Gabapentin – Uses, Side Effects, Warnings, and More
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Gabapentin is one of the medications that can be combined with others to help prevent and control seizures. In adults, it is also used to alleviate the nerve pain that follows shingles, which is a painful rash caused by an infection with herpes zoster. The medicine gabapentin is classified as either an anticonvulsant or an antiepileptic.
Instructions for taking gabapentin by mouth
Before beginning treatment with gabapentin and whenever you get a refill on your prescription, make sure you have read the information contained in the Medication Guide and, if it is available, the Patient Information Leaflet issued by your pharmacist. If you have any questions, you should consult with either your physician or your pharmacist.
Take this drug by mouth as advised by your doctor, either with or without meals. Your current health status and how you respond to treatment will determine the appropriate dosage for you. When it comes to youngsters, the dosage is also determined by the child’s weight.
If your doctor tells you to cut the tablet in half and you are already taking it, you should take the second half of the tablet when you go for your next regularly scheduled dose. Throw away the half tablets if they have not been used within a few days of having been split. If you are going to take the capsules, make sure to swallow them in their whole with a lot of water.
It is of the utmost importance to strictly adhere to the dosage instructions provided by your physician. Your physician may choose to gradually raise your dose over the course of the first few days of treatment so that your body can become accustomed to the medicine. Take the very first dose before going to bed to reduce the likelihood of experiencing unwanted side effects.
It is important to maintain consistent use of this drug in order to get the most out of it. If you maintain a steady dose of the medication in your body, the benefits of taking this medication will be maximised. Gabapentin should be taken at regular intervals throughout the day at the same time(s) each day. If you use this medication three times a day to manage your seizures, you should not allow more than 12 hours to pass between doses because this may cause your seizures to become more severe.
You should not take this drug any more frequently than prescribed, nor should you raise your dosage without first visiting your physician. Your condition will not improve any more quickly, and the possibility of adverse effects becoming more severe will grow.
It is important that you speak with your healthcare provider before discontinuing the use of this medicine. When the medication is suddenly discontinued, several conditions may become even more severe. It’s possible that your current dose needs to be gradually lowered.
It is possible that antacids containing aluminium or magnesium will prevent this drug from being absorbed properly. If you are taking gabapentin in addition to an antacid, it is recommended that you wait at least two hours before taking the antacid before taking the gabapentin.
There are a few distinct ways that gabapentin can be absorbed by the body, including immediate-release, sustained-release, and enacarbil sustained-release. Do not alter your dosage without first discussing the matter with your healthcare provider.
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If your situation does not improve or if it gets worse, you should let your doctor know.
There is a possibility that you will experience drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, fatigue, blurred or double vision, odd eye movements, or shaking (tremors). Notify your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if any of these side effects continue or become worse.
Keep in mind that the reason your doctor has recommended that you take this medication is that he or she believes that the potential benefits to you outweigh the potential risks of doing so. The majority of persons who take this medicine do not report experiencing any severe adverse effects.
Notify your physician as soon as possible if you experience any of these unlikely but serious adverse effects: swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet.
People who use anticonvulsants for any illness (such as seizures, bipolar disorder, or pain) run the risk of developing depression, having suicidal thoughts or attempts, or having other mental or mood issues. This risk is especially high in children. Notify your physician without delay if you or a member of your family or your caretaker observe any odd or sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behaviour, such as signs of depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts, or ideas about hurting yourself.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you have any very serious adverse effects, such as shallow or laboured breathing.
It is unusual for this medicine to cause an extremely severe allergic reaction. However, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any signs of severe allergic response, such as a high temperature, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching and swelling (particularly of the face, tongue, and neck), severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
This list of potential adverse effects is not exhaustive in any way. Please consult your physician or pharmacist if you have any side effects that are not listed above.
In the United States, if you are experiencing any adverse effects, please consult your primary care physician. You can call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit their website at www.fda.gov/medwatch to report any adverse effects.
In Canada, if you are experiencing any adverse effects, please consult your primary care physician. You can call Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345 to report any adverse effects you experience.
Inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are allergic to gabapentin, gabapentin enacarbil, or if you have any additional allergies before beginning treatment with gabapentin. There is a possibility that this product contains inactive substances, which, if present, could result in allergic responses or other complications. Discuss the matter further with your pharmacist for further information.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist of all of your medical conditions, including but not limited to the following: kidney disease, mental or mood problems (such as depression or suicidal thoughts), use of or abuse of drugs or alcohol, and breathing problems before beginning treatment with this medication (such as COPD).
This medication may cause you to feel drowsy, lightheaded, or distort your vision. Drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana (also known as cannabis) can make you feel more lightheaded and sleepy. Do not operate a motor vehicle, or any machinery, or engage in any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are able to complete them safely. Reduce your intake of alcoholic beverages. If you are a marijuana user, you should consult your primary care physician (cannabis).
Before undergoing surgery, it is important to discuss all of the products you use with your dentist or doctor (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
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It’s possible that senior citizens are more sensitive to the adverse effects of this medication, particularly swelling in the hands, ankles, and feet; slow or shallow breathing; dizziness; and lack of coordination. Loss of coordination and vertigo both contribute to an increased likelihood of falling.
It is possible that children are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of this medication, including changes in mental state, mood, and behaviour (such as hostility, problems concentrating, and restlessness).
During pregnancy, it is important to only use this drug when it is absolutely necessary. Talk to your healthcare provider about the potential drawbacks and advantages.
It is possible for gabapentin to enter breast milk. Before starting to breastfeed, you should talk to your healthcare provider.
See also the section on how to use it.
Drug interactions can alter the way in which your prescriptions work or raise the likelihood that you will have major adverse effects. This document does not contain all possible medication interactions. Maintain a list of all the goods you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as herbal remedies, and give it to both your primary care physician and your pharmacist. Without first consulting your physician, you should never alter the dosage of any medication, stop taking any medication, or start taking any new medication.
Orlistat is a product that should be considered a possible interaction partner for this medication.
If this drug is taken with other products that may also cause drowsiness or breathing issues, the chance of serious side effects (such as slow or shallow breathing, and severe drowsiness/dizziness) may be increased.
These adverse effects include slow or shallow breathing, and severe drowsiness/dizziness. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are using other products such as opioid pain relievers or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines. These products can interact with the effects of this medication and cause adverse side effects (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).
You should read the labels on all of your medications (such as those meant to treat allergies or coughs and colds) since some of them may contain substances that make you feel sleepy. Talk to your local pharmacist about the proper way to use those products.
It is not safe to take this medication in conjunction with any other drugs that include gabapentin (including gabapentin enacarbil).
There is a possibility that taking this medicine will affect the results of some laboratory tests for urine protein. Ensure that the employees in the laboratory and all of your doctors are aware that you are using this medication.
Dial 911 if you suspect that someone has overdosed and they are exhibiting serious symptoms such as passing out or having problems breathing. In any other case, you should immediately contact a poison control centre. To reach the poison control centre for your area in the United States, dial 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control centre. Some of the symptoms of an overdose include extreme tiredness, difficulty speaking, and extreme weakness.
This drug should not be given to anyone else.
If you forget to take a dose, you should take it as soon as you realise you forgot. If it is getting close to the time of the next dose, you should forgo the dose that you missed. Your next dose should be taken at the typical time. It is not necessary to double the dose in order to catch up. If you use gabapentin three times a day to treat your seizures, you should not allow more than 12 hours to pass between doses because this may cause your seizures to become more severe. If this happens to you, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Keep at room temperature and away from light and moisture. Store at room temperature. Keep away from the bathroom at all costs. Always make sure that children and animals are kept well away from any medications.
Unless you have been specifically told to do so, you should not flush drugs down the toilet or pour them down a drain. When it is no longer needed or has passed its expiration date, dispose of this product in the appropriate manner. Talk to your neighbourhood pharmacy or the firm that handles garbage disposal in your area.