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Treatments > Medications Used In MS


Brand Name Chemical Name

Neurontin (U.S.)

Gabapentin
(ga-ba-PEN-tin)

Primary Usage in MS

Generic Available
Pain (dysesthesias) Yes

Description
Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic used to control some types of seizures in epilepsy. It is used in multiple sclerosis to control dysesthesias (pain caused by MS lesions) and the pain caused by spasticity.

Proper Usage
Gabapentin may be taken with or without food. You must wait two hours after taking an antacid to take gabapentin.? If gabapentin is taken three times a day, do not allow more than 12 hours to elapse between any two doses.

If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double dose.

Precautions
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system depressants that may cause drowsiness (e.g., antihistamines, sedatives, tranquilizers, prescription pain medications, seizure medications, muscle relaxants). Be sure that your physician knows if you are taking these or any other medications.

Before having any medical tests, or surgical, dental, or emergency treatment of any kind, be sure to let the health care professional know that you are taking this medication. Consult with your physician before stopping this medication since stopping abruptly may result in seizures. Depending on the dose you are taking, your physician may want you to decrease your dosage gradually in order to avoid seizures.

Gabapentin has not been studied in pregnant women. However, animal studies have shown possible bone and kidney problems in offspring. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, discuss this with your physician before starting this medication.

It is not known whether gabapentin passes into the breast milk. Women who wish to breastfeed should consult with their physician.

Possible Side Effects
Side effects that typically go away as your body adjusts to the medication and do not require medical attention unless they continue for several weeks or are bothersome: blurred or double vision*; dizziness; drowsiness, muscle ache; swelling of hands or legs; tremor*; unusual tiredness*; weakness*; diarrhea, frequent urination*; indigestion; low blood pressure; slurred speech*; sleep difficulty; weakness*.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur: clumsiness or unsteadiness*; continuous, uncontrolled eye movements; depression; mood changes; memory problems*; hoarseness; lower back pain; painful or difficult urination.

Symptoms of overdose requiring immediate attention: double vision*; severe diarrhea, dizziness; drowsiness; slurred speech*.

*Since it may be difficult to distinguish between certain common symptoms of MS and some side effects of gabapentin, be sure to consult your health care professional if an abrupt change of this type occurs.

Medication Index

Other Medications Used to Treat MS-related Pain

About Pain in MS

Pain: The Basic Facts
Types of pain, therapies, self-help, resources, and more.


Reprinted with permission from Rosalind C. Kalb (ed.), Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have—The Answers You Need, 3rd Edition. New York: Demos Medical Publishing, Inc., 2004

Last updated February 11, 2005

     
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