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GABAPENTIN (NEURONTIN)

Brand Name(s) : Neurontin
Warnings
Uses
Side Effects
Precautions
Interactions
Overdose

GABAPENTIN WARNINGS

Gabapentin should be used with caution in:

  • People with kidney problems
  • People on haemodialysis
  • People suffering from a mixed type of epilepsy that includes primary generalised seizures such as absences (a type of epilepsy resembling daydreaming)
  • People with a history of hallucinations or abnormal thinking (psychosis)
  • People taking morphine or any medications containing morphine
  • People taking indigestion medication, especially antacids containing magnesium and aluminium
  • People with diabetes
  • Elderly, over 65 years
  • Children, 6 years and over (particularly long-term use)

It should not be used in:

  • Children under the age of 6 years of age
  • People suffering from a type of epilepsy known as primary generalised seizures such as absences (resembles daydreaming)
  • People who are allergic to gabapentin or any of its ingredients
  • People with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption (for use of capsules only, not tablets)

Also see list of precautions and interactions

STORAGE

Do not store above 25°C.

GABAPENTIN USES

What is it used for?

  • Gabapentin is used to treat epilepsy and long lasting pain due to damaged nerves (peripheral neuropathic pain).
  • It is a anti-epileptic drug.
  • It is used to treat patients with various forms of epilepsy and to treat peripheral neuropathic pain which can be caused by a wide variety of diseases.
  • In general this drug is used reduce the risk of seizures in epileptic patients by controlling the electrical activity of the brain. It is also used to reduce peripheral neuropathic pain from diseases such as shingles and diabetes.
  • Benefits of being on this drug are reduced number of fits, or reduction in pain from damaged nerves.

Listed below are the typical uses of gabapentin.

  • Treatment of epilepsy
    - on its own to treat children aged 12 years or over and adults with partial seizures
    - as an add-on treatment to other medicines to treat children aged 6 years or over and adults with partial seizures
  • Treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain in adults

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list.

HOW TO USE/TAKE

Take this medication orally usually three times daily, with or without food. This medication is available as tablet or hard capsule form. The capsule form contains lactose (a type of sugar), so should not be used in patients who have an intolerance. Swallow the whole capsule or tablet with plenty of water.

Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it.

Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told otherwise by your doctor.

It may take up some weeks before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.

Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor. Your doctor will build up your dose of the medication gradually.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • Avoid taking medicines used to treat indigestion (antacids) within 2 hours of taking gabapentin.
  • This medication may cause drowsiness, dizziness or tiredness. If you are affected you should avoid driving or operating machinery. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well, unless your doctor tells you to stop. Always complete the full course as prescribed by your doctor. Abruptly stopping your medication may result in your symptoms worsening and an increase in side effects. If your medication is stopped, your doctor will gradually decrease the medication over a period of time.

GABAPENTIN SIDE EFFECTS

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Problems with muscle co-ordination
  • Viral infections
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Jerky movements
  • Convulsions
  • Increased abnormal muscular activity
  • Changes in touch sensation
  • Loss of memory
  • Tremor
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Irregular eye movements
  • Appetite changes
  • Decrease in white blood cell count
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Abnormal thoughts
  • Vertigo
  • High blood pressure
  • Breathlessness
  • Facial swelling
  • Skin reactions such as rash
  • Impotence

The most common side effects in children are:

  • Changes in mood
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Jerky movements

If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform doctor or pharmacist

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Abnormal thoughts, especially those of self harm and suicide
  • Stomach pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pain and weakness (in people on haemodialysis)

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.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), 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.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.

GABAPENTIN PRECAUTIONS

Before taking gabapentin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other anti-epileptics; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have:

  • Rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption (for use of capsules only, not tablets)

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following:

  • Kidney problems
  • Use of haemodialysis
  • Absence seizures (a type of epilepsy resembling daydreaming)
  • Hallucinations or abnormal thinking (psychosis)

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Alcohol intake is not known to affect gabapentin.

The elderly: gabapentin should be used with caution in the elderly due to declining kidney function, therefore dosage adjustment may be necessary. Certain side effects including sleepiness, weakness and water retention leading to swelling of the hands, ankles or feet (oedema) are noted to be more common in patients over 65 years of age.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below

PREGNANCY

Gabapentin is not safe to take if you are, or are planning to become, pregnant. If you discover you are pregnant, do not abruptly stop taking the medication as it may result in serious consequences for you and your baby. Contact your doctor immediately if you are taking gabapentin and discover you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.

BREAST FEEDING

Gabapentin is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.

GABAPENTIN INTERACTIONS

Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.

This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious, possibly fatal interactions may occur: None known

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and non-prescription/herbal products you may use, especially of:

  • Morphine or any medications containing morphine
  • Indigestion medication, especially antacids containing magnesium and aluminium

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using gabapentin, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use.

GABAPENTIN OVERDOSE

Higher than recommended doses may result in an increase in undesirable effects including loss of consciousness, dizziness, double vision, slurred speech, drowsiness and diarrhoea. Call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency unit immediately.

Take along any capsules or tablets you have not taken, together with the container and the label so that the hospital can easily tell what medicine you have taken.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of gabapentin or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.

MISSED DOSE

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. No two doses should be taken more than 12 hours apart. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited or TicTac Communications Ltd. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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