Gabapentin can be used to treat following health conditions:
- Alcohol Withdrawal
- Benign Essential Tremor
- Bipolar Disorder
- Burning Mouth Syndrome
- Cluster-Tic Syndrome
- Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
- Hot Flashes
- Lhermitte’s Sign
- Nausea/Vomiting, Chemotherapy Induced
- Neuropathic Pain
- Occipital Neuralgia
- Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Postherpetic Neuralgia
- Postmenopausal Symptoms
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
- Restless Legs Syndrome
- Small Fiber Neuropathy
- Transverse Myelitis
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant prescription drug that goes by several brand names including, Neurontin, Gralise, Gabarone, and Fanatrex. It was approved by the FDA in December 1993 for the following main uses.
- Controlling certain types of seizures in people who have epilepsy
- Relieving nerve pain (think: burning, stabbing, or aches) from shingles
- Calming restless legs syndrome
10 Most Common Questions About Gabapentin
- Is there a generic version of gabapentin available?
Since its manufacturer no longer has patent protection on the drug, there are generic versions on the market. They include Neurontin, Gralise, Gabarone, and Fanatrex.
- How much does gabapentin cost?
According to GoodRx.com, generic Gabapentin can cost between $7-$27 for ninety 100mg or 300mg capsules and between $14-$53 for ninety 400mg capsules.
- What is the difference between gabapentin and other mood-stabilizing medications?
This is kind of a trick question. Technically, even though we hear the term “mood stabilizer” quite often, especially in the context of bipolar disorder, the FDA doesn’t officially recognize the term. Not only that, but even researchers and psychiatrists can’t come with a definition everyone agrees on. That said, lithium (which is probably the drug anyone with bipolar disorder is most familiar with) has significant differences from gabapentin. Lithium is in a class called bipolar disorder agents. Gabapentin is in a class called anticonvulsants. Their chemical structures are not the same and they work differently in the body. In addition to being used for bipolar, both have also been used for epilepsy.
- How is gabapentin different from valproate and carbamazepine?
There are claims that gabapentin was successful in helping with rapid cycling and mixed bipolar states in people who have not received relief from valproate or carbamazepine. It appeared that gabapentin helped more with anxiety and agitation than the other two drugs. Likewise, it has been shown to be beneficial with certain types of tardive dyskinesia.
- Are there potential interaction issues for people taking carbamazepine, valproate or lithium?
No interactions between gabapentin and valproate, carbamazepine or lithium have been reported.
- Does gabapentin interact with any other prescriptions or over-the-counter medications, such as MAO inhibitors?
There are only a few interaction issues that are known. Antacids have been known to decrease absorption of the drug. Gabapentin could also increase the level of concentration of some oral contraceptives by up to 13 percent. As far as MAO’s, this particular combination doesn’t present any special issues, but you should always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the medications you are taking.
- Are there any interaction issues between gabapentin and alcohol?
Alcohol has been known to increase the discomfort of Gabapentin’s side effects.
- Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, about to become pregnant, or nursing to take gabapentin?
The FDA placed gabapentin in pregnancy category C. According to studies done on animals, there has been evidence of fetal loss. However, there have been no studies done on humans. Despite all this, experts believe that the benefits gained from taking gabapentin may outweigh its risks.
- Can children and adolescents safely take gabapentin? What about the elderly?
Gabapentin may be used to treat seizures in children as young as 3 years old. The dosages will be different from what you’d give an adult, and the doctor may specify a particular brand name, such as Neurontin. Similar to children, the elderly may start on a lower dose.
- Why do doctors prescribe gabapentin when there are other mood stabilizing medications that have been around for many years? True, there are medications that have been shown to be more effective in double-blind studies that are placebo controlled. But there are two reasons why physicians prescribe gabapentin over more established drugs. One: not everyone improves with the older, more established medications. Two: some people can’t deal with the side effects of the other drugs.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA site for a comprehensive list of warnings.
Warning: The Food and Drug Administration issued a serious warning about gabapentin in 2019. According to the FDA, breathing difficulties may occur in patients who have underlying respiratory problems (or in the elderly) when gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) or pregabalin (Lyrica, Lyrica CR) is taken with other medicines that depress the central nervous system. There is evidence of risk with gabapentinoids alone in otherwise healthy people too; though this evidence is not as strong and is still being monitored.
Additionally, note that there are not a lot of comprehensive studies that look at gabapentin as a way to treat anxiety, mood disorders or tardive dyskinesia (uncontrollable movements). As with any medication, always talk to your health care professional if you have any questions or concerns.