Gabapentin belongs to a group of medicines used to treat epilepsy and peripheral neuropathic pain (long lasting pain caused by damage to the nerves). The active ingredient in Gabapentin is gabapentin.
Why have I been prescribed Gabapentin?
- Gabapentin belongs to a group of medicines used to treat epilepsy and peripheral neuropathic pain (long lasting pain caused by damage to the nerves).
- The active ingredient in Gabapentin is gabapentin.
How does it work?
- It works by increasing the amount of a certain chemical in the brain which has the effect of calming the brain down and stop the nerves firing inappropriately.
When and how do I take it?
- Gabapentin is for oral use. Always sallow the capsules or tablets whole with plenty of water.
What’s the dose?
Adults and adolescents:
- Take the number of capsules or tablets as instructed. Your doctor will usually build up your dose gradually. The starting dose will generally be between 300 mg and 900 mg each day.
- Thereafter, the dose may be increased as instructed by your doctor up to a maximum of 3600 mg each day and your doctor will tell you to take this in 3 separate doses, i.e. once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once in the evening.
Children aged 6 years and above:
- The dose to be given to your child will be decided by your doctor as it is calculated against your child’s weight. The treatment is started with a low initial dose which is gradually increased over a period of approximately 3 days. The usual dose to control epilepsy is 25-35 mg per kg per day.
- It is usually given in 3 separate doses, by taking the capsule(s) or tablet(s) each day, usually once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once in the evening.
- Gabapentin is not recommended for use in children below 6 years of age.
Peripheral Neuropathic Pain the usual dose is:
Take the number of capsules or tablets as instructed by your doctor. Your doctor will usually build up your dose gradually. The starting dose will generally be between 300 mg and 900 mg each day. Thereafter, the dose may be increased as instructed by your doctor up to a maximum of 3600 mg each day and your doctor will tell you to take this in 3 separate doses, i.e. once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once in the evening.
Could it interact with other tablets?
Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription.
Medicines containing morphine:
- If you are taking any medicines containing morphine, please tell your doctor or pharmacist as morphine may increase the effect of Gabapentin.
Antacids for indigestion:
- If Gabapentin and antacids containing aluminium and magnesium are taken at the same time, absorption of Gabapentin from the stomach may be reduced. It is therefore recommended that
- Gabapentin is taken at the earliest two hours after taking an antacid.
- is not expected to interact with other antiepileptic drugs or the oral contraceptive pill;
- may interfere with some laboratory tests, if you require a urine test tell your doctor or hospital what you are taking.
Herbal products should also only be taken after talking with your doctor.
What are the possible risks or side-effects?
Like all medicines, Gabapentin can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking this medicine as they can be serious:
- severe skin reactions that require immediate attention, such as swelling of the lips and face, skin rash and redness, and/or hair loss (these may be symptoms of a serious allergic reaction);
- persistent stomach pain, feeling sick and being sick as these may be symptoms of acute pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas).
If you are on haemodialysis, tell your doctor if you develop muscle pain and/or weakness.
Other side effects include:
Very common side-effects (which may affect more than 1 person in 10):
Common side-effects (which may affect more than 1 person in 100):
- Pneumonia, respiratory infection, urinary tract infection, inflammation of the ear or other infections.
- Low white blood cell counts.
- Anorexia, increased appetite.
- Anger towards others, confusion, mood changes, depression, anxiety, nervousness, difficulty with thinking.
- Convulsions, jerky movements, difficulty with speaking, loss of memory, tremor, difficulty sleeping, headache, sensitive skin, decreased sensation (numbness), difficulty with coordination, unusual eye movement, increased, decreased or absent reflexes.
- Blurred vision, double vision.
- High blood pressure, flushing or dilation of blood vessels.
- Difficulty breathing, bronchitis, sore throat, cough, dry nose.
- Vomiting (being sick), nausea (feeling sick), problems with teeth, inflamed gums, diarrhoea, stomach pain, indigestion, constipation, dry mouth or throat, flatulence.
- Facial swelling, bruises, rash, itch, acne.
- Joint pain, muscle pain, back pain, twitching.
- Difficulties with erection (impotence).
- Swelling in the legs and arms, difficulty with walking, weakness, pain, feeling unwell, flu-like symptoms.
- Decrease in white blood cells, increase in weight.
- Accidental injury, fracture, abrasion.
Additionally in clinical studies in children, aggressive behaviour and jerky movements were reported commonly.
Can I drink Alcohol while taking it?
- There are no known interactions between alcohol and Gabapentin.
- Always check with your pharmacist or doctor though, as other medicines you may be taking may be affected by alcohol.
What if I’m pregnant/breastfeeding?
- Gabapentin should not be taken during pregnancy, unless you are told otherwise by your doctor. Effective contraception must be used by women of child-bearing potential.
- Gabapentin, the active substance of Gabapentin, is passed on through human milk. Because the effect on the baby is unknown, it is not recommended to breast-feed while using Gabapentin.
If you have any more questions please ask your Pharmacist.
Remember to keep all medicines out of reach of children
Please Note: We have made every effort to ensure that the content of this information sheet is correct at time of publish, but remember that information about drugs may change. This sheet does not list all the uses and side-effects associated with this drug. For full details please see the drug information leaflet which comes with your medicine. Your doctor will assess your medical circumstances and draw your attention to any information or side-effects which may be relevant in your particular case.