What are common side effects of Neurontin? How can I manage side effects?

Answers from Cheolsu Shin, M.D.

Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, others) is a medication used to help manage certain epileptic seizures and relieve pain for some conditions, such as shingles (postherpetic neuralgia). Dizziness and drowsiness are common gabapentin side effects. Weight gain and uncoordinated movement are possible side effects.

Some gabapentin side effects, such as drowsiness, are more likely to occur when you first start taking the drug. These side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medication. But, if you're dizzy, unsteady or drowsy, avoid any activities — such as driving or operating machinery — that could be dangerous.

Gabapentin doesn't generally interact with other medications, but it's possible that some side effects may occur because of a combination of drugs you're taking. One exception is antacid medications, such as Maalox, which can affect the way your body absorbs gabapentin. To avoid this issue, be sure to take these medications at least two hours apart from each other.

The most serious concern about certain anti-seizure medications, including gabapentin, is that they may cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about this possible side effect in 2008. Be sure to talk to a doctor or counselor immediately if you're having suicidal thoughts.

And, let your doctor know if you have questions about gabapentin side effects or are experiencing troublesome side effects that aren't going away.

With

Cheolsu Shin, M.D.

June 24, 2015