Downsides of Taking Gabapentin

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness, fever, and nystagmus (a rapid and uncontrollable movement of the eyes). Drowsiness caused by gabapentin may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. Alcohol and other drugs with sedative properties enhance this effect.
  • May cause behavioral problems, hostility or aggression, or thought disturbances when used to treat epilepsy in children aged three to twelve years.
  • Other side effects may include blurred vision, amblyopia (lazy eye), dry mouth, peripheral edema (fluid retention in the feet and hands), tremor, sexual dysfunction, and gastrointestinal disturbances.
  • Best titrated up slowly to reduce the risk of side effects; however, this may delay the onset of an effect.
  • Similar to other anticonvulsant medicines, gabapentin may increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts, particularly in young adults under the age of 24.
  • Gabapentin has been associated with a discontinuation syndrome when abruptly stopped. Symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, pain, and sweating. It should be tapered off slowly under a doctor’s advice.
  • The dosage of gabapentin needs to be reduced in kidney disease.
  • Rarely, hypersensitivity reactions may occur. Symptoms may include fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, swollen facial features, or throat swelling.
  • May interact with some other medications including antacids, hydrocodone, morphine, and other drugs that cause sedation or dizziness. May also cause false-positive results on some urinary protein tests.
  • There have been some reports of gabapentin misuse and abuse, particularly in people with a history of drug abuse. Be alert for this possibility.
  • Gabapentin requires three times daily administration because of its short duration of effect. Gabapentin enacarbil (brand name Horizant) only requires once-daily dosing.
  • Only effective for partial-onset seizures, not other types of seizure disorders.
  • Some branded and generic forms of gabapentin are not interchangeable.