Neurontin, from the generic gabapentin, is a prescription drug for certain types of seizures in epilepsy. Neurontin cannot cure epilepsy but will work on the seizures of epilepsy patients if you take Neurontn regularly. Neurontin works well with medical condition called postherpetic neuralgia or PHN. PHN refers to the painful after-effects of “shingles,” which is an outbreak of skin rashes or blisters on the skin.
Neurontin is produced by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and was granted initial approval in 1993 by the US Food and Drug Administration to control seizures in epileptic patients.
Recent News about Neurontin
US Food and Drug Administration gave a warning regarding the higher risks of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in patients who are taking drugs called antiepileptics for epilepsy, bipolar disorder, migraine headaches, and other medical conditions. The drugs that are subjected for warning include Neurontin. FDA has reviewed the results of the recent studies done which showed that the patients who are taking antiepileptics for epilepsy has higher chances of suicidal thoughts and behaviors compared with the patients who are taking placebo. Read the FDA Press Release.
There are several lawsuits filed claiming that Neurontin can cause suicidal or suicidal thoughts. Plaintiffs also claimed that Pfizer Pharmaceuticals was unable to reveal the risks of suicidality.
Pfizer, the producer of Neurontin, stated that there is no scientific proof that links to Neurontin to suicide. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals also altered the prescribing information of Neurontin in December 2005 to put “suicide” and “suicide attempt” as rare adverse effects.
Warner-Lambert, the subsidiary of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, pleaded guilty in 2004 and agreed to pay over $430 million to settle the criminal cases and civil liability in relation with the unlawful and fraudulent promotion of unapproved uses for the Neurontin.
Precautions on Taking Neurontin
Here are the precautions that patients should follow before, while, and/or taking Neurontin:
- Since Neurontin is eliminated from the body gradually in older patients compared with younger individuals, greater levels of Neurontin in the blood can happen. This may enhance the chances of unpleasant effects. Older patients may take different dosage of Neurontin than younger individuals.
- Children from three years old to twelve years old may be sensitive to the side effects of Neurontin. This may enhance the occurrence of side effects during the treatment period. For the patients from twelve years old to eighteen years old, there have not been any side effects shown compared to older patients.
- When you are taking Neurontin, it is vital that your healthcare provider monitors your progress regularly, particularly during the initial few months of the treatment. This is needed to determine for any adjustment in doses or for the decrease of any unpleasant effects.
- If you discontinue taking Neurontin abruptly, it may result for seizures to return or occur more frequently. Discuss with your healthcare provider about reducing your Neurontin dosage slowly before fully stopping it.
- Neurontin has cases where the patients experience hazy or double vision, instability, dizziness, clumsiness, drowsiness, or trouble in thinking, you should know first how your body system react to Neurontin before driving, operating machines, or doing any task that need alertness, good coordination, or the ability to think and see well.
- Inform your healthcare provider that you are using Neurontin before going through any medical tests. Neurontin can impact the results of dipstick tests for protein in the urine.
What should I tell the healthcare provider?
You should inform your healthcare provider if you:
- Have or had history of any rare or allergy reaction to Neurontin, a generic from gabapentn, or if you have allergies to any substances such as preservatives, foods, or dyes.
- Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding your baby. Even though there was no studies regarding pregnant women who are taking Neurontin, studies using animals showed that Neurontin may lead to bone or kidney problems in their babies if the mother is given higher doses than human beings. Neurontin can pass to human breast milk and may result to unpleasant effects in infants.
- You have kidney problems.
Side Effects of Neurontin
Inform your healthcare provider if one or more of the side effects are related with taking Neurontin, persistently and seriously:
- Shaking one part of your body, uncontrollably
- Memory problems
- Hazy and double eyesight
- Unwanted eye movements
- Red, itchy eyes, sometimes swelling and has discharge
- Dry mouth
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, cough
- Pain at the back or joints
- Exhaustion or weakness
- Swelling of the hands, lower legs, feet, ankles
- Ear aches
- Bizarre or unusual thoughts
- Weight gain
Inform your healthcare professional right away if you are suffering from any of these side effects while taking Neurontin:
- Skin rashes
- Difficulty in swallowing or breathing
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Interaction between Neurontin and other Foods and Medicines
Neurontin and some medicines can interact with one another. Inform your healthcare provider about the drugs that you are taking, including all the prescription and non-prescription medicines, particularly:
- Antacids, such as Maalox – reduces blood levels of Neurontin may happen.Neurontin should be taken within two hours after any antacid is taken.
- Morphine, such as Kadian and MS Contin – higher blood levels of Neurontin may happen, increasing the risks of side effects.
Neurontin can enhance the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system or CNS depressants, such as antihistamines, sedatives, tranquilizers, sleep medications, prescription pain meatdicines, narcotics, barbiturates, and other seizure medicines, muscle relaxants, anesthetics, or other medications that can cause drowsiness.
Obtaining Legal Assistance regarding Neurontin
Since all medications have their side effects, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that their products or medicines are reasonably safe and to inform the medical community and the public regarding the potential known risks associated with the medicines. However, when the manufacturer fails in this responsibility, they can be held legally liable if the patients are injured as the consequence of insufficient warnings or the unreasonably harmful nature of the medicine, under the legal principle known as “product liability.”
If you or any of your family members are suffering from any harmful symptoms or rare medical conditions while using Neurontin, contact your doctor or other healthcare provider. Then, you may want to find an experienced lawyer to explain or discuss your options and safeguard your legal rights to recover from the injury sustained caused by taking Neurontin.