Gabapentin belongs to a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants, used to help control seizures in the treatment of epilepsy. Neurontin will only be able to control seizures for as long as you take it. It can’t cure epilepsy. The following step after being diagnosed is to work with your doctor in choosing the best treatment options for you. Gabapentin capsules, tablets, and oral solution are used 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.
Gabapentin is also sometimes used to relieve the pain of diabetic neuropathy (numbness or tingling due to nerve damage in people who have diabetes), and to treat and prevent hot flashes (sudden strong feelings of heat and sweating) in women who are being treated for breast cancer or who have experienced menopause (”change of life”, the end of monthly menstrual periods). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
Pregabalin (Lyrica), a drug similar to gabapentin, was the first medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat fibromyalgia. While gabapentin hasn’t been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia, some doctors may prescribe it off-label for such use.
Gabapentin and pregabalin were originally approved to treat certain types of epilepsy and nerve pain. Both drugs work by limiting the release of pain-communicating chemicals by nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The most common side effects of both drugs are dizziness and drowsiness.
It is also used to control pain associated with shingles and has been evaluated for pain conditions, including migraine, as its pain-modulating properties may regulate the perception of pain.
Anticonvulsant drugs, such as gabapentin, are becoming increasingly popular for migraine prevention.