Is Neurontin Dangerous?

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neurontin or generic name “Gabapentin” is used with other medications to help control seizures in adults and children (3 years of age and older).  It is primarily an anti-epileptic medication, also called an anticonvulsant. It affects the chemicals and nerves in the human body that are involved in the cause of seizures and some types of pain.  It is also used to relieve nerve pain associated with shingles (herpes zoster) infection in adults and to treat other nerve pain conditions (e.g., diabetic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia).

Other conditions for which Neurontin is sometimes prescribed but is not FDA approved include bipolar disorder, pain, migraines, postherpetic neuralgia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Pfizer, the manufacturer of Neurontin, intentionally marketed the drug for at least a dozen unapproved uses, putting patient safety second to profits.  Some estimates suggest that off-label Neurontin use accounts for as much as 90% of the drug’s total sales.   Individuals who have suffered severe Neurontin side effects, especially in cases where the drug was used for off-label purposes, may be eligible to recover damages including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering.

Neurontin Dosage

For the most part, it’s difficult to answer what the standard Neurontin dosage is, since it may vary based on the condition it is treating and on the age of the person taking the drug. There are some general guidelines that can be followed, but each person should know that their condition might be unique and different Neurontin dosage levels may apply.

What is it used for?

Neurontin or gabapentin can be used to treat things like chronic pain from conditions such as postherpetic neuralgia or it is used in the treatment of epilepsy. Its role in the treatment of psychiatric conditions is now highly questionable, and initial studies by the makers of Neurontin were shown to have greatly exaggerated its mood stabilizing effects. When used for psychiatric purpose, doses ran from 900-1200 milligrams to as much as 3000 milligrams a day, but this is now not as common.

In the treatment of epilepsy or seizures, standard Neurontin® dosage may be begin with 900 milligrams a day, usually split into three daily doses. This would be the first recommendation for anyone 12 years old or older. Dose may be doubled as needed and go up to 1800 milligrams a day.

Neurontin Side Effects

Most Neurontin side effects are mild, such as sleepiness, dizziness, headache, alcohol intolerance and nausea. However, more severe and potentially harmful side effects include:

  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Memory loss
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Viral infections
  • Convulsions
  • Mood changes

It is important to note that generally the side effects of this drug cannot be accurately anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, patients should inform a doctor as soon as possible.

Risks of Neurontin

The general risks arising from Neurontin use for all patients include the following adverse physical and psychological events: CNS depression, dizziness, vision problems, tremors, sensitivity to the sun, swelling of the hands and feet, diarrhea, weight gain, amnesia, paranoia, suicidal ideations, and sexual side effects. Clinical studies on the dangers of Neurontin have also found that Neurontin use may cause the worsening or development of tumors throughout the body. Clinical studies have indicated that sudden unexplained death may be one of the serious risks of Neurontin use.  Dangers of Neurontin can also increase side effects risks when combined with other medications such as morphine, naproxen, antacids, and CNS depressant medications.  If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured due to improper use of Neurontin, you may wish to consult with an attorney who can give you advise concerning your rights and interests.

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