Gabapentin (Neurontin ).
Gabapentin belongs to a class of drugs called anticonvulsants, which means it was originally developed to treat seizures. Gabapentin is still used to treat seizure disorders, but it is also often used to treat neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is pain that is related to nerve injury or inflammation. If the nerves are injured by trauma (including surgery and radiation), infection, compression of the nerve by a tumor, or damage from chemotherapy, gabapentin can often help relieve the associated pain. No one knows the exact mechanism by which gabapentin treats neuropathic pain, but it may be related to the way nerves send their pain signals to the brain.
How to take gabapentin
Gabapentin comes as capsules, tablets, slow-release (long-acting) tablets and an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth with water. Capsules and tablets should be taken whole; do not chew, break or open. The medicine is usually prescribed 3 times a day and should be taken at regular intervals throughout the day and night. If you are taking the slow-release version, follow your doctor's instructions and take the medicine with food.
It is important to make sure you are taking the correct amount of medicine each time. Before each dose, check that what you are taking matches what you have been prescribed.
This medicine may interact with other medicines; be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines and supplements you are using. Levels of this medication are affected by Maalox (antacid). Gabapentin should be taken at least 2 hours after taking Maalox. You should not drink alcohol, especially with the extended-release formulation, as this affects the way it is released. This medicine may cause slowed breathing when taken with central nervous system depressants such as opioids. You should not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this medicine until you know it is safe to do so.
Storage and Handling
Store this medicine at room temperature in its original container. If you prefer to use a pill box, you may consult the pharmacist who supplies your oncology medicines. Ask your oncology team where to return unused medicine for disposal. Do not flush it down the toilet or throw it in the trash.
Where can I get this medicine?
Gabapentin is available at retail or mail order pharmacies. The oncology team will work with the prescription drug plan to identify an in-network, retail or mail order pharmacy for distribution of the medication.
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.