Take Gabapentin as an Anticonvulsant

Anticonvulsants (also commonly known as antiepileptic drugs or as antiseizure drugs) are a diverse group of pharmacological agents used in the treatment of epileptic seizures. Anticonvulsants are also increasingly being used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, since many seem to act as mood stabilizers, and for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

Anticonvulsants suppress the rapid and excessive firing of neurons during seizures. Anticonvulsants also prevent the spread of the seizure within the brain. Some investigators have observed that anticonvulsants themselves may cause reduced IQ in children.   However these adverse effects must be balanced against the significant risk epileptic seizures pose to children and the distinct possibility of death and devastating neurological sequelaesecondary to seizures.

gabapentin800mg-anticonvulsant

Anticonvulsants are more accurately called antiepileptic drugs (abbreviated “AEDs”), and are often referred to as antiseizure drugs because they provide symptomatic treatment only and have not been demonstrated to alter the course of epilepsy.

Gabapentin (Neurontin) has been approved as adjunctive therapy in adults with partial seizures with or without secondary generalization . Begin with 300 mg daily; increase to 900 to 1,800 mg daily given every 6 to 8 hours.  Side Effects maybe: Somnolence, fatigue, ataxia, dizziness, gastrointestinal upset, dyspnea.

A gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog, gabapentin does not interact with GABA receptors. Its mechanism of action is unknown.

Gabapentin is well absorbed orally, circulates mostly unbound in the plasma and is excreted unchanged in the kidneys without appreciable metabolism in the body. Oral bioavailability is approximately 60 percent and is not affected by food. The half-life is five to seven hours and is related to the creatinine clearance. Therefore, excretion is decreased in patients with renal impairment and decreased cardiac function, and in elderly patients. Gabapentin can be removed from the system through hemodialysis.

In clinical studies,  gabapentin was found to be effective in adults with refractory partial seizures and was also effective in preventing the progression of partial seizures to generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

Because gabapentin has no known pharmacokinetic interactions with any other antiepileptic drugs, it is useful in patients taking other antiepileptic medication.

 

NEURONTIN may cause serious side effects

The most common side effects of NEURONTIN include:

  • lack of coordination
  • feeling tired
  • viral infection
  • fever
  • feeling drowsy
  • jerky movements
  • nausea and vomiting
  • difficulty with coordination
  • difficulty with speaking
  • double vision
  • tremor
  • unusual eye movement
  • swelling, usually of legs and feet

SIDE EFFECTS: Drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, tiredness, blurred/double vision, unusual eye movements, or shaking (tremor) may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: swelling of the hands/ankles/feet, signs of infection (such as fever, cough, persistent sore throat).

A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizures, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor immediately if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself.

Get medical help right away if you have any serious side effects, including: unusual fever, swollen glands, yellowing skin/eyes, unusual tiredness, dark urine, change in the amount of urine, chest pain.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking Gabapentin?

Before taking NEURONTIN, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • have or have had kidney problems or are on hemodialysis
  • have or have had depression, mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • have diabetes
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if NEURONTIN can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while taking NEURONTIN. You and your healthcare provider will decide if you should take NEURONTIN while you are pregnant.
    • If you become pregnant while taking NEURONTIN, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy. You can enroll in this registry by calling 1-888-233-2334.
  • are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. NEURONTIN can pass into breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide how you will feed your baby while you take NEURONTIN.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Taking NEURONTIN with certain other medicines can cause side effects or affect how well they work. Do not start or stop other medicines without talking to your healthcare provider.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

What other drugs will affect gabapentin (Neurontin)?

Do not take NEURONTIN if you are allergic to gabapentin or any of the other ingredients in NEURONTIN. See the end of this Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in NEURONTIN.

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin, Vicoprofen, and others);
  • morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Oramorph, and others); or
  • naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve, Anaprox, and others).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with gabapentin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Medications known to interact with gabapentin

A

  • acetaminophen / propoxyphene
  • aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene
B
  • Balacet (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • Belbuca (buprenorphine)
  • Bunavail (buprenorphine / naloxone)
  • Buprenex (buprenorphine)
  • buprenorphine
  • buprenorphine / naloxone
  • Butrans (buprenorphine)
D
  • Darvocet A500 (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • Darvocet-N 100 (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • Darvocet-N 50 (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • Darvon (propoxyphene)
  • Darvon Compound 32 (aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene)
  • Darvon Compound-65 (aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene)
  • Darvon-N (propoxyphene)
L
  • levomethadyl acetate
O
  • Orlaam (levomethadyl acetate)
P
  • PC-CAP (aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene)
  • PP-Cap (propoxyphene)
  • Propacet 100 (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
  • propoxyphene
  • Propoxyphene Compound 65 (aspirin / caffeine / propoxyphene)
S
  • sodium oxybate
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine / naloxone)
  • Subutex (buprenorphine)
T
  • Trycet (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
W
  • Wygesic (acetaminophen / propoxyphene)
X
  • Xyrem (sodium oxybate)
Z
  • Zubsolv (buprenorphine / naloxone)