What You Need To Know About The Anticonvulsant Neurontin
There are many people all over the world who are suffering from epilepsy. A chronic neurological disorder, epilepsy is characterized by the occurrence of seizures, which are triggered by abnormal or excessive neuronal activity in the brain.
At present, some 50 million people worldwide are suffering epilepsy in one form or another. Developing countries have it worse, as close to 90% of the world’s epileptic cases happen there.
Despite advances in the medical field, there is no cure yet for epilepsy. However, epilepsy can be controlled with medication.
Most doctors prescribe the drug gabapentin, which has proven to be quite effective at keeping seizures under control. Manufactured and marketed under the brand name Neurontin by Pfizer subsidiary Parke-Davis, gabapentin has become one of the company’s bestselling medications.
It has become so widely-prescribed and used that it actually became one of the 50 most-prescribed drugs in the United States in 2003.
It was marketed mainly as an anti-epilepsy drug or anticonvulsant, because of its ability to affect the very chemicals and nerves within the body that have something to do with the occurrence of seizures.
Used alone or in combination with other medications, Neurontin can treat epilepsy-triggered seizures not only in adults but children who are at least 12 years old as well.
Even children aged three to twelve years old and suffering from partial seizures can be treated with Neurontin combined with other drugs.
There are also many other Neurontin uses, although Pfizer faced litigation when Parke-Davis was alleged to have secretly marketed Neurontin as a drug that could be used for at least a dozen other purposes aside from epilepsy, all without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration or FDA.
Nevertheless, it continued to be prescribed for other conditions, most notable of which is migraine. Interestingly, Neurontin was not originally approved by the FDA for use in relieving migraines in 2004, but it is now a mainstay medication for migraines.
Another use for Neurontin is for the treatment of nerve pain triggered by the herpes virus or shingles.
Actually, Neurontin is being prescribed today for chronic pain which arise from conditions like Interstitial Cystitis (IC), Fibromyalgia (FMS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Reflex Sympathtic Dystrophy (RSD), Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS), and Neuropathic Pain.
Even opiate withdrawal symptoms and hot flashes in menopausal women can be relieved by Neurontin.
But like most other types of drugs, Neurontin is not without its side effects. Some of the side effects are mild, while others can be serious.
Among those side effects are
- weakness or tiredness,
- blurred or double vision,
- red, swelling or itchy eyes,
- involuntary shaking in some parts of the body,
- weight gain,
- dry mouth,
- difficulty breathing or swallowing,
- unusual or strange thoughts
- and flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sore throat or sneezing.
If you have been prescribed Neurontin and you find yourself suffering from any of these symptoms, please do tell your doctor so he can make the necessary adjustments in your dosage, or stop you from taking the drug altogether.