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Neurontin (Gabapentin®)

Last Modified: January 14, 2012

Pronounced: GAB-a-PEN-tin
Classification: Anti-Convulsant

About Neurontin

Neurontin is in a class of medications called anti-convulsants, which means that it was originally developed to treat people with seizures. Neurontin is still used to treat seizure disorders, but it is also often used to treat neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain means pain that is related to injury or inflammation of nerves. If nerves are injured by trauma (including surgery and radiation), infection, nerve compression by tumors, or chemotherapy damage, neurontin can often help to relieve the associated pain. No one knows the exact mechanism by which neurontin treats neuropathic pain, but it may be related to how nerves send their pain signals to the brain.

How to Take Neurontin

Neurontin comes as a capsule, a tablet, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth. Neurontin capsules, tablets, and oral solution can be taken with or without food, typically three times a day. These medications should be taken at evenly spaced times throughout the day and night. It will begin working to relieve pain in about 30 minutes, and it will continue to work for 4 to 8 hours.

Possible Side Effects of Neurontin

There are a number of things you can do to manage the side effects of Neurontin. Talk to your doctor or nurse about these recommendations. They can help you decide what will work best for you. These are some of the most common side effects:

Sleepiness (Somnolence)

Feeling sleepy, drowsy or lightheaded may accompany the use of Neurontin. Some people just don't "feel like themselves" on this medication. Avoid driving or any other potentially dangerous tasks that require your concentration and a clear head until you feel normal again. Avoid alcohol or other sedatives while using Neurontin unless they are specifically prescribed by your doctor.


If someone intentionally or accidentally takes way too much Neurontin, they may experience double vision, slurred speech, drowsiness or diarrhea. This happens very rarely. If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken an overdose of Neurontin, call 911 immediately.

Overdose of Neurontin is an emergency situation and needs immediate attention.

Allergic Reaction

Although it is uncommon, some people are allergic to Neurontin. If after taking Neurontin you experience chest tightness, swelling, wheezing, fever, itching, blue skin color or cough, you need to call 911.

If any of these symptoms occur, you should seek emergency medical attention.


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From the National Cancer Institute