Side Effects from Gabapentin is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for control of shingles-related pain and partial seizures. Usually, in combination with another anti-seizure medication, Doctors often prescribe GABApentin for other pain conditions and disorders. GABApentin is chemically similar to the naturally occurring brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. Although most people tolerate GABApentin well side effects may occur.
Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors
In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory notifying health-care providers and patients of an increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors related to the use of antiepileptic drugs, including GABApentin. The advisory noted that this side effect occurs in roughly one out of every 530 patients taking antiepileptic medication. Regardless of the indication for which the drug is taken. The FDA-approved prescribing information for GABApentin warns that drug-related suicidal thoughts and behaviors may occur at any time throughout the course of drug therapy.
The National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health’s PubMed Health entry on GABApentin advises that patients and their family members should contact the prescribing doctor if unusual mental health symptoms develop such as aggression, anxiety, agitation, violent outbursts, social withdrawal, a preoccupation with death or panic attacks.
Dizziness: Side Effects from GABApentin
The FDA-approved prescribing information for GABApentin lists dizziness as a common side effect of this medication. A study conducted by the drug manufacturer found that 28 percent of patients taking GABApentin for shingles-related pain experienced dizziness compared to 7.5 percent of people taking a sugar pill. Patients are advising to exercise caution while driving or operating any equipment that could potentially lead to accidental injury.
Drowsiness and Fatigue: Side Effects from GABApentin
The National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health report in a PubMed Health entry that drowsiness and fatigue are common side effects of GABApentin. Alcohol may intensify this side effect of the medication.
Upset Stomach: Side Effects from GABApentin
In a review article on GABApentin and other antiepileptic medications published in “American Family Physician,” Drs. William Curry and David Kulling list gastrointestinal upset as a possible side effect of treatment with GABApentin. Nausea, vomiting, and constipation or diarrhea may occur in a small percentage of people taking this medication.
Edema: Gabapentin Side Effects from GABApentin
The FDA-approved prescribing information for GABApentin notes that swelling, or edema, of the legs, ankles, feet or hands may occur while taking the drug. The likelihood of this side effect increases with advancing age.
Unsteadiness: Side Effects from GABApentin
The National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health Medline Plus entry on GABApentin lists unsteadiness, or ataxia, as a possible side effect of treatment with this medication. Patients taking GABApentin are urged to be cautious in order to avoid accidental injury.
Serious Side Effects from GABApentin
Gabapentin may also cause some serious side effects. These side effects are uncommon. However, they may be more common in people who have psychiatric disorders. They include:
- Violent behavior, aggressiveness, or anger
- Anxiousness or restlessness
- The anxiety that is new or worse
- Depression that is new or worse
- Irritability that is new or worse
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- insomnia (trouble sleeping)
Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.