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What Is Gabapentin and How Does It Work?

Published on Jul 11, 2019   -  3 min read


Gabapentin is a chemical gabapentinoid, or a ligand of the auxiliary α2δ subunit site of certain voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs), and acts as an inhibitor of α2δ subunit-containing VDCCs.

What Is Gabapentin and How Does It Work?

What Is Gabapentin and How Does It Work?

Gabapentin is a chemical gabapentinoid, or a ligand of the auxiliary α2δ subunit site of certain voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs), and acts as an inhibitor of α2δ subunit-containing VDCCs. Despite the fact that gabapentin is a GABA analogue, and in spite of its name, it does not bind to the GABA receptors, does not convert into GABA or another GABA receptor agonist in-vivo, and does not modulate GABA transport or metabolism.

It is commonly used to treat neuropathic pain from shingles and herpes. It reduces the pain by changing the pathway of pain sensation in post-herpetic neuralgic patients. It treats seizures by reducing hyperactivity or abnormal excitement in the brain. It is also used in the management of restless legs syndrome.

The forms available are immediate or extended-release tablets or oral solution. It is excreted through kidney or urine and its half-life is five to seven hours.

What Are the Uses of Gabapentin?

Mainly, oral capsules are used to treat the following conditions:

1. Neuropathic pain including post-herpetic neuralgic pain.

2. Seizures

3. Restless legs syndrome.

Gabapentin is mostly used as combination therapy.

What Are the Contraindications of Gabapentin?

The following conditions in patients need to be taken care of while thinking of prescribing this drug and must be avoided.

1. Kidney issues: Patients on hemodialysis or any other kidney problem.

2. Allergies: Any history of allergy to this drug.

3. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years of age.

4. Pregnancy and breastfeeding.

What Are the Side Effects of Taking Gabapentin?

Every drughas side effects and the following can be seen with Gabapentin:

A. Common Side Effects:

1. Fever.

2. Viral infection.

3. Difficulty in speaking.

4. Presence of jerky movements.

5. Nausea.

6. Vomiting.

B. Serious Side-Effects:

1. It can bring changes in the mood or cause anxiety which can present as suicidal thoughts, anxiety, crankiness, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping, anger, hyperactivity or talking a lot, violent behavior.

2. If given in children from 3 to 1 years of age: Symptoms can be aggression, concentration difficulty, hyperactivity, changes in performances.

3. Allergic reaction: The life-threatening allergic symptoms include skin rashes, fever, hives, swollen lymph nodes, swollen lips and tongue, unusual bruising, bleeding, muscle pain, increased frequency of infections.

What Are The Precautions and Warning for Gabapentin?

Since this drug has its own side effects, some precautions and warnings must be kept in mind before taking it. You can consult with your doctor before taking this medicine or if you start getting seizures while taking this medicine.

1. Kidney issues: If there are any issues with the kidney, in old age, people on hemodialysis.

2. Drowsiness: This can be due to slowing down of thinking and motor skills. Hence, do not drive while taking it.

3. Depression: It can give you suicidal thoughts.

4. Allergic reactions.

5. Taking alcohol with this medicine can make you more drowsy or sleepy.

6. Epileptic patients should not stop taking it abruptly.

7. Avoid taking it during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

What Other Drugs Interact with Gabapentin?

This medicinecan interactwith various other drugs and some can be beneficial and others can be harmful. The following are the drugs that can cause interactions:

1. Analgesics: Some of them can increase the side-effect of Gabapentin

2. Antacids: Some of them can make Gabapentin less effective.

What Are the Available Doses of Gabapentin?

The following doses are recommended, but consult your doctor before taking it.

Oral capsule: 100, 300, and 400 mg. If taken more than the prescribed dosage, you can see the side effects and may need medical attention too.

Gabapentin is one of the common drugs being prescribed in patients with nerve pain. Hence, it is advisable to have information about it before starting to take it. You can even consult doctors online to get detailed information about the drug and whether you need to take it or not.


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Last reviewed at:
11 Jul 2019  -  3 min read




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