At present, the appearance of neurological diseases has encouraged the research and creation of drugs that have an effect on the neurological part in order to improve nerve connectivity and transmission between neurons. This is why drugs such as Gabapentin appear on the pharmacological market , created as a structure similar to that of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid), to improve the interaction between the nervous system.
Due to this, it is used in various pathologies in which the nervous system is involved, such as epilepsy and pain of neuropathic origin. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain in detail everything about Gabapentin: what it is for, dosage and side effects.
Table of Contents
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is a drug that has its origin in the United States, in the nineties it was made to mimic the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid). It is a substance used by neurons to communicate with each other, it is responsible for sending messages from the chemical point of view to the brain and nervous system.
In the beginning it was created as an anticonvulsant , later, its use was very effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain due to its excellent analgesic effect.
It is an anticonvulsant medicine used to treat epilepsy . Likewise, it is used to treat conditions that occur as a result of alterations in the chemical and nervous part of the body, which are capable of triggering neuropathic pain or seizures.
Gabapentin has been of great help in the treatment of diseases where the nervous system is compromised, both in children and adults. It should be used under medical prescription to avoid unwanted effects, especially in children and the elderly or in those patients who are under a specific health condition.
Gabapentin: what is it for
Gabapentin is used in pathologies where the neurochemical system of the organism is involved, specifically. Thus, we can say that Gabapentin is used to:
- Treat seizures , specifically, in those patients with epilepsy. It is applied in adults and children from 3 years of age, acting as an anticonvulsant, because it reduces the abnormal excitement of the brain.
- Treat neuropathic pain caused by shingles , popularly known as shingles. In this case, Gabapentin works by modifying the way the body feels pain.
- Treat restless legs syndrome , which is characterized by an alteration in the legs where the need to constantly move these limbs is felt when lying down or sitting, especially at night.
- It helps patients with anxiety disorders , as it prevents depressed mood from accentuating, maintaining mental stability and mental concentration, thus allowing a better daily life and better performance in the activities they perform.
- Relieve pain caused by diabetic neuropathy. This alteration is presented by disorders in the nerves and is characterized by the appearance of tingling and numbness in patients with diabetes.
- It has been implemented in menopausal patients who present symptoms of sudden heat, accompanied by excessive sweating.
- Stop or reduce alcohol consumption in people who have alcoholism. In addition to reducing the desire to drink alcohol, it reduces anxiety and sleep disorders.
- Fibromyalgia treatment to control the generalized pain that characterizes it, fatigue, sleep and anxiety.
- In cases of trigeminal neuralgia , it is a strong pain that lasts over time and is not relieved with common analgesics, so the use of Gabapentin avoids the fatigue and depressive symptoms that patients with this pathology frequently present.
- It is used as a therapy in bipolar disorder with good results because it generates fewer adverse effects than other medications used in the treatment of this disorder.
- Gabapentin is used in the prevention of migraine headaches and in the treatment of nystagmus , which is involuntary movement of the eyes. Despite being used in these pathologies, its use has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Gabapentin doses are different for each patient. It is important to follow the instructions of the treating doctor at all times. If you have the obligation to change the prescription, either by increasing or decreasing the dose, you should go to the specialist and consult him to avoid unwanted effects resulting from the dose modification.
The consumption of this medicine is carried out orally in the form of long-acting dragees, tablets, capsules or capsules.
Peripheral neuropathic pain
In cases of peripheral neuropathic pain, the dose indicated by the doctor should be consumed, he will be in charge of increasing it if necessary.
Treatment is usually started with a dose ranging from 300 to 900 mg daily. It can be increased to 3600 mg daily ingested 3 times a day every 8 hours.
- If it is epilepsy in adults and adolescents , it should be consumed as follows: initial dose of 300 to 900 mg per day, which can be increased by your treating doctor until reaching 3600 mg divided into 3 doses morning, afternoon and night. Always under medical supervision.
- In children 6 years or older: the dose to be taken will be prescribed by the doctor and will be calculated based on the child’s weight. Initially, it will be low according to your weight and will increase progressively for approximately three days. To control epilepsy in children, a dose of 25-35 mg / kg / day is used, which should be given three times a day. It should be noted that this drug should not be given to children under six years of age.
If you get to ingest much more than the prescribed dose, it is important to notify your doctor or go to the emergency service of your nearest health center, along with the medicine in its bottle so that they can see what you took and can initiate a therapeutic way in order to reverse the effects that could cause the overdose.
In the event that you have forgotten to take the dose of Gabapentin, the moment you remember you should take it, unlike if it is the time for the next dose. Never double the dose to make up for the one you missed.
You cannot stop taking Gabapentin, unless it is on a doctor’s order. If so, the doctor will be in charge of indicating the way in which you are going to stop doing it, which should be gradually during at least one week. If you suppress it abruptly, you run the risk of having seizures.
Likewise, it is important to maintain permanent communication with your doctor if you are taking Gabapentin. You should not stop consuming the drug on your own, it should be withdrawn by the doctor if necessary to avoid symptoms related to withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea, insomnia and excessive sweating.
Gabapentin: side effects
Gabapentin is capable of generating a large number of side effects , among the most common are:
- Peripheral edema evidenced by swelling of the extremities
There are other side effects such as:
- Memory disorders
- Suicidal thoughts may occur while taking Gabapentin.
- Gastrointestinal disorders include: dry mouth, heartburn, diarrhea, increased appetite.
- Respiratory conditions such as: runny nose, frequent sneezing, sore throat.
- Itching in the eyes
There is another group of side effects that when they occur, immediate communication with the doctor should be established, since they can be serious for the patient, among them are:
- Rash-like skin lesions
- Increase of volume in the face, lips, eyes and tongue.
- Difficulty breathing
Gabapentin in the following cases is contraindicated:
- Hypersensitivity to this medicine
- In patients with kidney failure
- In cases of blood disorders
- People who suffer from gastric problems and consume antacids, because these decrease the absorption of Gabapentin.
In these cases, you should avoid taking Gabapentin, in this way, the appearance of unwanted effects is prevented.
Does Gabapentin make you fat?
The answer is yes, Gabapentin can make you fat , as its consumption results in increased appetite and, consequently, weight gain and fluid accumulation, which is produced by increased thirst. This triggers fluid retention as a side effect of taking this drug.
However, this should not be an impediment to not taking it if you really need Gabapentin. Due to this, it is important that the indications are made by a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis to be treated to avoid side effects due to inappropriate doses.
Do not hesitate to consult with your trusted doctor, the tea will guide you on whether or not you should take Gabapentin, the dose and the duration of treatment to avoid side effects.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Gabapentin: what it is for, dosage and side effects , we recommend that you enter our Medication and medical tests category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.