Does gabapentin cause weight loss: Changes in body weight with chronic, high-dose gabapentin therapy
3 Most Common Side Effects of Gabapentin
If you’ve battled epilepsy and seizures, you may have heard of Gabapentin; the drug is more commonly known by its brand names of Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant.
Gabapentin is typically safe when used responsibly & according to the recommended dose by your doctor. However, there are a few side effects that have been seen in a large number of people taking the drug.
What Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant prescription medication, commonly used to treat:
- Epileptic seizures
- Shingles pain (neuralgia)
- Diabetes nerve pain
- Restless Leg Syndrome
It eases these complications by influencing neurotransmitters, which send messages through nerve cells. The drug calms down the nerve activity to relieve different kinds of pain.
Things to Know Before Taking Gabapentin
Like with all prescription drugs, it’s important to learn all the necessary information and use caution before taking any brand of Gabapentin. Here are some facts about the drug that you may want to know before you or a loved one starts the prescription:
- Gabapentin can treat seizures in both children and adults — can start at 3 years old
- Some forms and brands need to be taken with food.
- Rare cases of withdrawal have been reported. Withdrawal and severe complications only occurs when Gabapentin is misused.
- Seizure medications like Gabapentin can increase risk of suicidal thoughts & behavior.
Symptoms of Taking Gabapentin
As well as learning the risks, you should know the symptoms of Gabapentin before beginning to use the drug. Below are the most common side effects.
Dizziness and Incoordination
One of the main symptoms of Gabapentin is dizziness. This can lead to adjoining effects, like incoordination and trouble walking. Try to make sure you’re relaxing when taking the drug, to ensure optimal comfortability in case dizziness occurs.
Drowsiness, while one of the most common side effects, is most likely to occur when you first start taking Gabapentin. This symptom may fade with time as the body adjusts to the drug.
Another symptom is water retention, which causes swelling of the hands, arms, legs, and feet. This may lead to weight gain.
Children who take Gabapentin may have different side effects, including anxiety and behavioral problems. If your child experiences epileptic seizures, talk to their pediatrician before they start taking any anticonvulsant.
Managing Side Effects
While you may not be able to necessarily avoid the side effects of Gabapentin, you may be able to manage them. Here are a few ways you can minimize the symptoms:
- Avoid combining with other prescription medications
- Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications that may reduce symptoms
- Don’t drive or operate machinery after taking
- Create a diet and exercise plan
With the right behavioral patterns, you can successfully manage your dosage of Gabapentin while fighting the nerve pain that led you to take the medication in the first place.
See a doctor if you experience trouble breathing, severe weakness, hives, or rashes. Talk to a specialist before stopping. To learn more about using prescription medication responsibly, call 866-345-1543.
Does Gabapentin (Neurontin) Cause Weight Gain?
Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a medication that was developed as a treatment for neuropathic pain and as an adjunct for seizures. It is also commonly prescribed off-label for conditions such as: restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, migraines, and even anxiety disorders. In fact, an estimated 9/10 prescriptions for the drug are for off-label conditions.
The drug is frequently used off-label due to the fact that it is considered to have a low potential for abuse and is regarded as non-addictive. Due to the fact that the drug elicits both analgesic and anticonvulsant effects, it is sometimes preferred by those undergoing various types of surgery. It reduces preoperative anxiety via its mechanism acting on GABAergic neurotransmission, and provides postoperative pain relief.
Although many people find that Gabapentin is an effective treatment for neuropathic pain, seizures, and various off-label conditions – many people experience unwanted side effects. One unwanted side effect that has been reported in a small percentage of users is weight gain. Those that gain significant weight on Gabapentin may be tempted to discontinue as a result of a compromised body-image.
Does Gabapentin (Neurontin) Cause Weight Gain?
Gabapentin is a drug that isn’t associated with clinically significant weight gain. It is estimated that approximately 3% of all users will experience some form of weight gain. Most people won’t notice any significant fluctuations in body weight throughout their treatment. For this reason, Gabapentin is often referred to as a “weight neutral” drug.
That said, there are some studies highlighting the fact that weight gain can occur on Gabapentin, especially when taken at high doses. In one study of 28 patients taking 3000 mg per day of Gabapentin, 10 patients gained approximately 10% of their bodyweight. Despite this finding, the majority of patients remained weight neutral, and some even lost weight (3 patients).
While more individuals are likely to gain weight as opposed to lose weight on Gabapentin, most individuals won’t notice any significant change in bodyweight. However, it is important to understand that many pharmaceutical companies underestimate the potential of their drug to cause weight gain in effort to increase sales. If you end up gaining weight, it may be difficult to distinguish whether it’s a result of the drug or blatantly poor health choices.
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9263379
How Gabapentin Causes Weight Gain: List of Possibilities
Gabapentin has a poorly understood mechanism of action and weight gain is uncommon. Since there is some confusion regarding the precise neurophysiological effects of the drug, it is difficult to pinpoint the specific cause of weight gain. There are many theories in regards to why you may pack on some extra poundage while taking Gabapentin.
- Appetite increase: Some people notice that Gabapentin significantly increases their appetite. If you’ve been taking Gabapentin and have been feeling hungrier than usual, it may be more than a coincidence. Certain individuals find that they consume more because the drug is increasing their appetite. An increased appetite can be difficult to control, and as a result, some people gain weight.
- Arousal reduction: Gabapentin is known to act on the neurotransmission of GABA in the brain. GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and ultimately reduces arousal. Those feeling reductions in physiological arousal may have a difficult time summoning up the energy to start (or finish) a workout.
- Drowsiness: The most common side effect of Gabapenin is drowsiness. If you feel drowsy each time you take Gabapentin, you probably won’t feel like moving, let alone working out. This drowsiness may lead to a significant decrease in physical activity and an increase in sedentary behavior. The lack of physical activity as a result of drowsiness can result in weight gain, especially if your dietary intake remains the same or increases.
- Fatigue: Some people report that Gabapentin makes them feel exceptionally sluggish and fatigued. This feeling of fatigue may stem from the most common side effect associated with the drug – drowsiness. If you feel more fatigued than usual, this may trigger a cascade effect of metabolism slowing and physical inactivity.
- Food cravings: Various anecdotal reports have claimed that Gabapentin increased their cravings for sugary foods and carbohydrates. If you are craving sugary foods and end up following through with consumption of those foods, weight gain is likely. Consuming excess sugary foods leads to blood sugar changes and metabolic fluctuations; all making weight gain likely.
- Hormone levels: Any drug that alters brain chemicals and the nervous system has potential to alter hormone levels. While hormone alterations may not be significant or even common among everyone using Gabapentin, the possibility should not be ruled out. Hormonal alterations may be significant enough to cause weight gain.
