Gabapentin is a drug originally prescribed to control certain types of seizures in the treatment of epilepsy.
Though the drug was initially approved only to manage epilepsy, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved gabapentin for treatment of the nerve pain that accompanies herpes zoster.
Gabapentin has also been approved for the treatment of neuropathic pain in six European countires, New Zealnd and Australia, along with numerous countires in Latin America.
Additionally, the drug, marketed by Pfizer under the trade name Neurontin, is also advised for tremors, restless legs syndrome, hot flashes associated with menopause and various psychiatric disorders.
Indications for the use of Gabapentin
There are certain factors that need to be considered before starting on the medication of Gabapentin. In case you are experiencing any of these factors, make it sure to discuss these with your healthcare provider beforehand:
- Age group (Older adults/Children)
- Other medications (Antacids, Morphine)
- Kidney problem
Gabapentin is available in three different dosage forms, including scored tablets, capsules and liquid.
Here we list the general norms for consumption of gabapentin. However, concrete medical prescription and advice must be sought before consuming the drug.
Dosage regimen for adults
The initial dosage of gabapentin for adults is to be taken as 300 mg by mouth, thrice a day. The dosage can be increased as per requirement. Dosages as high as 800-1,200 mg, thrice a day, have shown positive results.
Dosage regimen for children
For children three to 12 years of age, the starting dose should be 10-15 mg/2.2 lb, per day, given in three equal doses. This dosage can be increased until an effective level is reached, typically 25-40 mg/2.2 lb, per day.
In case of a missed dose, the patient is advised to consume the same as soon as possible. However, if the dose is skipped altogether, the patient is advised to resume with his normal schedule and strictly directed not to double doses.
Adverse effects of Gabapentin
Report to your health care provider in case you experience any of the rare side effects mentioned below. He/She will then evaluate whether the dosage pattern needs to be modified or any other alterations need to be made in the consumption schedule.
Common side effects (usually no medical intervention required):
- Difficulty in controlling muscle movements
- Dry mouth
- Back pain
- Loss of appetite
- Indigestion, heartburn
- Pain/Tingling in hands or feet
- Sexual difficulty
- Slurred speech
- Sore gums
- Weight gain
Rare Side Effects – Adults
Difficulty in breathing Swelling of lips/tongue Rash
Rare Side Effects – Children
- Hostile or aggressive behavior
- Mood changes
- Loss in concentration