Precautions and Warnings With Gabapentin
Reviewing precautions and warnings with gabapentin before taking it can help ensure a safe treatment process. This includes discussing certain things with your healthcare provider, such as if you are planning on breastfeeding or becoming pregnant, or if you have kidney disease. Precautions and warnings with gabapentin also include knowing the side effects to watch for and avoiding potential drug interactions.
Gabapentin: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking gabapentin (Neurontin®) if you have:
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings With GabapentinWarnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking gabapentin include the following:
- The medication can cause emotional or behavioral problems, particularly in children. This may include hostility, hyperactivity, concentration problems, and other behavioral problems. Let your healthcare provider know if you notice any such changes in your child that are possibly due to gabapentin.
- As with most seizure medications, stopping gabapentin too quickly can increase your risk of seizures and other problems (see Neurontin Withdrawal).
- The medication increases the risk of certain cancers in rats. It is not known if gabapentin increases the risk of cancer in humans.
- Make sure that you know how gabapentin affects you before driving or operating any machinery, as it can cause drowsiness and dizziness. In general, you should avoid alcohol while taking gabapentin, due to the risk of increasing drowsiness.
- Gabapentin can cause vision problems, especially blurred vision or double vision. Let your healthcare provider know if you notice any vision problems while taking it.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you have kidney disease, as you may need a lower gabapentin dosage.
- Gabapentin can interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Gabapentin).
- Gabapentin is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for pregnant women, although the full risks are not known. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug while pregnant (see Neurontin and Pregnancy).
- Gabapentin passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Neurontin and Breastfeeding).
Early evidence suggests that seizure medications, including gabapentin, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors (see Seizure Medications and Suicide for more information).