Drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, tiredness, blurred/double vision, unusual eye movements, or shaking (tremor) may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise) is a medication used to help manage certain epileptic seizures and relieve pain for some conditions, such as shingles (postherpetic neuralgia). Dizziness and drowsiness are common gabapentin side effects. Weight gain and uncoordinated movement are possible side effects.
Some gabapentin side effects, such as drowsiness, are more likely to occur when you first start taking the drug. These side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medication. But if you’re dizzy, unsteady or drowsy, avoid any activities — such as driving or operating machinery — that could be dangerous.
Side effects sometimes occur because of a combination of drugs you’re taking. Gabapentin doesn’t generally interact with other medications, but antacid medications, such as Maalox, can affect the way your body absorbs gabapentin. To avoid this issue, be sure to take gabapentin antacids at least two hours apart from each other.
One concern about certain anti-seizure medications, including gabapentin, is that they might cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Some studies have found an increase in suicidal behaviors in people taking anti-seizure medications, but the research is unclear about whether or not the medication actually increases this risk. Be sure to talk to a doctor or mental health care provider immediately if you’re having suicidal thoughts.
And let your doctor know if you have questions about gabapentin side effects or are experiencing troublesome side effects that aren’t going away.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: swelling of the hands/ankles/feet, signs of infection (such as fever, cough, persistent sore throat).
A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizures, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor immediately if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior including signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself.
Get medical help right away if you have any serious side effects, including: unusual fever, swollen glands, yellowing skin/eyes, unusual tiredness, dark urine, change in the amount of urine, chest pain.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US –
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Serious Gabapentin side effects
Gabapentin may also cause some serious side effects. These side effects are uncommon. However, they may be more common in people who have psychiatric disorders. They include:
- violent behavior, aggressiveness, or anger
- anxiousness or restlessness
- anxiety that is new or worse
- depression that is new or worse
- irritability that is new or worse
- panic attacks
- suicidal thoughts or behavior
- insomnia (trouble sleeping)
Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
Gabapentin may cause serious or life-threatening allergic reactions. However, this is very rare. These symptoms may be the first signs of a serious reaction:
- skin rash
- difficulty breathing
- gland swelling that does not go away
- swelling of your face, lip, throat, or tongue
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- severe tiredness or weakness
- unexpected muscle pain
Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms. If you think your symptoms are life-threatening, call 911.
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Gabapentin doesn’t produce the same effects of medications that are often misused, such as benzodiazepines and opiates. Still, misuse of gabapentin has been reported. There have been rare cases of withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms include:
- rapid heart rate
These effects occurred only in people who used high doses of gabapentin for an extended period to treat illnesses for which the drug isn’t approved.
Of the people who have misused the drug, most had a history of substance misuse or used gabapentin to help with withdrawal symptoms from other substances. Talk to your doctor if you have a history of drug addiction or misuse. This information can help your doctor decide whether any risk of misuse outweighs the potential benefit of using gabapentin.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe drowsiness, slurred speech, weakness.
Do not share this medication with others.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up. If you take gabapentin 3 times a day to control seizures, do not let…