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Patient Information on Gabapentin for Occipital Neuralgia

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: DaniellaNicole•updated: 10/30/2009

This article focuses on providing all of the important patient information on Gabapentin for occipital neuralgia.

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    Some patients will be prescribed gabapentin for occipital neuralgia or for general nerve pain. Patients may also be prescribed Neurontin, the brand name. It also has several other uses and was originally created to be an anti-seizure medication.

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    Uses

    This medication has several uses. It was originally created to control seizures in both adults and children more than three years of age. It can also be prescribed to treat shingles-associated nerve pain. Other nerve pain conditions may also benefit from this medication. These include peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, occipital neuralgia, and trigeminal neuralgia.

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    Administration

    Patients taking this medication should take it exactly as directed and they can take it with food if it causes stomach upset, or without food. The dose varies greatly from patient to patient. This medication is often started at a low dose and then gradually increased as the body adjusts to it. The first dose should be taken at bedtime.

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    Contraindications

    Patients with certain medical conditions may not be able to take this medication. Doing so could lead to life-threatening complications. If this drug is prescribed to patients with certain medical conditions they should be closely monitored by their doctor. These medical conditions include liver disease, kidney disease, and heart disease.

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    Side Effects

    Patients taking gabapentin for occipital neuralgia may experience side effects. The common side effects include drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, unsteadiness, nausea, fatigue, weight gain, and vision changes. Serious side effects may also occur and if they do the patient should seek immediate medical attention and alert their doctor. The serious side effects include swollen legs and arms, shaking, tremors, mood and mental changes, loss of coordination, anxiety, abdominal pain, persistent fever, persistent cough and sore throat, red and painful legs or arms, abnormal bleeding and bruising, difficulty breathing, hearing loss, agitation, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, rapid/pressured speech, and suicidal thoughts.

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    Drug Interactions

    Certain medications may interact with this medication. In some cases, this interaction can be life-threatening. The medications that this medication may interact with include morphine and magnesium or aluminum-containing antacids.

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    Risks and Warnings

    Patients should not take this medication within two hours of taking an antacid. Products containing magnesium or aluminum can interfere with this medication's absorption. Patients taking this drug to control seizures may experience a worsening of their symptoms if they stop this drug abruptly. Patients should use extreme caution when participating in dangerous activities. Patients should avoid alcohol. Breastfeeding women should avoid this drug. Pregnant women should only use this medication when absolutely necessary. This medication may affect certain lab tests results, such as tests for urine protein.

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    Resources

    RxList. (2009). Gabapentin. Retrieved on October 27, 2009 from Website: http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm