Meds and you

27 September 2013

Gabapentin

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant. Anticonvulsants are drugs that are used to treat or prevent convulsions, i.e. the seizures seen in epilepsy.

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Gabapentin is the active ingredient of Epleptin (Nappi Code: 707622, 707624), Neurontin Caps (Nappi Code: 807443-018, 807451-002 & 807478-008), Neurontin tabs (Nappi Code: 705262-001 & 705263-001).

General information
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant. Anticonvulsants are drugs that are used to treat or prevent convulsions, i.e. the seizures seen in epilepsy.

Gabapentin can be used as an epileptic treatment on its own, or as an adjunctive treatment for epilepsy not controlled by conventional drugs.

In South Africa gabapentin is registered for the treatment of partial seizures, a seizure that starts in one particular part of the brain.

It is also effective in treating nerve pain, i.e. the pain experienced with shingles.

Do not stop using this antiepileptic drug abruptly as it may cause a recurrence of seizures. It is advised that you decrease your dose gradually. Your doctor should withdraw treatment gradually over a period of 7 days.

Because gabapentin may cause dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation, driving and any hazardous tasks should be avoided until you know how this medication affects you.

How does gabapentin work?
Gabapentin is believed to calm the abnormal activity of neurons in certain areas of the brain that may cause convulsions.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: gabapentin is available as tablets and capsules.
What does it do? Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: low
Is Gabapentin available as a generic? yes
Is Gabapentin available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: it may take a few days for treatment to take effect.
Duration of action: up to 8 hours
Stopping this medicine: do not stop using this antiepileptic drug abruptly as it may cause a recurrence of seizures. It is advised that you decrease your dose gradually. Your doctor should withdraw treatment gradually over a period of 7 days.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • if you have a liver or kidney disease

  • if you have diabetes

  • if you are taking any other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: this medication is safe for use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 12 unless prescribed by a paediatrician.
The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as side effects may occur more frequently.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
dizziness

X
X

drowsiness

X
X

indigestion

X
X

unsteadiness

X

X
blurred vision
X


X
tremors

X

X
headache
X

X

irritability

X

X
weight gain

X

X
skin reactions

X

X

Interactions

antacids decrease gabapentin absorption. Should be taken at least 2 hours apart.

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a kidney disease or diabetes.

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Adults: oral, 300-2400 mg/day

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.
 
 

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