Neurontin is a brand name of the drug gabapentin, also marketed as Gabarone, Fanatrex, Gralise and Nupentin. It is an anti-convulsive drug primarily used to treat epileptic seizures, but is often also prescribed to treat nerve pain caused by herpes zoster (shingles) and restless leg syndrome. In some countries Neurontin has been used to prevent migraines and treat bipolar disorder, though studies are inconclusive as to its usefulness in the treatment of these conditions.
Before taking Neurontin you should consult your doctor if you suffer from liver, kidney or heart disease.
Neurontin has been known to cause suicidal thoughts. If you experience depression or dark thoughts you should speak to a professional.
If taking Neurontin to prevent epileptic seizures you should continue to take the medication even if your seizures diminish. Suddenly ending your treatment may cause the seizures to return stronger than before. Your doctor may direct you to wean yourself gradually off the medication.
You should report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor. Watch out for increased seizures, mood or behavioral changes, depression, anxiety or hyperactivity. Ask your family and friends to warn you of any changes in behavior.
You should wear a medical alert tag while taking Neurontin so that any medical care provider that treats you know you're using gabapentin.
Animal trials of Neurontin have resulted in birth defects. If you are pregnant or planning to start a family, before taking Neurontin you should consult your doctor. While it is unclear if Neurontin can harm an unborn child the drug should only be used during pregnancy if your doctor determines that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Neurontin can be passed onto your child in breast milk. You should inform your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
If you think you have taken an overdose of Neurontin you should seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms of overdose include weakness, drowsiness, blurred vision and diarrhea. If you suspect an overdose you should not wait until symptoms appear before seeking help.
Neurontin can be taken with or without food.
You should take your medication exactly as prescribed. Do not increase or reduce your dose without first consulting your doctor. If you forget to take a dose you should take it as soon as you remember. If your next dose is approaching, you should not take the missed dose to catch up.
If you break a Neurontin tablet in half to fit your dose you should take the other half within a few days. Do not leave broken medication for too long.
Store Neurontin tablets at room temperature. Liquid Neurontin should be stored in the refrigerator, but not frozen.
Neurontin performs best when taken regularly. You should arrange to refill your prescription before your supply runs out.
Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking Neurontin. The medication can cause blurred vision and retard your reactions.
Common side effects of Neurontin include drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, blurred vision, loss of coordination, dry mouth and swollen breasts. If you experience any of these side effects you should mention them to your doctor.
Severe side effects of Neurontin include increased occurrence or power of seizures, symptoms of an allergic reaction such as hives, skin rash, swollen glands, sores around the eyes or mouth, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and swelling of the tongue, lips or throat.
Other severe side effects include stomach pains, appetite loss, darkened urine, jaundice, irregular heart rhythm, rapid weight gain, chest pains, confusion, increased urination and rapid movement of the eyes.
If you experience any of these severe side effects you should immediately seek emergency medical attention.
While users of Neurontin cannot become addicted, after extended use any stoppage or large reduction in dosage can result in withdrawal symptoms similar to alcohol withdrawal. Neurontin dosage should be gradually reduced over a period of weeks or months in order to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and allow the body to acclimatize to the reduction.
Side effects of Neurontin withdrawal include insomnia, light sensitivity, anxiety, agitation, confusion, headaches, palpitations and flu-like symptoms. A case has been reported that sudden cessation of a high dosage of Neurontin caused a seizure in a patient with no history of epilepsy.