- Low energy: Those experiencing reductions in energy while taking Gabapentin are not alone. Energy reductions commonly occur when individuals take drugs that act on GABA; Gabapentin regulates two enzymes involved in GABA synthesis. The altered synthesis may result in drowsiness, fatigue, and ultimately low neurophysiological energy. This low energy may translate directly to packing on some unwanted baggage.
- Reduced motivation: Staying motivated on Gabapentin may be difficult as a result of the drug’s effect on neurotransmission and physiology. Its effect upon the synthesis of GABA commonly results in drowsiness characterized by decreased cognitive and physiological arousal. Reductions in arousal commonly result in motivational deficits and/or amotivational behavior.
- Slow metabolism: Taking any drug that acts on GABA will likely reduce physiological arousal. The reduction in arousal can actually slow your metabolism, leading you to gain weight even without changing your dietary intake or exercise regimen. In other words, your diet and exercise routine may be the exact same pre-drug as during treatment, but you may still gain weight – this is thanks to the slowing of your metabolism.
- Social eating: Many untreated medical conditions can result in social isolation, which means you probably aren’t going out to eat with friends as much. Let’s say you start taking Gabapentin for anxiety or neuropathic pain, and are now able to function better in social situations. As a result, you may start to go out with friends more frequently, eating bigger portions and making unhealthy choices.
- Taste improvement: It is possible for some people to subjectively notice a change in taste sensation when taking Gabapentin. While extremely unlikely, it is yet another possible explanation for weight gain. If food all of a sudden tastes significantly better than it did prior to taking the drug, you’re probably going to eat more.
- Water retention: Some believe that the drug may increase water retention, thus contributing to a weight increase as a result of retained water. This may result in feeling bloated and to some people, the extra weight via water retention may be blatantly obvious. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to mitigate this side effect.
Note: It is important to note that weight gain on Gabapentin is largely subject to individual variation. Certain individuals may experience weight gain as a result of a single factor (e.g. food cravings), while others may gain weight as a result of multiple factors (e.g. slow metabolism, fatigue, and appetite increase).
Factors responsible for weight gain on Gabapentin (Neurontin)
There are many factors that may influence weight gain (or change) on Gabapentin. The most influential factors include: time span (how long you’ve been taking the drug), the dosage, other medications (drugs often interact), your lifestyle, and genetics.
1. Time Span
For some people, the duration over which they’ve been taking Gabapentin will influence their weight gain. Some people may notice no weight gain when they first start taking the drug, but may start to pack on some extra baggage after a year. One study suggests that weight gain most commonly occurs between months 2 and 3 of treatment and stabilizes after 6 to 9 months.
- Short-term: Those that have been taking Gabapentin over a short-term may notice some temporary fluctuations in body weight as their physiology acclimates to the drug. These short-term changes tend to occur during the first few weeks of treatment. While weight gain may be alarming over the short-term, it’s not necessarily what will occur over the long-term.
- Long-term: It is common for people to report that they gain weight over the course of long-term treatment with Gabapentin. Long-term treatment with any drug will alter physiological processes and the body becomes more prone to side effects – including weight gain. Some people take the drug for years without any weight gain, while others notice incremental increases with each successive year of treatment.
Some literature indicates that there is no established relationship between dosage and weight gain. Stating that there is no established relationship between dosage and weight gain does not mean that this applies to everyone. Some people may notice that they’re significantly more prone to weight gain at higher doses.
Those that gain weight on lower doses may experience an amplified effect of weight increases at higher doses. Therefore it may be a good idea to take the minimal effective dose to minimize potential weight fluctuations.
3. Other Medications
If you are taking any other medications, it’s important to consider the fact that they may be contributing to the weight gain. Unless you have been on another drug for a long-term and haven’t noted any weight changes, it’s difficult to conclude that Gabapentin is the culprit for your weight gain. Even if you don’t think another medication is contributing to your weight gain, it is important to consider the potential of an interaction.
Certain mechanisms of action associated with your other medication(s) may interact with the Gabapentin to promote weight gain. If you started taking another drug simultaneously with Gabapentin and are gaining weight, consider that it may be caused by the other drug. You may also want to consider other non-pharmaceutical drugs and alcohol as potential culprits.
It is important to consider the influence of your lifestyle on your bodyweight. Everyone wants to use the latest drug that they’re taking as a scapegoat excuse for their weight gain. If you are sedentary for most of the day, don’t make any effort to get physical activity, eat unhealthy foods high in carbohydrates and sugars – you shouldn’t be surprised if you gain weight.
While diet and exercise are important elements to consider as causes of weight gain, you may also want to consider sleeping habits and stress level. Someone getting a poor night’s sleep consistently and/or an individual with high stress is much more likely to gain weight. Consider lifestyle influences before assuming that Gabapentin is the problem.
Much of weight gain on medications is subject to genetics. Take two people with identically healthy lifestyles and put them on the same dosage of Gabapentin for the same duration. One of those individuals may end up gaining 10 lbs., while the other may lose 5 lbs. What would explain the difference between these two individuals? Genetics as well as epigenetics or gene expression in response to the environment.
Fortunately new technology is available like GeneSight to help predict genetic responses to various medications. Genetics influence our physiological reactions to Gabapentin, thus dictating side effects – including whether we gain weight, remain weight neutral, or even lose weight.
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24308788
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23865122
How much weight will you gain on Gabapentin?
Based on the fact that few studies exist analyzing Gabapentin’s effect on bodyweight, it is difficult to predict how much weight you’ll gain while taking the drug. One study suggested that those who gain weight will gain between 5% and 10% of their baseline body weight. In other words, if you weighed 200 lbs. prior to taking Gabapentin and gained weight – you’d probably gain between 10 lbs. and 20 lbs.
In another study published in 2013, the gastroretentive format of Gabapentin was analyzed over the course of 24 weeks. Patients did report weight gain, but the average weight gain was approximately 1.6 lbs. This suggests that over the course of 2 years treatment with Gabapentin, weight gain is likely to be minimal among those who do gain weight.
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9263379
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23370075
Does everyone gain weight from Gabapentin?
Certainly not everyone gains weight while taking Gabapentin. It is estimated that over 90% of individuals taking the drug will experience no significant weight change. Of the remaining individuals, some will actually experience weight loss. Clinical trials suggest that less than 3% of all Gabapentin users will gain weight – this means that only a small number of people 3/100 will gain weight.
Some speculate that more people gain weight than what is reported by the drug company and/or clinical documentation. This drug is considered a predecessor to Lyrica (Pregabalin), which is associated with weight gain. There is evidence linking Lyrica and weight gain, suggesting that 10% to 20% of users will gain weight.
