Shingles Home > Gabapentin

Gabapentin is often prescribed to relieve pain following a shingles infection and to treat partial seizures in people with epilepsy. The drug comes in tablet, capsule, and liquid form, and is typically taken one to three times a day. It is not entirely clear how gabapentin works, but it is believed to affect calcium channels in the brain. Possible side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, and coordination problems.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin (Neurontin®) is a prescription medication used to treat the following conditions:
  • Epilepsy -- Gabapentin is approved to be used along with other seizure medications to treat partial seizures in adults and children as young as three years old.
  • Shingles nerve pain -- This medication is also approved to treat the chronic nerve pain that often occurs after an outbreak of shingles (known medically as postherpetic neuralgia).
(Click What Is Gabapentin Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Gabapentin is made by Pfizer, Inc.

How Does Gabapentin Work?

It is not known exactly how gabapentin works for nerve pain. In addition, it is not known exactly how the drug works to prevent partial seizures in people with epilepsy. Gabapentin does affect certain calcium channels in the brain, and this may be how it works for seizures and nerve pain.

Effects of Gabapentin

Several studies have looked at the effects of the drug on treating seizures and nerve pain.
Nerve Pain After Shingles
Several studies have evaluated the effectiveness of gabapentin for treating nerve pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia. People who took the drug experienced less pain, compared to those not taking it. In one study, as many as 34 percent of people taking gabapentin reported having half as much pain (or less), compared to just 14 percent of a similar group of people not taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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