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Gabapentin is a prescription medication used to treat adults with nerve pain caused by shingles. Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that also causes chickenpox. Gabapentin is also used in combination with other medications to treat partial seizures. Gabapentin belongs to a group of drugs called anticonvulsants, which help treat seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. It also works by altering the way the body senses pain.
This medication comes in tablet, capsule, and oral (by mouth) solution forms and is taken up to 3 times a day, with or without food. The capsules are taken with a full glass of water.
Common side effects of gabapentin include lack of coordination, dizziness, and drowsiness. Do not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
Uses of Gabapentin
Gabapentin is a prescription medicine used to treat:
- Pain from damaged nerves (postherpetic pain) that follows healing of shingles (a painful rash that comes after a herpes zoster infection) in adults.
- Partial seizures when taken together with other medicines in adults and children 3 years of age and older.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Gabapentin Brand Names
Gabapentin may be found in some form under the following brand names:
Gabapentin Drug Class
Gabapentin is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Gabapentin
Serious side effects have been reported with gabapentin. See “Drug Precautions” section.
The most common side effects of gabapentin include:
- lack of coordination
- viral infection
- feeling drowsy
- feeling tired
- jerky movements
- difficulty with speaking
- temporary loss of memory
- difficulty with coordination
- double vision
- unusual eye movement
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of gabapentin. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- hydrocodone (found in medications such as Vicodin, Norco, and Lorcet)
- morphine (found in medications such as Kadian, MS Contin, and RMS Suppository)
This is not a complete list of gabapentin drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Do not stop taking gabapentin without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Stopping gabapentin suddenly can cause serious problems.
Gabapentin can cause serious side effects including:
- 1. Like other antiepileptic drugs, gabapentin may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500.
Call a healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:
- thoughts about suicide or dying
- attempts to commit suicide
- new or worse depression
- new or worse anxiety
- feeling agitated or restless
- panic attacks
- trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- new or worse irritability
- acting aggressive, being angry, or violent
- acting on dangerous impulses
- an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
- other unusual changes in behavior or mood
How you can watch for early symptoms of suicidal thoughts and actions:
- Pay attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings.
- Keep all follow-up visits with your healthcare provider as scheduled.
Call your healthcare provider between visits as needed, especially if you are worried about symptoms.
Do not stop taking gabapentin without first talking to a healthcare provider.
- Stopping gabapentin suddenly can cause serious problems. Stopping a seizure medicine suddenly in a patient who has epilepsy can cause seizures that will not stop (status epilepticus).
Suicidal thoughts or actions can be caused by things other than medicines. If you have suicidal thoughts or actions, your healthcare provider may check for other causes.
- 2. Changes in behavior and thinking - Using gabapentin in children 3 to 12 years of age can cause emotional changes, aggressive behavior, problems with concentration, restlessness, changes in school performance, and hyperactivity.
- 3. Gabapentin may cause a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction that may affect your skin or other parts of your body such as your liver or blood cells. You may or may not have a rash when you get this type of reaction. It may cause you to be hospitalized or to stop gabapentin. Call a healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
- skin rash
- swollen glands that do not go away
- swelling of your lip and tongue
- yellowing of your skin or of the whites of the eyes
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- severe fatigue or weakness
- unexpected muscle pain
- frequent infections
These symptoms may be the first signs of a serious reaction. A healthcare provider should examine you to decide if you should continue taking gabapentin.
Do not take gabapentin if you are allergic to gabapentin or any of the other ingredients in gabapentin.
Do not drink alcohol or take other medicines that make you sleepy or dizzy while taking gabapentin without first talking with your healthcare provider. Taking gabapentin with alcohol or drugs that cause sleepiness or dizziness may make your sleepiness or dizziness worse.
Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how gabapentin affects you. Gabapentin can slow your thinking and motor skills.
Gabapentin Food Interactions
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of gabapentin there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving gabapentin.
Before taking gabapentin, tell your healthcare provider if you:
- have or have had kidney problems or are on hemodialysis
- have or have had depression, mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behavior
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Taking gabapentin with certain other medicines can cause side effects or affect how well they work. Do not start or stop other medicines without talking to your healthcare provider.
Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
Gabapentin and Pregnancy
Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if gabapentin can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while taking gabapentin. You and your healthcare provider will decide if you should take gabapentin while you are pregnant.
- If you become pregnant while taking gabapentin, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy. You can enroll in this registry by calling 1-888-233-2334.
Gabapentin and Lactation
Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Gabapentin can pass into breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide how you will feed your baby while you take gabapentin.
- Take gabapentin exactly as prescribed. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much Gabapentin to take.
- Do not change your dose of gabapentin without talking to your healthcare provider. If you break a tablet in half, the unused half of the tablet should be taken at your next scheduled dose. Half tablets not used within several days of breaking should be thrown away. If taking capsules, always swallow them whole with plenty of water.
- Gabapentin can be taken with or without food. If you take an antacid containing aluminum and magnesium, such as Maalox, Mylanta, Gelusil, Gaviscon, or Di-Gel, you should wait at least 2 hours before taking your next dose of gabapentin.
- If you take too much gabapentin, call your healthcare provider or your local Poison Control Center right away.
- Do not drink alcohol or take other medicines that make you sleepy or dizzy while taking gabapentin without first talking with your healthcare provider. Taking gabapentin with alcohol or drugs that cause sleepiness or dizziness may make your sleepiness or dizziness worse.
- Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how gabapentin affects you. Gabapentin can slow your thinking and motor skills.
In adults with postherpetic neuralgia, gabapentin therapy may be started as a single 300-mg dose on Day 1, 600 mg/day on Day 2 (divided twice daily), and 900 mg/day on Day 3 (divided three times daily). The dose can be increased as needed for pain relief to a daily dose of 1800 mg (divided three times daily). Additional benefit of using doses greater than 1800 mg/day was not shown.
Gabapentin is recommended for as add-on therapy in patients 3 years of age and older. Effectiveness in children below the age of 3 years has not been established.
Patients >12 years of age:
The effective dose of gabapentin is 900 to 1800 mg/day and given in divided doses (three times a day). The starting dose is 300 mg three times a day. If necessary, the dose may be increased to three times a day up to 1800 mg/day. The maximum time between doses in the three times daily schedule should not exceed 12 hours.
Pediatric Patients Age 3–12 years:
The starting dose should range from 10–15 mg/kg/day in 3 divided doses, and the dose can be increased gradually over approximately 3 days.
- The effective dose of gabapentin in patients 5 years of age and older is 25–35 mg/kg/day and given in divided doses (three times a day).
- The effective dose in pediatric patients ages 3 and 4 years is 40 mg/kg/day and given in divided doses (three times a day).
The maximum time interval between doses should not exceed 12 hours.
Dosing is also based on the functional status of your kidneys.
If gabapentin is stopped and/or a different anticonvulsant medication is added to the therapy, this should be done gradually over a minimum of 1 week.
If you take too much gabapentin, call your healthcare provider or your local Poison Control Center right away.
- Store gabapentin capsules between 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
- Store gabapentin tablets between 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
- Store gabapentin oral solution in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C).
Keep gabapentin and all medicines out of the reach of children.
