What is Neurontin?
Neurontin is an anti-epileptic drug, also called an anticonvulsant. It affects chemicals and nerves in the body that are involved in the cause of seizures and some types of pain.
Neurontin is used in adults to treat neuropathic pain (nerve pain) caused by herpes virus or shingles (herpes zoster).
Neurontin is also used to treat seizures in adults and children who are at least 3 years old.
Use only the brand and form of gabapentin your doctor has prescribed. Check your medicine each time you get a refill to make sure you receive the correct form.
Do not stop using Neurontin suddenly, even if you feel fine.
Gabapentin can cause life-threatening breathing problems, especially if you already have a breathing disorder or if you use other medicines that can make you drowsy or slow your breathing. Seek emergency medical attention if you have very slow breathing.
Some people have thoughts about suicide or behavior changes while taking Neurontin. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Neurontin if you are allergic to gabapentin.
To make sure Neurontin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
breathing problems or lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
a seizure (unless you take Neurontin to treat seizures);
heart disease; or
(for patients with RLS) if you are a day sleeper or work a night shift.
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Children taking Neurontin may have behavior changes. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Seizure control is very important during pregnancy, and having a seizure could harm both mother and baby. Do not start or stop taking Neurontin for seizures without your doctor's advice, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of gabapentin on the baby.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.
How should I take Neurontin?
Take Neurontin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
If your doctor changes your brand, strength, or type of gabapentin, your dosage needs may change. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the new kind of gabapentin you receive at the pharmacy.
Neurontin can be taken with or without food.
If you break a tablet and take only half of it, take the other half at your next dose. Any tablet that has been broken should be used as soon as possible or within a few days.
Swallow the capsule or tablet whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Do not stop using Neurontin suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
In case of emergency, wear or carry medical identification to let others know you have seizures.
This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Neurontin.
Store Neurontin tablets and capsules at room temperature away from light and moisture.
Store the liquid medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
Usual Adult Dose for Epilepsy:
Initial dose: 300 mg orally on day one, 300 mg orally 2 times day on day two, then 300 mg orally 3 times a day on day three
Maintenance dose: 300 to 600 mg orally 3 times a day
Maximum dose: 3600 mg orally daily (in 3 divided doses)
-Maximum time between doses in the 3 times a day schedule should not exceed 12 hours
-May be taken with or without food.
-Half-tablets not used within 28 days of breaking the scored tablet should be discarded.
Use: Adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial onset seizures, with and without secondary generalization
Usual Adult Dose for Postherpetic Neuralgia:
-Initial dose: 300 mg orally on day one, 300 mg orally 2 times day on day two, then 300 mg orally 3 times a day on day three
-Titrate up as needed for pain relief
-Maximum dose: 1800 mg per day (600 mg orally 3 times a day)
-May be taken with or without food.
-Half-tablets not used within 28 days of breaking the scored tablet should be discarded.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Epilepsy:
Less than 3 years: Not recommended
Greater than or equal to 3 and less than 12 years:
Starting Dose: Ranges from 10 to 15 mg/kg/day in 3 divided doses
Effective Dose: Reached by upward titration over a period of approximately 3 days; the effective dose in patients 5 years of age and older is 25 to 35 mg/kg/day in divided doses (3 times a day). The effective dose in pediatric patients ages 3 and 4 years is 40 mg/kg/day and given in divided doses (3 times a day). Gabapentin may be administered as capsule, or tablet, or using combinations of these formulations. Dosages up to 50 mg/kg/day have been well tolerated in a long term clinical study. The maximum time interval between doses should not exceed 12 hours.
Greater than 12 years:
-Initial dose: 300 mg orally on day one, 300 mg orally 2 times a day on day two, then 300 mg orally 3 times a day on day three
-Maintenance dose: 900 to 1800 mg orally in 3 divided doses; the dose may be increased up to 1800 mg/day. Dosages up to 2400 mg/day have been well tolerated in long term clinical studies. Doses of 3600 mg/day have also been administered to a small number of patients for a relatively short duration, and have been well tolerated. The maximum time between doses in the three times a day schedule should not exceed 12 hours.
Use: Adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial onset seizures, with and without secondary generalization in patients 3 years of age and older
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What to avoid
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
Avoid taking an antacid within 2 hours before you take Neurontin. Antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb gabapentin.
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Neurontin.
Neurontin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Neurontin: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Seek medical treatment if you have a serious drug reaction that can affect many parts of your body. Symptoms may include: skin rash, fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, severe weakness, unusual bruising, upper stomach pain, or yellowing of your skin or eyes.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
weak or shallow breathing;
blue-colored skin, lips, fingers, and toes;
confusion, extreme drowsiness or weakness;
problems with balance or muscle movement;
unusual or involuntary eye movements; or
Gabapentin can cause life-threatening breathing problems. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up. Breathing problems may be more likely in older adults or in people with COPD.
Some side effects are more likely in children taking Neurontin. Contact your doctor if the child taking this medicine has any of the following side effects:
changes in behavior;
trouble concentrating; or
acting restless, hostile, or aggressive.
Common Neurontin side effects may include:
fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, unusual tiredness;
swelling of your legs and feet;
dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness;
problems with balance or eye movements; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Neurontin?
Using Neurontin with other drugs that make you drowsy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, cold or allergy medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.
other drugs may interact with gabapentin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Common antidepressants used for orthopedic pain relief may include SSRIs like fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft), SNRIs such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) like amitriptyline (Elavil) or nortriptyline (Pamelor). Continue reading
Gabapentin can help relieve nerve pain in some people with postherpetic neuralgia (nerve pain after shingles) and peripheral diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain in the feet in people with diabetes). A Cochrane review reported that 3 to 4 patients out of every 10 with either of these conditions experienced at least a 50% reduction in pain intensity when prescribed gabapentin at dosages of 1800mg-3600 mg/day (gabapentin encarbil: 1200mg-3600 mg/day). This compared with only 1 or 2 out of every 10 given a placebo (an inactive treatment). People who had an improvement in pain relief with gabapentin are also expected to experience an improvement in sleep, fatigue, and in their mood. Continue reading
Gabapentin is commonly used to treat some types of nerve pain but is classified as an anticonvulsant medicine, not as an opioid or painkiller. Gabapentin is used to treat postherpetic neuralgia, a type nerve pain that can occur due to an outbreak of shingles, and restless legs syndrome (RLS), an uncomfortable urge to move your legs around, often at night. Continue reading
Case reports have shown that gabapentin withdrawal can last for 5 to 10 days or longer, but the duration has not been well established in human studies. The symptoms and how long they last depend on how much of the drug you are taking and for how long you’ve been taking it. Continue reading
Gabapentin may cause weight gain, but it is an uncommon side effect. Studies have shown that a small number of people taking gabapentin weight gain. People who do gain weight may gain about 5 pounds after 6 weeks of use. Continue reading
Gabapentin is safe for dogs and is commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat seizures, pain, and anxiety in dogs. It has a low risk of side effects. Continue reading
It can take several weeks for gabapentin to reach its full effect, but this depends on the condition being treated and your individual response to the drug. Continue reading
Gabapentin is safe for cats and is commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat pain, anxiety, and feline hyperesthesia syndrome. It has a low risk of side effects when taken at the correct dosage. Mild sedation and lethargy are the most common side effects but these tend to get better with continued dosing. Continue reading
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Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Neurontin only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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