Gabapentin, marketed under the name Neurontin, is a medication that is usually for the treatment of epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, and neuropathic pain. It is now widely used for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS.

Unfortunately, Gabapentin, like many medications today, has a lengthy list of side effects. Of course, not everyone will be affected by these side effects, but you should always be aware of them. I have learned it is very important to research the medications that I am prescribed. Do not leave it up to your doctor or pharmacist to check drug interactions and only you know your body and how you feel. In most situations, the benefits will outweigh the downsides, this list is not to scare anyone, it is for you to be informed.

Major Side Effects:

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these Gabapentin side effects occur:

More common:

Clumsiness or unsteadiness
continuous, uncontrolled, back-and-forth, or rolling eye movements

More common in children:

Aggressive behavior or other behavior problems
concentration problems and change in school performance
false sense of well-being
hyperactivity or increase in body movements
rapidly changing moods
reacting too quickly, too emotional, or overreacting
suspiciousness or distrust

Less common:

Black, tarry stools
chest pain
depression, irritability, or other mood or mental changes
loss of memory
pain or swelling in the arms or legs
painful or difficult urination
shortness of breath
sore throat
sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
swollen glands
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness

Incidence not known:

Abdominal or stomach pain
blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
clay-colored stools
dark urine
decreased urine output
fast or irregular heartbeat
increased thirst
itching or skin rash
joint pain
large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
loss of appetite
muscle ache or pain
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
red, irritated eyes
unpleasant breath odor
vomiting of blood
yellow eyes or skin
Minor Side Effects:

Some of Gabapentin side effects may not need medical attention. Your body will adjust to the medicine during treatment and these side effects may go away, but always speak with your doctor about all side effects and let her/him decide if something needs to be altered.

More common:

Blurred vision
cold or flu-like symptoms
lack or loss of strength
lower back or side pain
swelling of the hands, feet, or lower legs
trembling or shaking
Less common or rare:

Accidental injury
appetite increased
back pain
bloated or full feeling
body aches or pain
burning, dry, or itching eyes
change in vision
change in walking and balance
clumsiness or unsteadiness
a cough producing mucus
the decrease in sexual desire or ability
the difficulty with breathing
dryness of the mouth or throat
excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
excessive tearing
eye discharge
feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheadedness
the feeling of warmth or heat
flushed, dry skin
flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
frequent urination
fruit-like breath odor
impaired vision
increased hunger
increased sensitivity to pain
increased sensitivity to touch
increased thirst
noise in the ears
pain, redness, rash, swelling, or bleeding where the skin is rubbed off
passing gas
redness or swelling in the ear
redness, pain, swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
runny nose
tender, swollen glands in the neck
tightness in the chest
tingling in the hands and feet
trouble sleeping
trouble swallowing
trouble thinking
unexplained weight loss
voice changes
weakness or loss of strength
weight gain

Gabapentin comes in 300mg capsules. I take 2 pills in the morning, 2 in the afternoon and 3 at night, for a total of 2100mg per day. This, in combination with my other medications, is keeping the CRPS pain at reasonable levels, with pain spikes happening intermittently.

If you are on Gabapentin, then you are hopefully already aware of the side effects. For those of you that are not, and thinking of possibly taking this drug, this list of side effects can be overwhelming, but fear not, you may actually experience none of these.

I found a great way to check drug interactions is with the app Epocrates. I started using it after I had asked my pharmacist about a medication I was taking and he pulled out his smartphone and pulled up the app.

You are never alone!


One Reply to “Gabapentin…”

  1. Gaba was hell for me, I finally just stopped taking it without telling my doctor… not that I’m recommending that. It’s actually dangerous to stop cold turkey but for me it was worth the risk. It didn’t help with the CRPS symptoms either.

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