Nervous system ailments such as neuropathic pain, seizures or restless leg syndrome are common conditions in the United States. According to various sources, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from neuropathic pain, and about 5.1 million people in the US. have a history of epilepsy, while 3.4 million people in the U.S suffer from active forms of epilepsy. 7 to 10% of Americans suffer from restless leg syndrome.
If you or someone you know is currently suffering from nervous system conditions such as neuropathy, epilepsy or restless leg syndrome. Gabapentin, which is an anticonvulsant prescription drug used to treat nerve related conditions, may be able to help.
We have put together a guide covering everything you need to know about the prescription drug, Gabapentin to determine if this drug may be right for you.
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin, which is also marketed under such brand names including Nerontin and Horizant is a prescription drug that belongs to a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It is commonly used to treat adults and children who suffer from partial seizures. It is also effective in helping treat nerve pain such as burning, shooting or stabbing pain. caused by conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, restless leg syndrome or from shingles, which is known as postherpetic neuralgia.
How Does Gabapentin Work to Treat Nervous System Conditions?
As an anticonvulsant, Gabapentin works to suppress overactive nerve activity that may cause seizures or lead to neuropathic or nerve pain. By helping to change the way the brain receives messages from the nerves, it can reduce pain from nerve damage and nervous system conditions.
How Do You Take Gabapentin?
Before starting any new prescription drug, it is imperative that you first consult with your health care provider. Be sure to take your medication as per the recommendations of your healthcare provider and the directions on the prescription label.
Gabapentin is available as a capsule, a tablet, an extended release (long-acting) tablet or as an oral solution (liquid) that is taken by the mouth. You may take Gabapentin with or without food, three times a day, with no more than 12 hours between doses, and it is to be swallowed whole with a full glass of water. The extended-release tablet, (Horizant) would be taken once daily with your evening meal.
Note that you may start with a lower dose of Gabapentin, and your doctor may recommend that you gradually increase the dose.
How Long Does it Take for Gabapentin to Start Working?
Remember, every patient is different. Depending on your body’s response to the medication, you may experience some relief of your symptoms and benefits after only a few days, but it may also take up to 2 months for the medication to reach full efficacy. You may also need to increase your dose to ensure it is effective for you to treat your particular condition and discomfort.
What are Common Side Effects of Gabapentin?
Note that most side effects you may experience from Gabapentin tend to be mild and will gradually dissipate after several days, If you increase your dosage, you may notice that your side effects are worse. Again, as your body adjusts to the new dosage, those side effects will generally begin to wear off as well. Common side effects of Gabapentin include drowsiness, dizziness, muscle tremor or fatigue. Let your doctor know if you are experiencing any side effects and if they are more severe. Less common side effects include weight gain, leg swelling, indigestion, memory loss, changes in vision or mood disturbances, hallucinations and a rash. Always, consult with your doctor if you are experiencing these less common side effects.
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