What are common side effects of Neurontin? How can I manage side effects?
Answer From Cheolsu Shin, M.D.
Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise) 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.
Side effects sometimes occur because of a combination of drugs you're taking. Gabapentin doesn't generally interact with other medications, but antacid medications, such as Maalox, can affect the way your body absorbs gabapentin. To avoid this issue, be sure to take gabapentin antacids at least two hours apart from each other.
One concern about certain anti-seizure medications, 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 medications, but the research is unclear about whether or not the medication actually increases this risk. Be sure to talk to a doctor or mental health care provider 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.
April 20, 2019
See more Expert Answers
- Gabapentin. Epilepsy Foundation. https://www.epilepsy.com/medications/gabapentin/advanced. Accessed June 19, 2018.
- Neurontin (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2015. http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=630. Accessed June 19, 2018.
- Information for healthcare professionals: Suicidal behavior and ideation and antiepileptic drugs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://wayback.archive-it.org/7993/20171114185152/https:/www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm100192.htm. Accessed June 22, 2018.
- Hesdorffer DC, et al. Occurrence and recurrence of attempted suicide among people with epilepsy. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73:80.
- 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;544:199.