Since a greater percentage of Lyrica users gain weight, and Gabapentin is similar – some believe that the reports of weight gain on Gabapentin are low-ball estimates. Despite these theories, the bulk of scientific evidence suggests that most people will not gain significant weight while taking Gabapentin. In addition, a very small percentage of individuals will actually lose a bit of weight.
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16397976
Comparing the therapeutic effect vs. weight gain
Among those who gain weight on Gabapentin, it is important to consider the therapeutic effect of the drug. Always conduct a cost-benefit analysis and determine the severity of the weight gain compared to the benefit derived from Gabapentin treatment. If you’re getting significant relief from your neuropathic pain and only gained a few pounds over the course of several months, you probably shouldn’t care too much about the weight gain.
However, if you managed to balloon in weight, gaining a significant amount – you may want to talk to your doctor. At a certain point, weight gain from any medication may get excessive and should be considered unacceptable. Gaining a significant amount of weight can put you at risk for other health conditions and may be detrimental to your self-esteem – leading to depression.
If you gained a fair amount of weight, but the drug is very therapeutic for a certain condition – you may feel as if you’re in a difficult situation. Always talk to a medical professional to assess your options that may include: Gabapentin withdrawal and/or switching to another medication. Certain people may be able to find a different medication that better suits their physiology.
Did you gain weight taking Gabapentin?
If you ended up gaining weight while taking Gabapentin, be sure to share a comment below with some details. Discuss how long you took Gabapentin, the dosage, as well as any other medications you were taking simultaneously that may have caused you to gain weight. Share why you believe the drug caused you to gain weight (e.g. drowsiness, food cravings, etc.).
Neurontin side effects: How do I manage them?
What are common side effects of Neurontin? How can I manage side effects?
Answer From Cheolsu Shin, M.D.
Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise) is a medication used to help manage certain epileptic seizures and relieve pain for some conditions, such as shingles (postherpetic neuralgia). Dizziness and drowsiness are common gabapentin side effects. Weight gain and uncoordinated movement are possible side effects.
Some gabapentin side effects, such as drowsiness, are more likely to occur when you first start taking the drug. These side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medication. But if you’re dizzy, unsteady or drowsy, avoid any activities — such as driving or operating machinery — that could be dangerous.
Side effects sometimes occur because of a combination of drugs you’re taking. Gabapentin doesn’t generally interact with other medications, but antacid medications, such as Maalox, can affect the way your body absorbs gabapentin. To avoid this issue, be sure to take gabapentin antacids at least two hours apart from each other.
One concern about certain anti-seizure medications, including gabapentin, is that they might cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Some studies have found an increase in suicidal behaviors in people taking anti-seizure medications, but the research is unclear about whether or not the medication actually increases this risk. Be sure to talk to a doctor or mental health care provider immediately if you’re having suicidal thoughts.
And let your doctor know if you have questions about gabapentin side effects or are experiencing troublesome side effects that aren’t going away.
April 01, 2021
- Gabapentin. Epilepsy Foundation. https://www.epilepsy.com/medications/gabapentin/advanced. Accessed June 19, 2018.
- Neurontin (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2015. http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=630. Accessed June 19, 2018.
- Information for healthcare professionals: Suicidal behavior and ideation and antiepileptic drugs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://wayback.archive-it.org/7993/20171114185152/https:/www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm100192.htm. Accessed June 22, 2018.
- Hesdorffer DC, et al. Occurrence and recurrence of attempted suicide among people with epilepsy. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73:80.
- Mula M, et al. Antiepileptic drugs and suicidality: An expert consensus statement from the Task Force on Therapeutic Strategies of the ILAE Commission on Neuropsychobiology. Epilepsia. 2013;544:199.
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6 Gabapentin Side Effects To Know
If you’ve ever experienced nerve pain, you know that typical pain meds like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, frankly, don’t cut it.
That’s because nerve pain—often described as a burning, prickling, or tingling pain—is totally different from, say, menstrual pain, which is considered visceral pain (pain in the organs), or muscle pain, which is considered somatic pain (when pain receptors in tissues are activated).
That’s why many people who suffer from neuropathy, a.k.a. nerve pain, turn to gabapentin, also sold under the brand name Neurontin.
“We use it a lot when there is any type of irritated nerve, most commonly lumbar radiculopathy—sciatica, in laymen’s terms. Or radiating neck pain that goes into the arms and hands,” says Kiran Patel, M.D., director of neurosurgical pain at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York.
It’s also prescribed to treat pain linked to nerve damage from diabetes and chemotherapy, she says. Unlike other pain meds like opiods, which work by blocking feelings of pain, gabapentin changes the way the body senses pain.
The drug is often prescribed off-label, too, says Patel. (That means doctors prescribe it to help treat conditions the FDA hasn’t approved it for.) Case in point: Non-pain related conditions like anxiety and alcohol withdrawal can benefit from gabapentin, says Andrew Saxon, M.D., chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Addiction Psychiatry.
But, because gabapentin can work for multiple conditions, some doctors fear that it’s being over-prescribed. A 2017 report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests gabapentin is being increasingly prescribed for almost any type of pain.
In 2016, it was the 10th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States with a total of 64 million prescriptions dispensed that year, up from 39 million prescriptions in 2012, according to the report.
On top of that, recent news reports suggest the drug has the potential for abuse and misuse. Officials in Kentucky and Ohio are reporting it’s shown up in people who’ve overdosed on opioids.
Though the drug isn’t believed to be the cause of the overdoses, which are linked to drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, it could be a contributing factor, says Patel explaining that it may be the result of “polypharmacy”—the use of multiple drugs at the same time to treat a condition. Gabapentin may also help enhance the euphoria caused by opioids.
According to Patel and Saxon, gabapentin is usually well-tolerated when taken as directed. Still, it’s important to be aware of these gabapentin side effects.
You always feel woozy and drowsy, even after a good night’s sleep.
The most common gabapentin side effect is drowsiness, says Saxon. That sleepy feeling may be more pronounced when you first start taking gabapentin and then slowly goes away as your body adjusts to the medication, according to the Mayo Clinic. Don’t get behind the wheel (golf carts and bikes included) if it makes you feel groggy. If the drowsiness doesn’t go away, check in with your doctor who can work with you on tweaking the dose, or may suggest weaning you off.
You’re having memory issues or trouble forming thoughts.
“I’ve seen some of my patients who don’t feel as sharp cognitively and have issues with memory,” says Patel. Talk with your doctor about this symptom before you stop taking the drug. Just don’t stop cold-turkey—you’ll likely have to taper off of the medicine, since suddenly stopping gabapentin can make you feel worse, says Patel.
You’re kind of wobbly too.
Balance problems may also be a side effect of taking gabapentin, along with uncoordinated movement, says Patel. Again, tell your doctor, who may want to adjust your dose or discuss other pain relief options.
You’re on other medications and start to feel worse after beginning a course of gabapentin.
