Neurontin

Generic Name: Gabapentin

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Neurontin is a medicine used to help relieve certain types of nerve pain. Neurontin is also used to treat partial seizures when taken in combination with other medicines. Neurontin is available as capsules, tablets, and an oral solution.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    A seizure occurs when electrical signals in the brain are out of balance. Neurontin is thought to be involved in the production of a chemical that helps to keep electrical signals balanced in the brain. Neurontin is thought to relieve nerve pain by changing the way your body senses pain.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    Nerve Pain: Neurontin has been shown to reduce nerve pain, as measured by a pain rating scale ranging from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst possible pain).

    Seizures: When used with your current seizure medicine(s), Neurontin may lower the number of seizures you experience.

    When:

    Nerve Pain: Neurontin has been shown to relieve your pain by the first week of therapy.

    Seizures: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Neurontin exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    You may start to notice a reduction in the number of seizures or amount of pain you normally experience. This is a good indicator that your medication is working. Your healthcare provider will ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your seizures or pain are controlled. Having a record or seizure diary to keep track of when you experienced a seizure (date and under what circumstances) will be helpful to you and your healthcare provider in monitoring your progress.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Nerve Pain

    More common side effects may include: dizziness; drowsiness; swelling of your ankles, feet, or hands.

    Seizures

    More common side effects may include: drowsiness; dizziness; problems with your coordination; tiredness; fast, uncontrollable movements of your eyes.

    Less common side effects of Neurontin may include:

    Suicidal thoughts or actions, with symptoms such as thoughts about suicide or dying; attempts to commit suicide; new or worse depression, anxiety, or irritability; feeling agitated or restless; trouble sleeping; panic attacks; acting aggressive, being angry, or violent; acting on dangerous impulses; an extreme increase in activity and talking; or other unusual changes in your behavior or mood.

    Changes in behavior or thinking in children 3-12 years of age, with symptoms such as emotional changes, aggressive behavior, problems with concentration, restlessness, changes in school performance, and hyperactivity.

    Serious or life-threatening allergic reaction with symptoms such as a skin rash, hives, fever, swollen glands that do not go away, swelling of your lip and tongue, yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, unusual bruising or bleeding, severe tiredness or weakness, unexpected muscle pain, or frequent infections.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Neurontin if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Neurontin. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have or have had depression, mood problems, suicidal thoughts or behavior, or attempts to commit suicide; kidney problems or are on dialysis; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Nerve Pain

    Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you and may increase your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Seizures

    Adults and adolescents >12 years: The recommended starting dose is 300 milligrams three times a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your or your child's dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    Children 3-12 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his or her weight.

    If you have kidney impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Neurontin exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Neurontin without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Neurontin with or without food.

    If you break Neurontin tablets in half, take the unused half of the tablet at your next scheduled dose. Throw away half tablets that were broken several days before.

    If you are taking Neurontin capsules, swallow them whole with plenty of water.

    If you take an antacid containing aluminum and magnesium (such as Maalox, Mylanta, Gaviscon, or Di-Gel), wait at least 2 hours before taking your next dose of Neurontin.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drink alcohol or take other medicines that make you sleepy or dizzy while taking Neurontin without first talking with your healthcare provider.

    Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how Neurontin affects you.

    Do not take other medicines that contain gabapentin (such as Horizant or Gralise) while you are taking Neurontin.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Neurontin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Neurontin with the following: alcohol, certain antacids, hydrocodone, morphine, or naproxen.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Neurontin during pregnancy are unknown. Neurontin can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    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 seizure medicines during pregnancy.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Neurontin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store Neurontin tablets and capsules at room temperature.

    Store Neurontin oral solution in the refrigerator.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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