Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic medication, 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.
Gabapentin is used in adults to treat nerve pain caused by herpes virus or shingles (herpes zoster).
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to gabapentin.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- kidney disease;
- liver disease;
- 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. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using gabapentin. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether gabapentin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
How should I take gabapentin?
Take gabapentin 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.
The Horizant brand of gabapentin should not be taken during the day. For best results, take Horizant withfood at about 5:00 in the evening.
Both Gralise and Horizant should be taken with food.
Neurontin can be taken with or without food.
If you break a Neurontin tablet and take one 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.
Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
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 brand you receive at the pharmacy.
Do not stop using gabapentin suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take gabapentin. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.
This medication can cause you to have a false positive urine protein screening test. If you provide a urine sample for testing, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking gabapentin.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture.
Store the liquid medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Be sure to take the medicine with food. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid?
This medication may cause blurred vision or impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.
Avoid taking an antacid within 2 hours before or after you take gabapentin. Antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb this medicine.
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of this medicine.
What other drugs will affect gabapentin?
Taking gabapentin with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before taking gabapentin with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with this medicine, especially:
- hydrocodone, (Lortab, Vicodin 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.