Definitely do not mix gabapentin with opioids without consulting with your doctor first. Tell your doctor if you’re using herbal drugs, too, like ginkgo biloba, which can lessen then effects of gabapentin. Antacids can also reduce the effectiveness of the drug. But it’s okay to combine gabapentin with the (proper dosage) of over-the-counter pain relievers ibuprofen or acetaminphen, Patel says.
You’ve been feeling depressed lately.
Gabapentin side effects can also include an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about this possible in 2008). Talk to a doctor or a mental health expert right away if you’re experiencing these thoughts or feelings.
You’re having difficulty breathing.
“Gabapentin should not be taken with other medicines that can cause sedation, including Benadryl, sleep aids, muscle relaxants — and most definitely not with alcohol — because of the potential risk of respiratory depression. Even cough syrup,” says Patel.
It should also be noted, that you should talk to your doctor if you’re taking gabapentin and are pregnant or are considering pregnancy; gabapentin’s side effects in pregnancy have not been well-researched.
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Gabapentin: medicine to treat epilepsy
Gabapentin is a prescription medicine. It’s important to take it as advised by your doctor.
The usual dose of gabapentin to:
- treat epilepsy in adults and older children (aged 12 years and over) is between 900mg and 3,600mg a day split into 3 doses
- treat nerve pain in adults is between 900mg and 3,600mg a day split into 3 doses
- prevent migraine in adults varies, but can be up to 2,400mg a day split into 3 doses
The dose of gabapentin used to treat epilepsy in younger children (aged 6 to 12 years) varies depending on their weight.
If you’re taking gabapentin as a liquid, 1ml is usually the same as taking a 50mg tablet or capsule. Always check the label.
How to take it
Swallow gabapentin capsules and tablets whole with a drink of water or juice. Do not chew them.
You can take gabapentin with or without food, but it’s best to do the same each day.
Try to space your doses evenly through the day. For example, first thing in the morning, early afternoon and at bedtime.
If you or your child are taking a liquid, it’ll come with a plastic syringe or spoon to measure your dose.
Do not use a kitchen spoon, as it will not give the right amount.
If you don’t have a spoon, ask your pharmacist for one.
Will my dose go up or down?
To prevent side effects, your doctor will prescribe a low dose to start with and then increase it over a few days.
Once you find a dose that suits you, it’ll usually stay the same.
How long will I take it for?
If you have epilepsy, it’s likely that once your illness is under control you’ll still need to take gabapentin for many years.
If you have nerve pain, it’s likely that once the pain has gone you’ll continue to take gabapentin for several months to stop it coming back.
What if I forget to take it?
If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember.
If it’s within 2 hours of the next dose, it’s better to leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.
Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you have epilepsy, it’s important to take this medicine regularly. Missing doses may trigger a seizure.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you.
You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I take too much?
Taking too much gabapentin by accident can cause unpleasant side effects.
10 FAQs Including Side Effects, Weight Gain, and Dosages
Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant sold under the brand name Neurontin, is used to treat seizures and neuropathic pain. It is often considered as a first line of therapy to patients with diabetic neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia. With more than 46 million prescriptions, gabapentin is one of the most common medications in the US.
The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions.
1. How does gabapentin work?
Researchers are not entirely sure how gabapentin works. However, they believe based on several studies that gabapentin binds itself to calcium channels in the central nervous system (CNS). This binding decreases neurotransmitter (chemical substance released at the end of a nerve fiber) release in the CNS as a result of reduced calcium influx. This mechanism is believed to be responsible for relieving nerve pain and reducing the risk of seizures.
2. How long does gabapentin take to work?
Due to the nature of the drug, patients often are eager to know how soon they can expect results. Unfortunately, every patient will respond differently to gabapentin, and there is no one straightforward answer. Peak concentrations of the drug will occur within a couple of hours of taking it, and some effects may be felt within a week. However, for many patients, it takes up to two weeks for relief from pain and frequent seizures to occurs.
3. How long does gabapentin stay in your system?
Just like the length of time, it takes for the drug to work the time it takes to leave a patient’s system will also vary. Typically, in adult patients, the half-life of gabapentin is between 5 and 7 hours. This means that after that time, the concentration of gabapentin in the body will be reduced by half. It can take several half-lives for gabapentin to leave the body entirely. In general, after 1 to 2 days, there will be no gabapentin left in your system.
4. What are the side effects of gabapentin?
Gabapentin can potentially cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. The list below includes some of the most common side effects but is not a complete list. Mild side effects may go away after a few days or weeks of consistent medication-taking, but if they persist or worsen you should speak with your doctor.
Common side effects:
Severe side effects:
- Chest pain
- Blurry vision
- Memory loss
- Shortness of breath
- Urinary problems
If you experience any of these serious side effects, you should speak with your doctor or seek immediate medical attention if it is an emergency.
In some rare cases, patients can experience allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking Abilify.
- Skin rash
- Tightness in the throat or chest
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
5. What drugs should you avoid taking with gabapentin?
Some of the most known interactions with gabapentin are losartan, ethacrynic acid, caffeine, phenytoin, mefloquine, magnesium oxide, cimetidine, naproxen, and morphine. Even if you are not taking any of these, you need to speak with your doctor about any other medications or supplements you are taking before beginning treatment with gabapentin.
6. How do you avoid gaining weight while taking gabapentin?
Patients who have been prescribed gabapentin are often concerned about weight gain as a side effect. However, they should note, weight gain is a very rare side effect, observed in less than 5% of patients. In cases where weight gain does occur, it is typically a result of an increased appetite or reduced exercise caused by the drug. Some ways to avoid weight gain include eating smaller meals throughout the day, exercising when possible, and eating low-calorie snacks like fruit to help curb hunger.
7. What is the right gabapentin dosage for me?
The proper dosage of gabapentin will vary between patients and is based on several factors. You should always follow your doctor’s instructions or the directions on the label. That said, the typical dose for adults is a single 300mg dose takien in the evening. This is followed by adjustments given by your doctor as needed. However, doses will typically not exceed 1800mg per day.
8. Can you drink alcohol while taking gabapentin?
It is not considered safe to drink alcohol while taking gabapentin. If you drink alcohol with gabapentin the side effects may become amplified. The combination may lead to dizziness, extreme fatigue, and difficulty focusing.
9. Is gabapentin addictive?
Gabapentin is often considered to be a less addictive alternative to opioids. However, gabapentin addiction and abuse still can occur. This is especially true in patients with a predisposition towards addiction or a history of substance abuse. If you are concerned about the addictiveness of gabapentin you should speak with your doctor before taking it.