Related Clinical Trials
- Stanford Accelerated Recovery Trial (START)
- The Effect of Gabapentin on the Sensation and Impact of Tinnitus
- A Study of Single-Dose Gabapentin in Subjects With Transient Insomnia Induced by a Sleep Phase Advance
- Gabapentin in Fibromyalgia Trial (GIFT)
- Specific Interventions for Agitation in Alzheimer's Disease
- Gabapentin for Abstinence Initiation in Alcohol Dependence
- Pain Control With Total Knee Replacement
- Treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome With Once Daily Gastric-Retentive Gabapentin (Gralise)
- Effectiveness of Gabapentin When Used With Naltrexone to Treat Alcohol Dependence Compared to Placebo and Naltrexone Alone
- Pregabalin Compared to Gabapentin for Pain Control in Lumbar Disc Surgery
- Safety and Efficacy of Gabapentin in Postherpetic Neuralgia
- A Phase III Open-Label Study Of Gabapentin As Adjunctive Therapy In Japanese Pediatric Patients With Partial Seizures
- Evaluation of Anxiolysis and Pain Associated With Retrobulbar Eye Block for Cataract Surgery : Melatonin Versus Gabapentin
- A Study on the Efficacy and Safety of Gabapentin in the Treatment of Patients With Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
- A Study of Single-Dose Gabapentin in Transient Insomnia Induced by a Sleep Phase Advance
- The Role of Gabapentin in Postoperative Pain and Epithelialization After Photorefractive Keratectomy
- Dextromethorphan, Gabapentin, and Oxycodone to Treat Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia
- Gabapentin in Phantom and Stump Pain
- Preoperative Gabapentin for Post-tonsillectomy Pain in Children
- Influence of Intestinal Transporter Genetic Variants on the Bioavailability of Gabapentin
- Postoperative Tramadol/Gabapentin/Acetaminophen Versus Tramadol/Placebo/Acetaminophen
- A Study Of Lidocaine Patch 5% Alone, Gabapentin Alone, And Lidocaine Patch 5% And Gabapentin In Combination For The Relief Of Pain In Patients With Diverse Peripheral Neuropathic Pain Conditions
- Clinical Trial of Gabapentin to Improve Postoperative Pain in Surgical Patients
- Perioperative Use of Gabapentin To Decrease Narcotic Requirements in Spinal Fusion
- Neuropathic Pain Management
- Gabapentin With or Without Antidepressants in Treating Hot Flashes in Women Who Have Had Breast Cancer or Have Concerns About Taking Hormone Therapy
- A Study to Compare Safety and Efficacy of Tramadol Hydrochloride/Acetaminophen With Gabapentin in Participants With Diabetic Neuropathy
- Gabapentin to Treat Itch in Patients With Liver Disease
- An Open Label Pharmacokinetic Study Of Gabapentin In Japanese Subjects With Renal Impairment Including Hemodialysis
- Maintenance Gabapentin to Prolong Pregnancy.
- Gabapentin for the Treatment of Neuroleptic-Induced Tremor
- Bioequivalence Study of 300 mg Gabapentin
- Preanalgesic Effect of Gabapentin in Total Knee Repair
- Optimal Multimodal Analgesia in Abdominal Hysterectomy
- The Effectiveness of Gabapentin for Post-operative Pain Following Cesarean Section
- Optimal Multimodal Analgesia in Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
- The Effectiveness and Safety of Gabapentin for Post-operative Pain After Cesarean Section
- Pharmacotherapy and Mechanisms of Sleep Disturbance in Alcohol Dependence
- Gabapentin in Preventing Nausea and Vomiting in Patients Receiving Chemotherapy
- Does Postoperative Gabapentin Reduce Pain, Opioid Consumption and Anxiety and Have a Positive Effect on Health Related Quality of Life After Radical Prostatectomy?
- Drug Use Investigation Of Gabapentin
- Next-Day Residual Effects of Gabapentin, Diphenhydramine and Triazolam on Simulated Driving Performance in Normal Volunteers
- Etoricoxib Versus Gabapentin for Knee Arthroscopy
- How Does Gabapentin Affects Post-operative Tonsillectomy Pain?
