Categories: Health Blog

8 Possible Side effects of Gabapentin (Neurontin) You Shouldn’t Ignore

Gabapentin is a controlled drug that is commonly used to control seizures. It is an anticonvulsant that reduces the instances of convulsions. The drug is also used in low doses to calm an anxious patient down and is even taken for insomnia. Gabapentin is typically safe to use and is effective in exerting its effects. However, when used for long duration, as seen in cases of diabetic neuropathy and fibromyalgia, the drug may cause certain side effects that are serious and may need medical attention. 

Gabapentin is a drug that modifies the electrical brain wave activity. When taking a drug that works on the most important part of the body, the brain, be sure to look out for any signs and symptoms that must be addressed.

Highlights of Gabapentin

  • Gabapentin is a drug used in the treatment of seizures, neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia.
  • The drug binds to the most active site of the brain membranes to exert its effects.
  • It reduces the frequencies of seizures by altering the electrical activity of the brain waves.
  • It is also used in mild doses to treat anxiety and insomnia.
  • Gabapentin is a controlled drug, and is only available on the prescription of a doctor.
  • Though not common, gabapentin has potential for abuse and the use of the drug must be monitored by healthcare professionals.
  • Since Gabapentin acts on the nerve endings that are present all over the body, several side effects are observed when taking the drug.

Side effects of Gabapentin

1. Unconsciousness

One of the main and most important side effects of gabapentin is its ability to cause severe drowsiness and sleep. It is important that you do not drive or perform any activity while on this medication. Contact your doctor immediately if you see the following signs:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Not waking up for long hours after taking the tablet
  • Frequent dizziness (the dose of medication may need to be altered)
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Tremors
  • Coordination issues- unable to stand or walk, unsteady or jerky movements

2. Seizures

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug that is primarily used to reduce the occurrence of seizures. However, since gabapentin alters the electrical brain waves, the drug has the capacity to cause seizures. Patients with a familial history of convulsions or epilepsy must inform this to the prescribing doctor.

Read Also: Early Warning Signs of a Seizure

3. Allergic reaction

  • Skin rashes and hives: itching and inflammation of the skin may be observed in patients who take gabapentin for the first time. If the redding in the skin worsens, you may be allergic to gabapentin and you will have to talk to your doctor to change your medication.
  • Respiratory depression: Patients with acute asthma may have trouble breathing along with chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Urine production: There may be a change in urine production on long term use of gabapentin. The urine produced by the kidney may be significantly less. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) might be affected which causes abnormal urine production.
  • Trouble passing urine: Patients with an existing kidney disease may have trouble passing urine. The rate of flow of urine may be slow. At times, the patient may even feel discomfort of pain or a burning sensation while urinating.
  • Fluid retention: a common side effect seen with most patients with a kidney disease is fluid retention. Fluid that is not being excreted via urine is retained. The fluid gets accumulated in the lymphatic drains along the ankles, the legs and even in the neck.

Also Read: What is the first Symptoms of Kidney Problems?

  • Yellow appearance: Yellowing of skin, eyes, nail and urine can be signs of the onset of jaundice. This could also be a sign of the presence of high bilirubin that is in circulation.
  • Yellow stools: Yellow coloured stools, loose stools, bleeding in stools may also be a sign of a liver related side effect.

Also Read: #CrediTalk: Know All About The Liver From Dr. Sanjiv Saigal

6. Changes in behavior

  • Suicidal tendencies: People suffering from depression and bipolar disease are particularly susceptible to suicidal thoughts and actions.
  • Mental disorder: Patients on long term use of gabapentin may face hallucinations, attacks of mania, and delusions.
  • Mood changes: bouts of anxiety, irritability, agitation or restlessness may be observed who use gabapentin for the first time. Other side effects observed are confusion, impulsive behavior and inability to focus.

7. Changes in appearance

  • Swelling on the face, the lips and the cheeks may be observed.
  • Bluish coloration on the lips and around the mouth area.
  • Bluish coloration on the nails, the fingers or on the toes may also be observed.
  • Under Eye circles and severe fatigue associated with it is also observed.

8. Withdrawal symptoms

Patients who are epileptic and have convulsions are usually on a life long course of gabapentin. However, patients who have to stop taking the drug must not stop it abruptly. The dose must be tapered until stopped. Withdrawal symptoms that occur when the medication is stopped abruptly include:

  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate

Interactions of Gabapentin

Gabapentin reacts with a couple of foods and other medications. These foods and drugs must be avoided to control any potential adverse effect that may arise. 

  • Caffeine: Avoid coffee and tea as gabapentin has potential to interact with caffeine
  • Losartan: hypertensive patients must take care to avoid the use of both drugs at the same time.
  • Phenytoin: is also used in the treatment of seizures.
  • Diuretics: kidney patients who are on Ethacrynic acid must avoid this drug.

Precautions while taking Gabapentin

  • Give your history to your prescribing doctor- describe any lung or kidney related underlying condition you may have
  • People who has a family history of epilepsy should particularly be careful while taking Gabapentin
  • Gabapentin is passed through breast milk; be sure to ask your doctor for alternative medication
  • Gabapentin is not addictive in nature, however it has a potential for abuse
  • Do not drive or use heavy machinery since gabapentin causes drowsiness and dizziness


Does Gabapentin affect the kidneys?

Gabapentin has the potential to cause damage to the kidneys. Several side effects are seen when taking gabapentin for a long duration. These side effects include trouble urinating, low urine production and fluid retention. 

What is Gabapentin used for?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug that is taken to treat seizures and epilepsy. It is also given to calm the nerves and reduce nerve pain in patients with diabetic neuropathy. 

When should I take gabapentin to reduce side effects?

Gabapentin must be taken during the night because of its ability to cause drowsiness and intense sleep. When taken at night you will be less prone to accidents and will not be putting yourself at risk for any untoward incidents. 


Gabapentin is a breakthrough drug for thousands of epileptic patients as it successfully saves them from undesired frequent seizure attacks. Gabapentin is also commonly used to relieve anxiety in extreme cases of phobias, as well as to calm the nerves in diabetic neuropathy. Since the drug is mostly taken by patients with a serious underlying disease condition (diabetes, epilepsy, mental illness), utmost care must be taken to identify the serious side effects that may be observed at any point when taking the drug. Take precaution while taking gabapentin and contact your doctor in the case of an emergency. 

Also Read: The Surprising Truth about Causes of Diabetes

Navjot kaur

As a health writer, Navjot strives to create accessible and informative content on various health topics. His/her goal is to educate and empower readers with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. She/he uses my expertise in health and wellness, combined with research and data, to write articles, blog posts, and other content that is accurate, engaging, and easy to understand.

Recent Posts

Learn How Your Palm Indicates Signs Of Many Diseases

Our Hands Speak Volumes. No, we are not talking about astrology or hand analysis psychology.…

2 days ago

Diabetes Diet Plan: Foods to Eat and Avoid

If you're seeking ways to avoid or regulate diabetes, your nutritional requirements are nearly identical…

2 days ago

14 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain many nutritional components like fats, proteins, and fiber. About 200 grams of…

2 days ago

Tickling in Throat: Causes and Treatments

Most people must have experienced some tickling in their throat, and a cough can accompany…

2 days ago

10 Essential Wound Care Tips for Faster Healing

A wound must be properly cared for and treated as soon as it occurs to…

2 days ago

How to Get Rid of Strawberry Legs: 10 Home Remedies to Try

The development of small black spots on the legs causes strawberry legs. These spots look…

3 days ago