10. Is it safe to take gabapentin for sleep?
Gabapentin’s primary use is in treating seizures and neuropathic pain. However, in some cases, it may also be used for treating insomnia. It is considered to be safe and effective as a treatment for insomnia, but you must speak with your doctor before taking it as a sleep aid, even if you’ve already been prescribed gabapentin for other symptoms.
The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions.
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10 Common Medications That May Cause Weight Gain
For anyone who’s watched a drug commercial, it’s no surprise that many medications come with a long list of side effects, some of which may make you want to give up on taking them altogether. One common risk on these lists: weight gain. While this effect may not be dangerous in itself, depending on your health goals, a higher number on the scale can be distressing. That’s why it’s important to be prepared, understand why weight gain can happen, and feel confident that it’s not something you have to deal with. Indeed, there may be other options available.
Anytime you start a new medication, ask your pharmacist for basic information, such as what the medication is used for and its side effects, says Ashley Ellis, PharmD, CDCES, the director of clinical operations at Compwell in Collierville, Tennessee. If weight gain is probable and you’re uncomfortable with that, ask your doctor if you can be on a lower dose or if there are other options, she says. Of course, you’ll still want to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits (or start if you’re not in a routine already).
RELATED: 9 Hard Truths About Weight Loss
Whether you’re on a drug to treat anxiety or depression, a steroid to relieve the pain of arthritis, or an antihistamine to gain control of the sniffles and sneezes of allergies, here’s how they may affect your weight.
1. Tricyclic Antidepressants
Medications include amitriptyline (Elavil), doxepin (Silenor), nortriptyline (Pamelor). “As a class, these drugs may increase appetite to stimulate weight gain,” says Jessica Nouhavandi, PharmD, the co-CEO and cofounder of Honeybee Health, in Culver City, California. If you’re on antidepressants, don’t stop taking them abruptly; discuss it first with your doctor and develop a plan that will best support your mental health, notes Harvard Women’s Health Watch. If weight gain is making you want to stop taking your medication, you can talk to your doctor about switching to another class of antidepressants. “Bupropion (Wellbutrin XL or SR) or duloxetine (Cymbalta) are more associated with weight loss, while fluoxetine (Prozac) is considered weight neutral,” says Dr. Nouhavandi.
Oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone (sold under brand names like Rayos, Deltasone, and Prednicot, notes the Mayo Clinic), treat a range of conditions, from asthma and arthritis to back pain and lupus, says Dr. Ellis. “These have a lot of side effects, one of which is an increased appetite, fluid retention, and an altered metabolism,” she explains. Pharmacists recommend taking corticosteroids along with food, and Ellis suggests a healthy, balanced snack, such as almonds or a container of yogurt. Oral steroids are usually recommended for a short amount of time (for instance, a week or two-week dose), which limits side effects. If they must be taken long term, weight gain may be more difficult to control, and you’ll have to be more diligent with diet and exercise, she says.
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If you have allergies or had an itchy rash, you’ve likely taken antihistamines. “Studies have shown that people who take certain antihistamines on a regular basis have a higher body weight and waist circumference compared with those who do not,” says Ellis. Past research in the journal Obesity has found this association with the h2 receptor antihistamines cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), and desloratadine (Clarinex). Why? “Histamine in the body turns off hunger signals,” explains Ellis. In contrast, antihistamines may somehow interfere with fullness signals, she says. One alternative are nasal steroid sprays like fluticasone propionate (Flonase). These work differently from oral steroids, and are generally not associated with weight gain, she says.
4. Epilepsy Medications
Drugs that treat seizures, including gabapentin (Gralise), pregabalin (Lyrica), and vigabatrin (Sabril) may increase your appetite, says Nouhavandi; excess calories from greater food consumption can eventually lead to weight gain. “If you are a patient taking one of these medications, it’s important to be aware that weight gain may be a consequence. If you feel that the medication is not for you, talk to your doctor about switching to epileptic medications that are associated with weight loss or are weight neutral,” she says. Ask about felbamate (Felbatrol), topiramate (Topamax), or lamotrigine (Lamictal).
Beta-blockers are commonly used to treat hypertension, says Aaron Emmel, PharmD, the founder of PharmacyTechScholar.com in St. Augustine, Florida. Some are more likely to cause weight gain, including atenolol (Tenormin) and metoprolol (Lopressor), notes the Mayo Clinic. The reason behind an uptick on the scale isn’t clear, Dr. Emmel says, but beta-blockers can make you tired, especially as you first start taking the medication. “It slows down your heart rate and can decrease your exercise tolerance,” he says. The fatigue and discomfort during activity may make you more likely to stay sedentary, prompting weight gain. A study published in the journal Gastroenterology in May 2017 showed the drug may decrease metabolism, too. For that reason, the researchers suggest that individuals who are overweight or have obesity should not be prescribed beta-blockers as a first-line treatment. Instead, ACE inhibitors may be a better option, but talk to your doctor.
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SSRIs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a type of antidepressant, which increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, explains the Mayo Clinic. Examples include escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft). These may cause weight gain by affecting your appetite; also, by alleviating symptoms of mood disorders, they may also affect eating or exercise habits, says Emmel. “If you experience weight gain, talk to your physician. Weight gain usually happens early, which signals that it can become a long-term problem for you,” he says.
MAOI stands for monoamine oxidase inhibitor, which an August 2020 article in StatPearls notes treats depression by blocking a brain enzyme that breaks down mood-balancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. It may also be used to reduce migraine symptoms. And they may also stimulate appetite, says Nouhavandi, who notes that phenelzine (Nardil) causes the most weight gain in this class of drugs. If this is a concern for you, ask your doctor if there are alternative options.
RELATED: How Constantly Feeling Stressed May Lead to Weight Gain
If you’re taking insulin to treat diabetes, know that it may promote weight gain. Namely, because the hormone helps your body absorb the glucose from your bloodstream. “Glucose is a good thing — the cells in your body use it to work efficiently,” says Mitchell Howard, PharmD, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Ohio. That said, after sugar is absorbed from the bloodstream and pushed into cells, if it’s not used by your body for energy, it will be converted into fat. If you’re overeating, particularly high-sugar foods (candy, desserts), you’ll gain weight, he says. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin. Yet if you have type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes will help improve insulin function, and you may be able to use diet and exercise to lower (or eventually eliminate) your insulin dosage, says Dr. Howard.
Another common class of diabetes medication, sulfonylureas, reduce blood sugar levels by 20 percent but also cause a weight gain of about four to five pounds on average, notes a study published August 2015 in the Archives of Medical Science. Sulfonylureas include gliclazide (Diamicron) and glibenclamide (Glynase). These drugs stimulate pancreatic beta cells to release insulin. “More insulin in your bloodstream pushes sugar into your cells,” says Howard. In the end, they cause weight gain in a similar way as an injectable insulin. There are diabetes medications, including metformin or SGLT2 inhibitors, that also promote weight loss or are weight neutral, says Howard. The type of drug that’s best for you depends on your medical history, current health status, and cost considerations, he adds.
