A child or an adult with epilepsy will often tell you about their struggle to carry on life in terms that are difficult and most harsh. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain that often causes perturbance in the brain thereby inducing periods of seizures and fits as a counter reaction to the neurological imbalance within the brain. Although the exact reason as to the cause of epilepsy is still a bit foggy, often a heavy blow to the head, an internal injury to the brain and such may induce epileptic seizures where your body as a patient starts convulsing and the worst part to these fits are they are quite unpredictable. No one knows how long they will stick around or how vigorous will the effect be. This thing about epilepsy is not something that can be cured right away. In fact complete cure from epileptic seizures probably is something your doctor cannot promise you but there are certain medicines that help you deal with these seizures or fits in a more stable way thereby causing less damage. One such medicine is the gabapentin which is marketed under the brand name Neurontin or Horizant. Gabapentin is thus considered the generic name for the drug and it is strictly antiepileptic in nature.
This drug is used generally to treat not one but a smooth range of disorders the first one on the list being epilepsy. It is anti- convulsant in nature and prevents untimed fits or seizures caused due to epilepsy. Apart from this, the Gabapentin drug helps you tackle nerve pain right after shingles or diabetes or even the RLS or restless legs syndrome. This however is based on the Horizant brand name which takes care of the RLS while the Neurontin helps prevent partial seizures in infants.
GABAPENTIN DRUG BENEFITS:
Before we move on to the benefits list of the different problems that gabapentin helps cure, let’s take a brief look into the workings of this drug. The truth about this prescription medicine is, Gabapentin will not help you cure your epilepsy or diabetes or any other form of neurological disorder, but the sole purpose of this drug is to maintain, contain and keep the disorders shackled behind bars so that treatment for others can commute. The documentation of the gabapentin’s work is not fully flourished but from the studies it was deduced, that tthis drug makes changes in the neurotransmitters that prevent the action sent from the brain from occurring. Here is a list of some of the benefits this drug can provide for you:
- Prevent Epileptic Convulsions: the neurotransmitters in our system are responsible for communicating impulses from one area to another, from the brain to the other significant parts. Glutamate is such a neurotransmitter that is known to excite the nerve thereby causing electric signals to build up. These charged up electric signals will eventually relate themselves to the epileptic seizures and thus the drug gabapentin uses its benefits to regulate the release of these neurotransmitters so that it can regulate the convulsions and fits.
- RLS: RLS is a syndrome better known as restless legs syndrome where even when your body is tired and requiring rest, your legs will still have a jumpy nerve within it activating the leg thereby causing involuntary twitches and movements. At this time the legs cannot be put to rest and is constantly in movement even if the rest of the body is drowsy with fatigue. The drug Gabapentin is used for treating this disorder too where it reaches to the neurotransmitters and blocks the impulses from the brain from reaching the distress point thereby controlling this irregular involuntary muscle action.
- Nerve Pain Following Certain Disorders: Usually diabetes or shingles are a form of disorder that often in rare cases may affect the nerves. In the case of shingles, the dormant virus that later or earlier showed up as red painful rashes may slowly pass on to the nerve and cause extreme pain and this is when we can use this drug to treat the nerve pain. The same can be used for the diabetic case.
- Migraine Pain: Migraine pain shooting up the bridge of your nose and spreading all over the forehead and come with hot flashes, immeasurable agony and blinding visions and right around this time, the condition can be treated with migraine pain that would allow you to subside the pain and get better control over self.
HOW TO USE GABAPENTIN:
Based on your age, weight, medical requirement and possibly your laboratory results, your doctor will prescribe to you the dosage unit along with the consumption technique and the intervals between each.
There are two types of brand name drugs under it, the Neurontin and the Horizant. If you are prescribed the horizant always take it in the evening and not during the day. Also, one should always take the horizant with food instead of empty stomach. The neurontin drug usually can be taken at any time of the day even in the evenings and the with or without food segment can be discussed with your doctor.
Usually if you are prescribed a capsule, never break, chew or dice it into segments. Instead just gulp it down with a glass of water. However in the case of tablets your doctor might prescribe you to break the tablet into two, but make sure the other half of the broken tablet is consumed in the next dose itself. Never leave a tablet broken for too long. You may also avail it in the oral suspension form which is when you shake the bottle well before use and definitely measure your doses well possibly with a measurement spoon or cup.
GABAPENTIN DRUG DOSAGE:
It is always advised that you start your gabapentin dosage at a minimum level possibly with a base dose and if the doctor feels these doses are not up to satisfaction, he himself can prescribe to you a higher dose. Always be careful of the dose and its units.
