What are common side effects of Neurontin? How can I manage side effects?
Answer From Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.
Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) is a medicine used to help manage certain epileptic seizures. It also is used to relieve pain for some conditions, such as shingles. Dizziness and drowsiness are common side effects of gabapentin. Some other possible side effects include weight gain and trouble with movement.
Some gabapentin side effects, such as feeling drowsy, are more likely to occur when you start taking the medicine. These side effects may go away as your body adjusts. Avoid driving, operating machinery or other activities that could be dangerous if you're dizzy, drowsy or not steady.
Side effects sometimes occur because of a combination of medicines you're taking. Gabapentin doesn't generally interact with other medicines. But antacids, such as Maalox, can affect the way your body absorbs gabapentin. To avoid this issue, be sure to take gabapentin and antacids at least two hours apart.
Stopping gabapentin suddenly may increase your risk of seizures. Talk with your health care team before you stop taking the medicine.
A concern about some anti-seizure medicines, including gabapentin, is that they might cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Some studies have found an increase in suicidal behaviors in people taking anti-seizure medicines. But the research is unclear about whether the medicine actually increases this risk. Be sure to talk to a health care provider or mental health provider right away if you're having suicidal thoughts.
And let your provider know if you have questions about gabapentin side effects or if your side effects aren't going away.
Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.
Dec. 28, 2022
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See more Expert Answers
- Gabapentin. Epilepsy Foundation. https://www.epilepsy.com/tools-resources/seizure-medication-list/gabapentin. Accessed July 13, 2022.
- Neurontin (prescribing information). Pfizer; 2015. http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=630. Accessed July 13, 2022.
- Mula M. Suicidality and antiepileptic drugs in people with epilepsy: An update. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2022; doi:10.1080/14737175.2022.2064744.
- Hesdorffer DC, et al. Occurrence and recurrence of attempted suicide among people with epilepsy. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016; doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2516.
- Mula M, et al. Antiepileptic drugs and suicidality: An expert consensus statement from the Task Force on Therapeutic Strategies of the ILAE Commission on Neuropsychobiology. Epilepsia. 2013; doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03688.x.
- Graff-Radford J (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Dec. 2, 2022.