30 Sec Answer: The major side effects of gabapentin include dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, and headache. Other potential side effects include confusion, nausea, and vision changes.
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is a prescription medication used to treat epilepsy, restless legs syndrome (RLS), postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), and other neurological conditions. It belongs to a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants that work by blocking certain nerve signals in the brain. In addition to its use for epilepsy and related disorders, gabapentin may also be prescribed for off-label uses such as fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, and hot flashes.
How Does Gabapentin Work?
Gabapentin works by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This helps reduce seizures or symptoms of conditions like RLS and PHN. It does this by binding to certain proteins in the brain called calcium channels that control the release of neurotransmitters (chemicals that help carry messages between nerves). By decreasing the release of these neurotransmitters, gabapentin can reduce seizures or relieve pain from PHN.
What Are the Major Side Effects of Gabapentin?
The most common side effects associated with gabapentin are dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, and headache. These usually resolve within a few days after starting the drug but may persist if the dosage is too high. Other possible side effects include confusion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, blurred vision, eye pain or irritation, dry mouth, muscle twitching or tremors, difficulty speaking or swallowing, anxiety or depression. Rarely reported serious side effects include allergic reactions such as rash or hives; swollen face, throat or tongue; breathing problems; changes in mood or behavior; fever; chills; joint pain; yellowing of skin or eyes; chest pain; swelling of feet or hands; increased urination; unusual bleeding or bruising.
When Should I Not Take Gabapentin?
You should not take gabapentin if you have an allergy to it or any of its ingredients. Additionally, gabapentin should not be taken during pregnancy unless it is deemed absolutely necessary by your doctor due to risks posed to both mother and fetus. You should also avoid taking gabapentin if you have kidney disease since it can accumulate in your body and cause severe adverse reactions. It is important to tell your doctor about all medications you are currently taking before beginning treatment with gabapentin as some drugs may interact with it and increase its toxicity.
What Is the Recommended Dosage for Gabapentin?
The recommended dose for treating epilepsy is typically 300 mg three times per day for adults and 25 mg/kg/day divided into three doses for children ages 3-12 years old. For treating neuropathic pain associated with RLS or PHN the dose may range from 900-1800 mg per day depending on the severity of symptoms. It is important to take gabapentin exactly as directed by your doctor and do not change your dose without consulting them first as this could lead to serious health complications.
Can Overdosing on Gabapentin Be Fatal?
Yes, overdosing on gabapentin can be fatal if not treated promptly with emergency medical care. Symptoms of an overdose include confusion, agitation, loss of coordination, slurred speech and extreme drowsiness. If you suspect someone has overdosed on gabapentin seek medical attention immediately.
Are There Any Long-Term Side Effects From Taking Gabapentin?
There are no long-term side effects specifically linked to taking gabapentin however there are reports of physical dependence developing with long-term use at high dosages so patients should be monitored closely by their healthcare provider when taking this medication for extended periods of time. Additionally long term use may lead to weight gain as well as an increased risk for developing mental health issues including anxiety and depression so caution should be taken when using this drug over a long period of time at higher dosages than recommended by your doctor.
How Can I Minimize the Side Effects Of Gabapentin?
To minimize the side effects associated with taking gabapentin talk to your doctor about lowering your dosage if needed or switching to another medication if appropriate. Also be sure to drink plenty of fluids while taking this drug to prevent dehydration which can worsen some side effects like dizziness and fatigue. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how this drug affects you since it can impair motor skills even at lower doses than those prescribed for medical use. Finally try to limit alcohol consumption while taking this drug as drinking while under the influence can further increase feelings of dizziness and sleepiness which can put you at greater risk for accidents or falls .
Gabapentin is a prescription medication used to treat various neurological conditions including epilepsy, RLS and PHN amongst others.. While generally safe when taken according to directions some common side effects associated with this drug include dizziness , drowsiness ,fatigue ,headache ,confusion ,nausea ,vision changes among others .More serious side effectswith prolonged useare rarely reported such asallergic reactionsandchangesinmoodorbehaviourespeciallyat higherdosages .Itisimportantto consultyourdoctorbeforetakingthisdrugso theycanadjustthedosageifneededaswellas monitorforthe developmentoflongtermsideeffectswhichmayincludeweightgainandanincreasedrisk formentalhealthissueslikeanxietyordepression .