The basic dose for this drug is set at gabapentin 100mg which is a negligible dose and can be used thrice a day every day as a daily drug dose. If this dose is too timid for your medical requirement you can increase it up to gabapentin 200mg.
The initial adult dosage starts from gabapentin 300mg. for an adult, the dosage goes something like 300mg of gabapentin once a day on the first day taken orally. The next day the 300mg can be divided into two halves for one day and for the third day the 300mg can be divided into 3 lots on a single day. the maintenance dose can be kept within 300mg to 1800mg but the increase in the dose should strictly be communicated to the doctor. For a pediatric epilepsy dose, the startup unit is kept at 300mg but this can be increased to gabapentin 400mg.
For postherapetic neuralgia, the basic dose is kept at 900mg but for the beginners the dose can be kept at a reduced price, say gabapentin 800mg. this is a daily dose that is divided into three segments with ample time gaps in between each dose. However, a dose at all point should not increase a 12 hour time interval. Maintenance dose for this can be kept at gabapentin 600mg.
Whenever there is a neurotransmitter being regulated, there are chances that side effects may cause changes in behavior or may invoke mood swings. This is especially the case for the children and therefore at all times one must always keep an eye out on the results.
Also, this drug may cause blurriness of vision or drowsiness which is why if you are taking this medication during the day, be careful not to participate in activities like driving or working under sharp tools and deathly machineries. Also, before going in for surgery, it is the responsibility of the patient to communicate with their doctor or surgeon regarding the intake of this medicine, possibly a few days before the scheduled surgery takes place.
There is also a word of caution for the pregnant women who are prescribed this medicine. Usually this strong drug either passes on to the breast milk and indirectly hampers the infant or simply causes withdrawal symptoms in the child later after birth.
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER MEDICINES:
The gabapentin at all times should be treated as a containment medicinal drug and not one that can cure the disorder completely. Therefore, usually these drugs are often prescribed with combinations and it’s the doctor’s responsibility to prescribe to you the combinations based on your demographics or condition.
Gabapentin in itself causes feelings of drowsiness and if you are taking in some other form of drug that too induces drowsy feelings, tell your doctor before hand. If you are currently going through a course of heart, liver or kidney cure medicines, consult your doctor about combining these two.
Also, alcohol or drug abuse for sport or fun should be regulated or prevented during the course of this medication as it causes classic reactions and adverse side effects along with risks which is in fact detrimental for help.
GABAPENTIN DRUG SIDE EFFECTS:
Side effects are a common thing for every drug where once a side effect can be quite dominant in nature making changes in your behavior or everyday routine whereas for someone else, these side effects can be as negligible as anything. At dominant cases, it is best if you consult your doctor before any of the side effects go out of hand.
- Jittery Feels with Drowsiness and Blurring of Vision: your nerves are always completely shaking or frivolous in nature at around this time and this might show up as a side effect, something that you should be aware of. Drowsiness too is a common side effect and what’s worse is the feeling of constant fatigue that may come along with hot flashes, blurring of visions, dizziness and shaky feels.
- Swelling and Painful Muscles: swelling may persist as a not so common side effect. Slight swells in your joints may be acceptable only to the point where the pain doesn’t take over the system. also, muscle pain may occur at this time in the form of muscular pain, especially around the abdominal area or the fleshy muscular parts.
- Nausea and Confusion: nausea is a common side effect to this drug which might also result in persistent feelings of vomiting. Along with this, there might be confusion or fogginess in the brain which can also lead to messy clumsiness and even lack of focus or concentration.
- Mood Swings and Emotional: this is especially seen in children or infants where the regulation in the neurotransmitter may cause mood swings or feelings of over emotion. At times this may even lead to greater disorders like bipolar feelings or extreme cases of depression even invoking suicidal thoughts.
- Hyperactivity in Children: gabapentin side effects may also cause hyper activity in your infants even though this is applicable for adults too. This causes restlessness amongst the patients.
- Shortage of Breath and cold sores in your Mouth: cold sores much like small ulcers can form inside your mouth and they can be painful. Along with this wheezing, heaviness in chest and shortness of breath may also persist.
Dealing with epilepsy is definitely a struggle too hard. Sudden fits or seizures needs to be tackled for the patient to at least try to live a life that is normal. Even though epilepsy is not something that can be cured overnight or over the years for that matter, certain drugs like this can definitely make a change, help regulate the abnormalities of the system and thereby controlling the urge to sudden convulsions.