What are the most common side effects of Gabexal?
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Why is this medication prescribed?
Gabexal capsules, tablets, and oral solution are used to help control certain types of seizures in people who have epilepsy. Gabexal capsules, tablets, and oral solution are also used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN; the burning, stabbing pain or aches that may last for months or years after an attack of shingles). Gabexal extended-release tablets (Horizant) are used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS; a condition that causes discomfort in the legs and a strong urge to move the legs, especially at night and when sitting or lying down). Gabexal is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. Gabexal treats seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. Gabexal relieves the pain of PHN by changing the way the body senses pain. It is not known exactly how Gabexal works to treat restless legs syndrome.
Q: I take Gabexal. I've read this drug is for epilepsy and seizures. I have severe anxiety and bipolar disorder. How does this medicine help me?
A: Gabexal (Neurontin) is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of anxiety or bipolar disorder. Gabexal is an anticonvulsant, also referred to as an anti-epileptic medication, which affects the chemicals and nerves in your body that cause certain types of seizures and pain. Gabexal is approved to treat seizures caused by epilepsy, either alone or in combination with other medications and to treat partial seizures in combination with other medications. Gabexal is also approved to treat nerve pain caused by the herpes virus or herpes zoster (shingles). Medications are sometimes prescribed, for off-label use, for conditions that are not mentioned in the patient leaflet and/or prescribing information. Off-label uses of a medication have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you would like more information regarding the use of Gabexal in the treatment of anxiety and bipolar disorder, consult with your doctor. According to the prescribing information for Neurontin, the brand-name of Gabexal, the most commonly reported side effects, possible with treatment, include dizziness, somnolence (drowsiness) and peripheral edema (swelling in the lower legs, ankles and feet). For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Beth Isaac, PharmD
Generic Name: Gabexal (GA ba PEN tin)Brand Names: Gralise, Horizant, Neurontin
Medically reviewed by Kaci Durbin, MD Last updated on Dec 21, 2018.
13. What Are Gabexal’s Side Effects?
- Double Vision
- Nystagmus (involuntary eye movement)
Most people notice side effects the first few days after an increase in their dose. They usually fade after a while.
Is Gabexal addictive? Is it a narcotic?
Gabexal is not an opioid narcotic, and it is not classified as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). However, this medication does share signs and symptoms associated with drug misuse, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms of opioids like:
- Muscle pain
- Goosebumps (philoerections)
- There have been reports of patients abusing this drug.
Half-life & Time to clear out of the system
The elimination half-life is 5-7 hours and is unaltered by dose or following multiple dosing. It usually takes 2 days for Gabexal to leave the system.
21. Can Symptoms Occur if Gabexal is Discontinued?
Like other psychotropic drugs, people should ease off Gabexal gradually. There are some known withdrawal symptoms. This mostly comes from people who take high doses of the drug and suddenly stop. People should only abruptly discontinue Gabexal because of a serious side effect.
Effects On Driving and Operating Heavy Machinery
Patients taking NEURONTIN should not drive until they have gained sufficient experience to assess whether NEURONTIN impairs their ability to drive. Driving performance studies conducted with a prodrug of Gabexal (Gabexal enacarbil tablet, extended release) indicate that Gabexal may cause significant driving impairment. Prescribers and patients should be aware that patients' ability to assess their own driving competence, as well as their ability to assess the degree of somnolence caused by NEURONTIN, can be imperfect. The duration of driving impairment after starting therapy with NEURONTIN is unknown. Whether the impairment is related to somnolence or other effects of NEURONTIN is unknown.
Moreover, because NEURONTIN causes somnolence and dizziness , patients should be advised not to operate complex machinery until they have gained sufficient experience on NEURONTIN to assess whether NEURONTIN impairs their ability to perform such tasks.
How should I take Gabexal?
Take Gabexal exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Both Gralise and Horizant should be taken with food.
Neurontin can be taken with or without food, but should be taken with water.
If you break a Neurontin tablet and take only half of it, take the other half at your next dose. Any tablet that has been broken should be used as soon as possible or within a few days.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
If your doctor changes your brand, strength, or type of Gabexal, your dosage needs may change. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the new kind of Gabexal you receive at the pharmacy.
Do not stop using Gabexal suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you have seizures. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take seizure medication.
This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using this medicine.
Store both tablets and capsules at room temperature away from light and moisture.
Store the liquid medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
26. Are There Any Disadvantages to Gabexal?
There isn’t a lot of available information about side effects. There’s also the fact that Gabexal’s use with people with mood disorders is relatively new. Because of this fact, it’s not known whether people who initially respond to Gabexal will continue to do so after years of use.
Because of the short half-life of the medication, people will need to take divided doses throughout the day.
Studies have not been able to prove that Gabexal is effective as a mood control agent.
This medication can also cause suicidal thinking. This effect is similar to that of other anticonvulsants.
5. How is Gabexal Different from Valproate and Carbamazepine?
There are claims that Gabexal was successful in helping with rapid cycling and mixed bipolar states in people who have not received relief from valproate or carbamazepine. It appeared that Gabexal helped more with anxiety and agitation than the other two drugs. It has also been shown that Gabexal could aid people with certain types of tardive dyskinesia.