If you’ve battled epilepsy and seizures, you may have heard of Gabapentin; the drug is more commonly known by its brand names of Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant.
Gabapentin is typically safe when used responsibly & according to the recommended dose by your doctor. However, there are a few side effects that have been seen in a large number of people taking the drug.
What Is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant prescription medication, commonly used to treat:
- Epileptic seizures
- Shingles pain (neuralgia)
- Diabetes nerve pain
- Restless Leg Syndrome
It eases these complications by influencing neurotransmitters, which send messages through nerve cells. The drug calms down the nerve activity to relieve different kinds of pain.
Things to Know Before Taking Gabapentin
Like with all prescription drugs, it’s important to learn all the necessary information and use caution before taking any brand of Gabapentin. Here are some facts about the drug that you may want to know before you or a loved one starts the prescription:
- Gabapentin can treat seizures in both children and adults — can start at 3 years old
- Some forms and brands need to be taken with food.
- Rare cases of withdrawal have been reported. Withdrawal and severe complications only occurs when Gabapentin is misused.
- Seizure medications like Gabapentin can increase risk of suicidal thoughts & behavior.
Symptoms of Taking Gabapentin
As well as learning the risks, you should know the symptoms of Gabapentin before beginning to use the drug. Below are the most common side effects.
Dizziness and Incoordination
One of the main symptoms of Gabapentin is dizziness. This can lead to adjoining effects, like incoordination and trouble walking. Try to make sure you’re relaxing when taking the drug, to ensure optimal comfortability in case dizziness occurs.
Drowsiness, while one of the most common side effects, is most likely to occur when you first start taking Gabapentin. This symptom may fade with time as the body adjusts to the drug.
Another symptom is water retention, which causes swelling of the hands, arms, legs, and feet. This may lead to weight gain.
Children who take Gabapentin may have different side effects, including anxiety and behavioral problems. If your child experiences epileptic seizures, talk to their pediatrician before they start taking any anticonvulsant.
Managing Side Effects
While you may not be able to necessarily avoid the side effects of Gabapentin, you may be able to manage them. Here are a few ways you can minimize the symptoms:
- Avoid combining with other prescription medications
- Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications that may reduce symptoms
- Don’t drive or operate machinery after taking
- Create a diet and exercise plan
With the right behavioral patterns, you can successfully manage your dosage of Gabapentin while fighting the nerve pain that led you to take the medication in the first place.
See a doctor if you experience trouble breathing, severe weakness, hives, or rashes. Talk to a specialist before stopping. To learn more about using prescription medication responsibly, call 267.719.8689.