Gabapentin is used to treat epilepsy.Gabapentin capsules, tablets, and oral solution are used along with other medications to help control certain types of seizures in people who have epilepsy. Gabapentin capsules, tablets, and oral solution are also used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN; the burning, stabbing pain or aches that may last for months or years after an attack of shingles).
Gabapentin extended-release tablets (Horizant) are used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS; a condition that causes discomfort in the legs and a strong urge to move the legs, especially at night and when sitting or lying down). Gabapentin is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. Gabapentin treats seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. Gabapentin relieves the pain of PHN by changing the way the body senses pain.
It is not known exactly how gabapentin works to treat restless legs syndrome.
It’s also taken for nerve pain, which can be caused by different conditions, including diabetes and shingles. Nerve pain can also happen after an injury.
In epilepsy, it’s thought that gabapentin stops seizures by reducing the abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
With nerve pain, it’s thought to block pain by affecting the pain messages travelling through the brain and down the spine.
Gabapentin is available on prescription. It comes as tablets, capsules and a liquid that you swallow.
- You’ll usually take gabapentin 3 times a day. You can take it with or without food.
- Most people who take gabapentin do not get any side effects. But some people may feel sleepy, tired and dizzy. Common side effects are usually mild and go away by themselves.
- It takes at least a few weeks for gabapentin to work.
- Most people do not have to stay on the same brand of gabapentin as there’s very little difference between brands.
- Some people can become addicted to gabapentin after taking it for a long time. When stopping gabapentin you’ll need to reduce your dose gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- If you have epilepsy, you are entitled to free prescriptions for all the medicines you take, not just your epilepsy ones. You can get an application form from your doctor’s surgery.