your doctor immediately if you experience swelling in your ankles and hands or feet.
Few people taking this drug or any other anticonvulsants in general to treat seizures and bipolar disorders experience suicidal thoughts, depression and other behavioural / mood changes. However, it's essential to inform your healthcare giver if either you or your dear one gets suicidal thought after using this medication.
Some severe reactions associated with Neurontin are shallow and slow breathing. In most occasions, the drug should be discontinued immediately, or the dose changed. Some allergic responses like swollen lymph nodes, itching and swelling, severe dizziness, fever and trouble breathing may also happen.
Other side effects not mentioned here may also happen. To be safe, ensure that you inform your doctor of any changes that raise concern. Don’t take any other medicine to relieve the side effects; the conditions
Do not take this drug if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients. Also, inform the doctor if you have any of the following medical conditions
- Kidney Disease or Failure (especially when on dialysis)
- Breathing Problems
- Mood/ Mental Problems and Disorders, Depression
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Drugs/Alcohol Abuse
Neurontin may cause severe dizziness and drowsiness. You should, therefore, avoid doing heavy work or driving immediately after taking it.
When using the drug to treat your little one, pay close attention to any immediate reactions and behaviour. This is because young children tend to be more prone to the side effects as compared to adults. Some of the changes to keep a keen eye on are a loss of coordination, dizziness and concentration problems and restlessness.
It's not safe to use it during pregnancy. Hence it's important to inform your doctor about your pregnancy status. Gabapentin also passes through breast milk thus the drug is not suitable for use when lactating. However, your doctor will help you in making a decision.
How Effective Is Gabapentin?
A study conducted on the effectiveness of Gabapentin found out that taking between 1800mg to 3600 mg doses of the drug provides excellent results in relieving peripheral diabetic neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia pains. When compared to the rest of anticonvulsants, it provides the best results. However, it’s most beneficial when the dosage is followed keenly.