RELATED: 7 Smart Tips for Successful Weight Loss When Managing Diabetes
These medications can be used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. One in particular — olanzapine (Zyprexa) is associated with the highest potential to gain weight compared with other antipsychotics, says Howard. What’s more, these types of drugs impair glucose function and increase cholesterol and triglycerides, putting patients more at risk for developing metabolic syndrome, says an August 2017 review in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. Howard says lurasidone (Latuda) and ziprasidone (Geodon), two other antipsychotics, have a lower chance of causing weight gain.
Gabapentin: Pediatric Medication | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
This document, provided by Lexicomp ® , contains all the information you need to know about the drug, including the indications, route of administration, side effects and when you should contact your healthcare provider.
Trade names: USA
Trade names: Canada
ACT Gabapentin [DSC]; AG-Gabapentin; APO-Gabapentin; Auro-Gabapentin; BCI Gabapentin [DSC]; BIO-Gabapentin; DOM-Gabapentin; GD-Gabapentin [DSC]; GLN-Gabapentin; JAMP-Gabapentin; Mar-Gabapentin; MYLAN-Gabapentin [DSC]; Neurontin; PMS-Gabapentin; Priva-Gabapentin; PRO-Gabapentin; RAN-Gabapentin; RIVA-Gabapentin; TARO-Gabapentin; TEVA-Gabapentin; VAN-Gabapentin [DSC]
What is this drug used for?
- Used to control certain types of seizures.
- This drug can be given to children for other indications. Consult your doctor.
- If your child has taken this form of this drug, ask your doctor about the benefits and risks. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your child’s use of this drug.
What should I tell my doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?
- If your child is allergic to this drug, any of its ingredients, other drugs, foods, or substances.Tell your doctor about the allergy and how your child has it.
- If your child has kidney disease or is on dialysis.
This list of drugs and diseases that may be adversely associated with this drug is not exhaustive.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about all medications your child is taking (prescription and over-the-counter, natural products, and vitamins) and any health concerns.You need to make sure that this drug is safe for your child’s illness and in combination with other drugs that he or she is already taking. You should not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drug your child is taking without talking to your doctor.
What do I need to know or do while my child is taking this drug?
- Tell all health care providers for your child that your child is taking this drug.These are your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists.
- Have your child avoid tasks or activities that require attention until you see how this drug is working for your child. This includes cycling, playing sports, or using items such as scissors, lawn mowers, electric scooters, toy cars, or motorized vehicles.
- This drug may interfere with some laboratory tests.Tell all healthcare professionals and laboratory staff providing your child’s healthcare that your child is taking this drug.
- Perform blood tests as directed by your doctor. Please consult your doctor.
- Alcohol may interact with this drug. Make sure your child does not drink alcohol.
- Consult with your child’s doctor before using marijuana, other forms of cannabis, prescription or over-the-counter drugs that may slow down your child’s actions.
- This medicinal product is not identical to gabapentin enacabril (Horizant ™ ). Do not use it instead of this drug. Consult your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor if your seizures change or get worse after you start taking this drug.
- Do not suddenly stop giving this drug to your child without talking to your doctor. This can increase your child’s risk of side effects. If your child needs this drug, stop taking this drug gradually, as directed by the doctor.
- A serious reaction has occurred that can be fatal. In most cases, this reaction was accompanied by symptoms such as fever, rash, inflammation of the lymph nodes, and dysfunction of various organs such as the liver, kidneys, blood, heart, muscles, joints and lungs. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.
- Serious breathing problems have occurred in people who have taken certain other drugs (such as opioid pain relievers).The same effect has been observed in people who already had pulmonary or respiratory problems. The risk may also increase in patients over the age of 65. In some cases, these breathing disorders have resulted in death. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.
- If the patient’s age is 3 to 12 years old, use this medication with caution. This group of children may have a higher risk of mood and behavior disorders.
If your daughter is pregnant or breastfeeding:
- Consult a doctor if your daughter is pregnant, pregnant, or breastfeeding.The benefits and risks for your daughter and her child will need to be discussed.
What side effects should I report to my child’s healthcare provider right away?
WARNING / CAUTION: Although rare, this drug can cause very serious and sometimes deadly side effects in some people. Call your child’s doctor right away or get medical attention if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that could be associated with a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction such as rash, hives, itching, reddened and swollen skin with blistering or scaling, possibly associated with fever, wheezing or wheezing, tightness in the chest or throat, difficulty breathing, swallowing or speaking, unusual hoarseness, swelling in the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of liver problems such as dark urine, feeling tired, lack of appetite, nausea or abdominal pain, light stools, vomiting, yellowing of the skin and eyes.
- Signs of kidney problems, including lack of urination, change in urine volume, blood in the urine, or rapid weight gain.
- Uncontrolled body movements, convulsive movements, imbalance, difficulty swallowing or speaking.
- Violation or loss of memory.
- Change in vision.
- Feeling confused, unable to concentrate, or changes in behavior.
- Difficulty, slow or shallow breathing.
- Changing the color of the skin to a bluish tint in the lips, nail bed, fingers and toes.
- Shortness of breath, sudden weight gain, or swelling of the arms or legs.
- Loss of control over eye movements.
- Swelling of the gland.
- Muscle pain or weakness.
- Fever, chills, sore throat; the appearance of bruising and bleeding for unexplained reasons; a pronounced feeling of tiredness or weakness.
- Get immediate medical attention if your child does not respond, does not respond, or does not respond normally, feels very sleepy or dizzy, faints, or if he is asleep and does not wake up.
- Like other drugs for the treatment of seizures, this drug in rare cases may increase the risk of suicidal ideation or behavior. This risk may be higher in people who have attempted suicide or have had suicidal thoughts in the past. See your doctor right away if you develop or worsen symptoms such as depression, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, or other mood or behavior disorders.In case of suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide, contact your doctor immediately.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
Any drug can have side effects. However, many people have little or no side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these or other side effects bothers your child or does not go away:
- Feeling dizzy, sleepy, tired, or weak.
- Diarrhea, indigestion or vomiting.
- Dry mouth.
This list of potential side effects is not exhaustive. If you have any questions about side effects, talk to your child’s doctor. Talk to your child’s doctor about side effects.
You can report side effects to the National Health Office.
What is the best way to give this drug?
Give this drug to your child as directed by the doctor.Read all the information provided to you. Follow all instructions strictly.
All forms of issue:
- Continue giving this drug as directed by your child’s doctor or other healthcare professional, even if your child is well.
- If your child is taking antacids containing aluminum or magnesium, give this drug at least 2 hours after taking the antacids.
