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What is gabapentin and how is it beneficial?
Gabapentin is a popular anticonvulsant drug and chemically, it’s different from other mood regulators or anticonvulsant drugs available in the market. On 30 December 1993, the FDA approved this medication finally and allowed to be marketed in the United States (US). Though it is marketed as an anticonvulsant drug, it is also prescribed for other medical conditions like Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) tremors, pain symptoms, hot flashes, besides a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. There are many generic versions of gabapentin in the market. This mood stabilizer medication has been successfully proven to be effective in patients with hard-to-treat depression or other mood disorders. It’s side effects too are relatively minor.
What types of mood and anxiety disorders gabapentin treats?
Gabapentin helps more with agitation and anxiety symptoms as compared to valproate or carbamazepine medications. The research has also proved that gabapentin successfully supports people suffering from certain types of tardive dyskinesia. Gabapentin is beneficial in alcohol used disorders treatment. According to recent research, gabapentin may help to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. It is advisable that before a user starts gabapentin therapy, he/she should undergo a thorough medical examination to rule out any medical issue. This includes a blood or urine test. The thyroid test as related conditions undermine the therapy. The physicians initiate the gabapentin therapy with 300 mg once a day. Depending on the body’s response, the doctor may increase the dose every 3-5 days. The patients may see an increase of up to 4800mg/day. No research has hitherto reported any interaction of gabapentin with valproate, carbamazepine or lithium. Gabapentin has a half-life of six hours and hence, it is advised to be administered 3-4 times a day.
Are the side effects of gabapentin life-threatening?
The common side effects include dizziness, blurred or double vision, fatigue, Nystagmus, which is an involuntary eye movement, sleepiness, tremors, and unsteadiness. Most people experience side effects after they start taking this medication or increase the dose. The common side effects may fade after a while. But it is better to consult a doctor, if these symptoms appear. There are serious side effects following which your physician may advise stopping gabapentin altogether. The symptoms include nausea or/and vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, sleepiness, and unsteadiness. There are some serious psychiatric side effects that come from taking this medication. They include agitation, decreased libido, depersonalization, and mania. Most of the side effects are not life-threatening but a patient needs to be cautious while taking this drug.