Neurontin (gabapentin) is an anti-epileptic medication, also called an anticonvulsant. It affects chemicals and nerves in the body that are involved in the cause of seizures and some types of pain.
Neurontin is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat seizures caused by epilepsy in adults and children who are at least 12 years old. Neurontin is also used with other medications to treat partial seizures in children who are 3 to 12 years old.
Neurontin is also used in adults to treat nerve pain caused by herpes virus or shingles (herpes zoster).
Neurontin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Important information about Neurontin
You should not use Neurontin if you are allergic to gabapentin. Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking Neurontin
You should not use Neurontin if you are allergic to gabapentin.
To make sure Neurontin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- kidney disease;
- liver disease;
- heart disease; or
- (for patients with RLS) if you are a day sleeper or work a night shift.
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using Neurontin. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Neurontin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
Gabapentin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take Neurontin?
Take Neurontin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Neurontin can be taken with or without food.
If you break a Neurontin tablet and take one half of it, take the other half at your next dose. Any tablet that has been broken should be used as soon as possible or within a few days.
Measure liquid Neurontin oral solution with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
If your doctor changes your brand, strength, or type of gabapentin, your dosage needs may change. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the new kind of gabapentin you receive at the pharmacy.
Do not stop using Neurontin suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take Neurontin. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.
This medication can cause you to have a false positive urine protein screening test. If you provide a urine sample for testing, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking Neurontin.
Store the tablets and capsules at room temperature away from light and moisture.
Store Neurontin oral solution in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Be sure to take the medicine with food. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Neurontin?
This medication may cause blurred vision or impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.
Avoid taking an antacid within 2 hours before or after you take Neurontin. Antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb gabapentin.
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of Neurontin.
Neurontin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Neurontin: hives; fever; swollen glands; painful sores in or around your eyes or mouth; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, depression, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- increased seizures;
- fever, swollen glands, body aches, flu symptoms;
- skin rash, easy bruising or bleeding, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
- upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- chest pain, irregular heart rhythm, feeling short of breath;
- confusion, nausea and vomiting, swelling, rapid weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all;
- new or worsening cough, fever, trouble breathing;
- rapid back and forth movement of your eyes; or
- severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Some side effects are more likely in children taking Neurontin. Contact your doctor if the child taking this medication has any of the following side effects:
- changes in behavior;
- memory problems;
- trouble concentrating; or
- acting restless, hostile, or aggressive.
Common Neurontin side effects may include:
- dizziness, drowsiness;
- dry mouth, blurred vision;
- diarrhea; or
- swelling in your hands or feet.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Neurontin side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Neurontin?
Taking Neurontin with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before taking Neurontin with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with this medicine, especially:
- hydrocodone, (Lortab, Vicodin and others);
- morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Oramorph, and others); or
- naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve, Anaprox, and others).
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with gabapentin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.