- Give this drug with or without food.
- Make sure the child swallows the drug completely with a full glass of water.
- You can break a tablet in half. Tell your child not to chew or crush the tablet.
- If you break a tablet in half, use the other half on your next dose as directed by your healthcare professional.Throw away halves of tablets that have not been used within 28 days.
- Doses of liquid preparation should be measured with caution. Use the dispenser that comes with the medicine. If a dispenser is not included in the package, ask your pharmacist for the dosing product for this drug.
What if my child misses a dose of a drug?
- Give the missed dose as soon as possible.
- If it is time for your child to take the next dose, do not take the missed dose and then return to your child’s normal schedule.
- Do not give a double dose at the same time or additional doses.
How do I store and / or discard this drug?
- Store in refrigerator. Do not freeze.
All other dosage forms:
- Store at room temperature in a dry place.Do not store in the bathroom.
All forms of issue:
- Store all medicines in a safe place. Keep all medicines out of the reach of children and pets.
- Dispose of unused or expired drugs. Do not empty into toilet or drain unless directed to do so. If you have any questions about the disposal of your medicinal products, consult your pharmacist.Your area may have drug recycling programs.
General information on medicinal products
- If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not improve, or if they get worse, see your child’s doctor.
- Do not share your child’s medicine with others or give anyone’s medicine to your child.
- Some medicines may have different patient information sheets.If you have questions about this drug, talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional.
- If you think there has been an overdose of a drug, call a Poison Control Center immediately or seek medical attention. Be prepared to tell or show which drug you took, how much and when it happened.
Use of information by consumer and limitation of liability
This information should not be used to make decisions about taking this or any other drug.Only the attending physician has the necessary knowledge and experience to make decisions about which drugs are suitable for a particular patient. This information does not guarantee that the drug is safe, effective, or approved for the treatment of any disease or specific patient. Here are only brief general information about this drug. It does NOT contain all available information on the possible use of the drug with instructions for use, warnings, precautions, information about interactions, side effects and risks that may be associated with this drug.This information should not be construed as a treatment guide and does not replace information provided to you by your healthcare professional. Check with your doctor for complete information on the possible risks and benefits of taking this drug. Use of this information is governed by the Lexicomp End User License Agreement available at https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/solutions/lexicomp/about/eula.
© UpToDate, Inc.and its affiliates and / or licensors, 2021. All rights reserved.
9 min read
Gabapentin is an antiepileptic drug also known as an anticonvulsant.
Has an effect on the chemical and nervous mechanisms of seizures and some types of pain.Gabapentin is also used to treat other nerve disorders (eg, diabetic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia) and restless legs syndrome.
Pharmacological class: Antiepileptic and anticonvulsant drug
INDICATIONS OF THE PREPARATION Gabapentin
- Background pain
tonic and clonic seizures
Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Irritable Syndrome
- Trigeminal neuralgia
Gabapentin interacts with neurons of the cerebral cortex in auxiliary subunits of voltage-gated calcium channels.The drug increases the synaptic concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), enhances GABA responses at nonsynaptic sites in tissues, including neurons, and reduces the release of monoamine neurotransmitters. It was found that the antihyperalgesic and anti-allodynic effects of gabapentin are mediated by the descending noradrenergic system, which leads to the activation of spinal alpha 2-adrenergic receptors. Gabapentin also binds to and activates adenosine A1 receptors.
PREPARATION DOSAGE Gabapentin
- Epilepsy: 300 mg orally, 3 times a day
- Postherpetic neuralgia: 300 mg orally, once a day (evening)
- Syndrome of restless legs: 600 mg orally, once a day
- Diabetic neuropathy: 900 mg orally, once a day
- Pain: 10-15 mg / kg / day orally, in three equal doses
Gabapentin is rapidly absorbed by the L-amino acid transport system, a saturable carrier-mediated transport system.The volume of distribution is 58 ± 6 liters, binding to blood plasma proteins is <3%. The plasma half-life is 5-7 hours.
CONTRAINDICATIONS OF THE DRUG Gabapentin
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- The effect of Neurontin is weakened when used with antacids
- Frequent alcohol consumption can significantly reduce the effectiveness of Neurontin
- Blood concentration may increase when used with Tagamet (Cimetidine)
- May lead to phenytoin toxicity when used with Dilantin
SIDE EFFECTS OF THE DRUG Gabapentin
Often (> 1/10, <1/100):
- Changes in vision, including double vision
- Runny nose
- Weight gain
- Indigestion or nausea
- Muscle pain
- Dry mouth or sore throat
- Unusual thoughts
- Memory loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Swollen hands or feet
- Itchy eyes
Uncommon (> 1/100, <1/1000):
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
Very rare (<1/10000):
- Skin peeling
- Extremity edema
- Caution should be exercised when using the drug in patients with depression, suicidal ideation, impaired renal function, allergies, in children, especially those under 3 years of age, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Avoid driving and operating machinery, as the drug causes drowsiness, dizziness and blurred vision.
- The drug can change the blood sugar level, therefore it is necessary to regularly monitor this indicator.
- Patients are at high risk of developing suicidal ideation and should be closely monitored.
- Data from 5 randomized, placebo-controlled trials were included in the review.One of them has not yet been published. Gabapentin is more effective in treating pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, and other neuropathic pain syndromes. Based on the available data, a dose of 1800 mg / day is recommended to improve efficacy. When used in doses of 1800-3600 mg / day, gabapetin was effective and well-tolerated in the treatment of neuropathic pain in adult patients.
- Seven patients with neuropathic pain more than 30 days after spinal cord injury (SCI) completed the study.Two groups received a 4-week course of gabapentin and placebo in a randomized, crossover study with a 2-week washout period. The data were analyzed using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. Gabapentin has beneficial effects on certain types of neuropathic pain. There was a slight improvement in “discomfort” and “pain intensity” and “burning sensation” at 4 weeks of gabapentin, but not placebo.
- In a study involving 122 patients with chronic pain [97 with neuropathic pain (postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, sympathetic pain and phantom pain)] who received gabapentin treatment for at least 30 days, it was shown statistically significant (p <0, 0001) reduction in pain scores at an average dose of 1200 mg / day in patients with neuropathic pain.The average on the visual analogue scale decreased from 7.3 to 5.4.
