Gabapentin (generic Neurontin) is a medication which is available by prescription, and it is indicated in the treatment of seizures, nerve pain, and other neurological disorders in adults and children. It is classified as an anticonvulsant and antiepileptic, and it is not a controlled substance.
Exactly how Gabapentin works to prevent nerve pain and seizures is not currently known. It comes in the form of a tablet or capsule and is typically taken orally, on a full or empty stomach. One should avoid the use of antacids two hours prior to ingesting Gabapentin.
Stopping the drug suddenly can result in an increase of side effects such as seizures, therefore, if one must stop taking Gabapentin, his or her doctor will typically lower the dose gradually, so that the aforementioned scenario can be avoided. If a dose is forgotten, it should be taken as soon as possible, however, if it is nearly time for the next scheduled dose, the missed dose should be disregarded, and the individual should resume his or her regular dosing schedule. It is never a good idea to take a double dose.
Gabapentin may cause blurred vision, drowsiness, or dizziness. These side effects may be exacerbated if alcohol is consumed with this drug. One should not drive a motor vehicle or perform other activities which require good coordination and mental alertness until one knows how he or she will react while on this medication. It is possible for those who take this drug to be at an increased risk for suicidal actions or thoughts, and this side effect may be worse in those who have a history of such behavior. Individuals who take Gabapentin must be carefully monitored by their doctor. A physician should be contacted at once if sudden, new, or severe symptoms occur, including a depressed mood, anxiety, irritable behavior, restlessness, panic attacks, or any odd change in behavior or mood.
Those with diabetes should be aware that this drug may have an adverse affect on blood sugar levels, so these levels should be frequently monitored. One should seek the advice of his or her health care provider before changing the dosage of insulin or other medication for diabetes that he or she may be taking. Since the kidneys are responsible for 100% of the elimination of Gabapentin from the body, a doctor may order those taking this medication to have regular kidney scans completed. It is also essential to be aware of the fact that this drug may interfere with certain laboratory and blood tests, so care must be taken to notify lab personnel when one is taking this medication.
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