Specific Indications for Gabapentin and How It Works
Gabapentin Uses for Postherpetic NeuralgiaAbout one million people develop shingles each year, and a number of them experience a complication called postherpetic neuralgia. This is pain that is present in the affected area for months, or even years, after the shingles rash has healed. The most bothersome of postherpetic neuralgia symptoms is pain. The pain can result in an inability to perform daily tasks of living and may be described as:
- Sharp, electric-like jabs
Postherpetic neuralgia treatment usually involves medication. Gabapentin is one of the medications approved to treat the pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia.
How Does Gabapentin Work?It is not known exactly how gabapentin works for nerve pain, nor is it known exactly how the drug works to prevent partial seizures in people with epilepsy. It is known that gabapentin affects certain calcium channels in the brain, and this may be how it works for seizures and nerve pain.
Is Gabapentin Used for Children?Gabapentin is approved to treat partial seizures in children as young as three years old. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using the drug in children.
Is Gabapentin Used for Off-Label Reasons?On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend gabapentin for something other than the conditions discussed in this article. At this time, off-label gabapentin uses include the treatment of:
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease
- Bipolar disorder
- Hot flashes associated with menopause or breast cancer treatment
- Migraine headaches
- Orthostatic tremor (shakiness of the legs when standing)
- Other types of chronic pain or nerve pain, including diabetic neuropathy
- Social anxiety disorder
- Spasticity (muscle spasms that cause stiffness), including spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS).