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Side Effects of Gabapentin

Side Effects of Gabapentin

Gabapentin is a drug commonly prescribed for patients suffering from seizures but like any other medication, it is not free from side effects. It is discussed below:
Nicks J
Last Updated: Jan 27, 2018
A side effect of any medicine is the negative response of the body when the medicine is consumed in normal doses. Mild side effects are temporary, and not a cause for concern, but, there are some unwanted side effects that last for quite some time, and affect overall health.
Gabapentin is a medication used to manage seizures associated with epilepsy. It controls the shaking caused by sudden muscle contraction. Children suffering from partial seizures, and children below 13 years of age are also given gabapentin treatment. It is prescribed often for nerve pain conditions, such as peripheral neuropathy. Studies have confirmed that daily usage of gabapentin causes some side effects.
Gabapentin Side Effects
Very few people who undergo gabapentin treatment experience side effects. In most cases, side effects that do occur, improve with time. Minor side effects are not bothersome and go away during treatment. However, people who experience serious side effects should immediately consult a doctor. These include:
  • Significant coordination problems
  • Allergic reactions that include itching, hives, unexplained rash and swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Unsteadiness or clumsiness
  • Uncontrolled eye movements (continuous rolling of the eyes)
  • Severe dizziness
Children under 13 years of age who need to undergo gabapentin treatment are not given capsules or tablets. Instead, a liquid form of this medicine is recommended. Generally, children experience side effects when the treatment has just begun, but, once the body gets accustomed to the medication, these are known to lessen. An important point to note is that only a small percentage of children experience the side effects mentioned below:
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty in paying attention (concentration problems)
  • Hyperactiveness
Children above 13 years of age may experience less common side effects such as:
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Swelling and pain in hands or legs
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Ulcers or sores on the lips
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
There are also some side effects that occur infrequently in adults, and require immediate medical advice. Some of them are listed below:
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Migraines
  • Ulcers
  • Indigestion
Gabapentin should not be taken during pregnancy, as it can cause harm to the fetus. Safety of the unborn baby is at great risk if exposed to it. People with kidney disorders should consult the doctor before taking this medicine, as the body finds it difficult to remove gabapentin through the kidneys. People undergoing gabapentin treatment should not discontinue this medicine abruptly, as this can aggravate the condition. The dosage should be decreased gradually over a period of time. Sudden discontinuation of the medicine can increase the risk of developing seizures. While on this medication, alcoholic drinks should be avoided, as unpleasant reactions may develop after consuming alcohol.
The following side effects are observed in people who consume alcohol while taking this anti-seizure medicine:
  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Nausea
  • Redness of face
  • Palpitations
When taking this medication, it is essential to visit the doctor at regular intervals to observe if the medicine is effective in treating your condition. Doctors may advise to lower the prescribed dosage to minimize any unwanted side effects.