- Gabapentin Treatment of Benzodiazepine Dependence
- Efficacy of Gabapentin or Amitriptyline to Reduce Postoperative Pain After Lumbar Laminectomy and Diskectomy
- The Effect of Neurontin on Pain Management in the Acutely Burned Patient
- Drug Discrimination in Methadone-Maintained Humans Study 1
- Gabapentin in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting Induced by Chemotherapy
- Reduction of Postherpetic Neuralgia in Herpes Zoster
- Effectiveness of Gabapentin on Chronic Irritability in Neurologically Impaired Children
- Gabapentin Versus Estrogen for the Treatment of Hot Flashes
- Pain Control in Pediatric Posterior Spine Fusion Patients: The Effect of Gabapentin
- Gabapentin Versus Transdermal Fentanyl Matrix for Chronic Neuropathic Pain
- A Relative Bioavailability Study of Gabapentin 400 mg Capsules Under Non-fasting Conditions
- A Relative Bioavailability Study of Gabapentin Tablets 800 mg Under Non-fasting Conditions
- Efficacy and Safety of Gabapentin in Treating Overactive Bladder
- A Prospective, Observational Study On The Effectiveness Of New Antiepileptic Drugs As First Bitherapy In The Daily Clinical Practice
- Comparison of Oral Gabapentin and Pregabalin in Postoperative Pain Control After Photorefractive Keratectomy
- A Relative Bioavailability Study of Gabapentin Tablets 800 mg Under Fasting Conditions
- Safety and Efficacy of Gabapentin in Postherpetic Neuralgia
- Cross-Over Comparison of Gabapentin and Memantine as Treatment for Acquired Nystagmus
- Oral Clonidine & Gabapentin: Improving Recovery and Pain Management After Outpatient With Major Orthopedic Surgery
- Study of the Effect of the Drug Gabapentin on Postoperative Pain and Incidence of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting
- Gabapentin for Insomnia Symptoms and Nighttime Vasomotor Symptoms in Peri- and Postmenopausal Women
- Safety and Efficacy of Gabapentin for Neuropathic Pain in Fabry Disease
- Comparing Gabapentin and Amitriptyline for the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain in Children and Adolescents
- Analgesic Effects of Gabapentin After Scoliosis Surgery in Children
- Gabapentin vs Chlordiazepoxide for Ambulatory Alcohol Withdrawal
- Efficacy and Safety of Gabapentin/B-complex Versus Pregabalin in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Pain Management
- A Limited Food Effect Study of Gabapentin 800 mg Tablets
- The Effect of Gabapentin on Thoracic Epidural Analgesia Following Thoracotomy
- Bioequivalence Study of Gabapentin 800 mg Tablets Under Fasting Conditions
- Fibromyalgia Treatment Trial With Gabapentin and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
- Post-Operative Pain Scores and Analgesic Requirements After Elective Inguinal Herniorrhaphy
- Treatment of Ilioinguinal Entrapment Syndrome - an Often Overlooked Cause of Chronic Pelvic Pain
- Pilot Study Comparing Hypnotherapy and Gabapentin for Hot Flashes.
- Gabapentin in Treating Peripheral Neuropathy in Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy
- Does a Perioperative Course of Gabapentin Improve Analgesia After Cesarean Delivery?
- A Trial of Gabapentin in Vulvodynia: Biological Correlates of Response
- Gabapentin in Treating Hot Flashes in Patients With Prostate Cancer
- Pain Management in Children and Young Adults With Sickle Cell Disease
- Gabapentin for Prophylaxis Intrathecal Morphine-Induced Pruritus
- A Trial to Assess Consumer Self-Selection and Use of Gabapentin for Occasional Sleeplessness in an Over-the-Counter Environment
- Plasma Gabapentin Concentration During and Following Cardiac Bypass
- A Polysomnographic Study of Single-Dose Gabapentin in Transient Insomnia Induced by a Sleep Phase Advance
- A 28-Day Polysomnographic Study of Gabapentin in Transient Insomnia Induced by a Sleep Phase Advance
- Bioequivalence Study Of Gabapentin Between Tablet And Liquid Formulation And The Food Effect Study Of Liquid Formulation
- Effect of Gabapentin on Idiopathic Subjective Tinnitus
- Steroids Versus Gabapentin
- Prometa Protocol for Alcohol Dependence
- Gabapentin Treatment of Alcohol Dependence
- Study To Assess The Effect Of Gabapentin, Diphenhydramine And Morphine On Cold Pain In Healthy Male Volunteers
- Gabapentin in Functional Dyspepsia Refractory to Proton Pump Inhibition
- Multimodal Analgesic Treatment Versus Traditional Morphine Analgesia After Cardiac Surgery
- Gabapentin's Effects on Insomnia in Patients With Recent Concussion
- Oral Gabapentin Versus Placebo for Treatment of Postoperative Pain Following Photorefractive Keratectomy
- Efficacy of Gabapentin in the Treatment of Chest Pain and Paresthesia in Patients With Sternotomy
- The Effect of Gabapentin, Ketamine and Dexamethasone on Pain and Opioid Requirements After Hip Surgery
- Gabapentin to Improve Patient Tolerance in Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- To Evaluate if the Medication Gabapentin Lessens Vulvar Pain
- Morphine Consumption in Joint Replacement Patients, With or Without Gabapentin Treatment
- Preoperative Gabapentin for Acute and Chronic Post-thoracotomy Analgesia
- Does Peri-Operative Gabapentin Reduce Chronic Post-Thoracotomy Pain?