- eMed expert: emedexpert.com/facts/gabapentin-facts.shtml
- Drug Bank: drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00996
- Medhealth.net: med-health.net/Gabapentin-Side-Effects.html
- whatmeds .stanford.edu / medications / gabapentin.html
- Clin Ther. 2003 Jan; 25 (1): 81-104 (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12637113)
- J Spinal Cord Med. 2002 Summer; 25 (2): 100-5 (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12137213)
- Wiley online library (onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.0003-2409.2001.02399.x/ full)
- Medscape: reference.medscape.com/drug/neurontin-gralise-gabapentin-343011#0
- Medindia: medindia.net/doctors/drug_information/gabapentin.htm
Ibuprofen + Paracetamol
90,000 💉 Gabapentin Side effects: common and serious side effects
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant. It helps prevent certain types of seizures in people with epilepsy. This is not a cure for epilepsy – the drug will only work to control your seizures as long as you continue to take it.Gabapentin is also used in adults to relieve nerve pain after a case of shingles.
Gabapentin is safe enough when you use it correctly. However, it does have some potential side effects. People who abuse this drug are also prone to additional side effects.
Common Side Effects
Common Side Effects
The more common side effects of gabapentin include:
Gabapentin and weight gain.Clinical trials showed that patients taking gabapentin had slightly more weight gain than patients taking placebo. The chance of gaining weight from taking gabapentin is very low.
- Abnormal eye movements that are continuous, uncontrollable, back and forth, or rolling
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- speech difficulty
- sleepiness or tiredness
- dry mouth
Serious side effects
Serious side effects
Gabapentin can also cause serious side effects.These side effects are uncommon. However, they can be more common in people with mental health problems. They include:
- violent behavior, aggression or anger
- worry or worry
- the concern that is new or worse
- depression, new or worse
- irritability that is new or worse
- panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- insomnia (sleep problems)
Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
Gabapentin may cause serious or life-threatening allergic reactions. However, this is very rare. These symptoms may be the first signs of a serious reaction:
- skin rash
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the gland that does not go away
- swelling of your face, lips, throat or tongue
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- severe fatigue or weakness
- unexpected muscle pain
Call your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.If you think your symptoms are life-threatening, call 911.
Side effects of abuse
Gabapentin does not have the same effect on commonly abused drugs such as benzodiazepines and opiates. However, gabapentin abuse has been reported. Rare cancellations. Withdrawal symptoms include:
- heart rate
These effects have only been observed in people who have used high doses of gabapentin for an extended period of time to treat diseases for which the drug is not Approved.
Of the people who abuse drugs, most of them have a history of substance abuse or have used gabapentin to help with withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you have a history of addiction or abuse. This information can help your doctor decide if any risk of abuse may outweigh the potential benefit of using gabapentin.
Food to go
Talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor about the precautions you can take for side effects from gabapentin:
- Ask your healthcare provider for diet and exercise advice to help you manage your weight if you are concerned about possible weight gain from gabapentin.
- Do not drive or use heavy equipment until you know you can function normally while taking gabapentin.
- Talk to your pharmacist about over-the-counter medications that can help reduce some of the most common side effects of the digestive system.
Gabapentin side effects may make you want to stop taking the drug. However, do not stop taking it without first talking to your doctor. Stopping gabapentin abruptly can cause serious problems, such as withdrawal symptoms or a return of seizures.Your doctor will help you stop taking the drug safely.
Gabapentin for Fibromyalgia
Gabapentin is often prescribed for the treatment of fibromyalgia. It is available generically and also sold under the brand names Neurontin, Horizant, and Gralise.
Gabapentin is not approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition and is therefore off-label. However, the drug is chemically related to Lyrica (pregabalin), which is approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia. In fact, Lyrica is sometimes called the “son of Neurontin”.
Gabapentin is classified as an anticonvulsant drug. It is used to treat epilepsy, neuropathy (pain from damaged nerves), restless legs syndrome, and hot flashes. Fibromyalgia pain is similar to neuropathy, but it is still not clear if the condition is related to nerve damage.
How Gabapentin Works
Gabapentin is believed to work by altering the release of glutamate and other neurotransmitters in your brain.1 Neurotransmitters send messages from one brain cell to another.Glutamate is really useful for certain things, like learning new information. This is because it excites and activates your brain cells.
It looks like a toddler with chocolate, however, if you have too much glutamate, your brain cells can become overstimulated. This can lead to things going wrong.
However, glutamate serves several purposes. It also helps transmit pain signals to the brain and nerves. Too much glutamate can play a role in hyperalgesia, which can dramatically increase pain.
To counter the effects of glutamate, you have another neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) .2 It calms your cells and calms your brain. When GABA and glutamate exist in equilibrium with each other, things are going well. (However, in fibromyalgia, this is most likely an imbalance.)
Several diseases and conditions, including fibromyalgia, can disrupt this balance and allow glutamate to spiral out of control. It is believed that gabapentin reduces the release of glutamate into the brain, so cells can calm down and the brain functions better.
Gabapentin for fibromyalgia
Research shows that people with fibromyalgia have too much glutamate in certain parts of the brain, which is why gabapentin has long been prescribed for this. But is it effective? Research is mixed.
Two reviews of evidence disagree. One, released in 2016, showed gabapentin to be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia 3, while another, published in 2017, 4 contained only low-quality evidence.
A 2014 review of gabapentin for the treatment of fibromyalgia and neuropathy found that about 35 percent of study participants experienced at least a 50 percent reduction in pain while taking the drug.5 It is important to note, however, that 21 percent experienced a similar decrease with placebo.
In studies comparing gabapentin to pregabalin (Lyrica), including a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, pregabalin performed better.
The extended release form of gabapentin has shown promising results in one small study published in the journal Pain Practice. 3 Researchers say it improves pain, sleep, and quality of life. However, this was a preliminary test, so more work needs to be done before we know for sure if it is safe and effective in the long term.
Gabapentin is usually started at a low dose and then gradually increased.Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. The typical dose is 900 to 1800 mg per day, divided into three doses. Do not suddenly stop taking gabapentin. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the correct weaning procedure for the dose you are taking.
Side effects of gabapentin
Like all medicines, gabapentin has a risk of side effects5. Some of them are potentially dangerous, while others are not. If you have any of the following side effects while taking gabapentin, call your doctor right away:
- Severe weakness or fatigue
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- New or worsening cough with fever
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe tingling or numbness
- Rapid, back and forth movements eye
- Pain or difficulty urinating or not urinating
- Sore throat
- Swelling of the face or tongue
- Burning eyes
Side effects that do not cause immediate concern include:
- Weight gain
Children taking gabapentin may experience a different set of side effects.Call your doctor immediately with the following questions:
- Behavior changes
- Inability to concentrate
- Anxiety, hostility, or aggression
Gabapentin may react negatively with other medications. Make sure your doctor and pharmacist know everything you are taking.
Is gabapentin right for you?
With weak and ambiguous evidence, gabapentin has one clear advantage over generic Lyricait and is therefore much cheaper.However, price is much less important than efficiency.
We all react differently to drugs. Some people who are not taking other drugs, including Lyrica, may benefit from gabapentin. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and disadvantages of gabapentin for your overall treatment regimen.