What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is a medication used to treat epilepsy and nerve pain conditions. It works by affecting the brain’s electrical activity and calming overactive nerves. Also sold under the brand name Neurontin, it’s an anticonvulsant and may help alleviate nerve-related pain in conditions like shingles or diabetic neuropathy.
How does it work?
Gabapentin works by binding to specific sites in the brain, known as alpha-2-delta subunits, which are associated with calcium channels. By doing so, it reduces the release of certain neurotransmitters, thereby decreasing nerve activity and inhibiting the transmission of pain signals, making it effective in treating epilepsy and nerve pain.
How to take it?
Gabapentin should be taken exactly as prescribed by a healthcare professional. It is usually taken orally with or without food. The dosage and frequency will depend on the condition being treated, your age, and kidney function. Swallow the capsules or tablets whole; do not crush or chew them. It’s essential to follow your doctor’s instructions and not to adjust the dose without consulting them. Abruptly stopping the medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms, so if you need to discontinue it, your doctor will likely provide a tapering plan.
Gabapentin may cause various side effects, which can range from mild to severe.
Common side effects include
- blurred vision.
Other potential side effects may include coordination problems,
- dry mouth,
In some cases, it may lead to more serious side effects like allergic reactions, mood changes, suicidal thoughts, and breathing difficulties.
If any unusual or severe side effects occur, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Always consult a healthcare professional for personalised guidance and to discuss any concerns about potential side effects.
Before taking gabapentin, inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions, allergies, or medications you are currently taking. It may interact with certain drugs, including opioids, and cause respiratory depression. Avoid alcohol while using gabapentin, and follow your doctor’s instructions closely to minimise the risk of adverse effects and ensure its safe and effective use.