- Breeze3:Study of Gabapentin Extended Release in the Treatment of Vasomotor Symptoms(Hot Flashes)in Postmenopausal Women
- An Open-Label Comparison of Duloxetine to Other Alternatives for the Management of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain
- Study of Efficacy of Gabapentin in Therapy of Bronchial Asthma
- Morphine COnsumption in Joint Replacement Patients, With and Without GaBapentin Treatment, a RandomIzed ControlLEd Study
- A Study to Assess the Pharmacodynamic Interaction Between Gabapentin and Ethanol in Healthy Subjects
- A Polysomnographic Study Of Single-Dose Gabapentin In Transient Insomnia
- Acupuncture and Gabapentin for Hot Flashes Among Breast Cancer Survivors
- Efficacy and Safety of Ramelteon Combined With Gabapentin in Treating Patients With Insomnia
- Gabapentin Treatment of Cannabis Dependence
- Chronic Low Back Pain Research Project
- Clinical Efficacy of Sertraline Augmented With Gabapentin in Depressed, Recently Abstinent Cocaine-dependent Humans
- Gabapentin For the Control of Hot Flashes in Women With Breast Cancer
- Bioequivalence Study of Gabapentin 800 mg Tablets Under Fed Conditions
- Safety and Efficacy of Gabapentin in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
- Gabapentin for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Gabapentin for the Treatment of Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women
- Does Gabapentin and Lamotriginel Have Significantly Fewer Side-Effects While Providing Equal or Better Seizure Control Than the Current Drug Choice, Carbamazepine, for the Treatment of Seizures in the Elderly.
- Gabapentin - A Solution to Uremic Pruritus?
- Treatment of Pendular Nystagmus With Gabapentin and Memantine in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis
- Quality of Life Study Using Gabapentin Versus Venlafaxine in Treating Hot Flashes in Patients With Prostate Cancer
- Safety and Efficacy of Gabapen for Pediatric (Regulatory Post Marketing Commitment Plan)
- Effects of Gabapentin in the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain on Driving Performance and Cognition
- A Comparison of EpiCept™ NP-1 Topical Cream vs. Oral Gabapentin in Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)
- ACL Repair and Multimodal Analgesia
- Therapeutic Interventions For Pain Induced By Vincristine Treatment For Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
- A Post-Marketing Clinical Pharmacokinetics Study Of Gabapentin In Japanese Epileptic Subjects With Renal Impairment
- Gabapentin Treatment of Cannabis Dependence
- Comparative Study Of Pregabalin And Gabapentin As Adjunctive Therapy In Subjects With Partial Seizures
- A Relative Bioavailability Study of Gabapentin 400 mg Capsules Under Fasting Conditions
- Study of Gabapentin Extended Release (G-ER) in the Treatment of Vasomotor (Hot Flashes/Hot Flushes) Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women
- Bioequivalence Study of Gabapentin 400 mg Capsules Under Fasting Conditions
- Novel Topical Therapies for the Treatment of Genital Pain
- Gabapentin for the Treatment of Pruritus Caused by Burn Injuries in Children
- Tamoxifen in Women With Breast Cancer and in Women at High-Risk of Breast Cancer Who Are Receiving Venlafaxine, Citalopram, Escitalopram, Gabapentin, or Sertraline
- Gabapentin Treatment of Benzodiazepine Abuse in Methadone Maintenance Patients
- A Phase III Open-Label Extension Study Of Gabapentin As Adjunctive Therapy In Japanese Pediatric Patients With Partial Seizures
- Efficacy of Gabapentin in Prevention of Tourniquet Pain and Hypertension
- A Study of the Safety of Gabapentin in a Potential Over-the-Counter Population With Occasional Sleeplessness
- A Relative Bioavailability Study of Gabapentin 800 mg Tablets Under Fasting Conditions
- Analgesic Effect of Gabapentin in Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA)
- Three Way Interaction Between Gabapentin, Duloxetine, and Donepezil in Patients With Diabetic Neuropathy
- Comparing the Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Using Gabapentin Versus Lorazepam
- Population Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) Modeling of Co-administered Gabapentin in Neuropathic Pain