Some people may be confused with the medicine prescribed by doctors. For example, a person with chronic pain was prescribed antidepressant drugs. You probably wonder why a doctor would prescribe such drugs to help treat chronic pain? It turns out some drugs used to help treat mental health issues are deemed to be effective to treat certain pain conditions. In this article, we will be learning about one medicine that at a glance may seem to treat only one medical condition but you may be surprised to know that it is also used for other medical issues.
The medicine that we will be learning further is gabapentin. Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication that is commonly used to treat seizures in people with epilepsy. Gabapentin works by altering the electrical activity in the brain. This in turn affect the brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. In short, gabapentin stops seizures by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Gabapentin helps to prevent and control seizures.
A drug classified in one class of medication may not directly mean it is solely used for treating that one medical condition. For instance, although gabapentin is classified under anticonvulsant which in general is known to treat seizures, gabapentin is used to help treat many other conditions. Another use of gabapentin is to help treat chronic nerve pain such as diabetes and shingles. Gabapentin in this case works by blocking the pain impulses from travelling to the brain and down the spine. Other conditions such as restless leg syndrome which cause discomfort in the legs due to strong urge to move the legs, can be treated with gabapentin although it is not known exactly how it works. Gabapentin also helps to reduce hot flashes in women with menopause.
Gabapentin comes in the form of capsule, tablet, liquid and even extended-release tablet. It is usually taken 3 times a day but this dosage may be different than what is instructed by the healthcare provider. It can be taken with or without food. Gabapentin should be taken at specific time intervals of no more than 12 hours should pass in between the doses. Always take gabapentin as directed by doctors and never take less or more than what is prescribed by doctors. Make sure you are only taking one type of gabapentin. If you are not sure if you are receiving the right gabapentin product, you can always ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. If you are receiving gabapentin from different brands, it should not raise issues as there is very little difference between brands. However, again, you can always raise these issues to your healthcare provider if it bothers you.
Taking gabapentin for the first time may be nerve wrecking but knowing that you are following doctor’s instructions should make you feel better. During the first few days of treatment, doctors may gradually increase the dose to adjust the medication to the body’s needs. Gabapentin works best when taken regularly as this leads to the amount of the medicine in the body to be at constant level. Common side effects such as drowsiness, tiredness, weakness, blurred vision, unusual eye movement or twitching, uncontrollable shaking part of the body, nausea and vomiting are usually minimal and go away on their own. In fact, most people taking gabapentin do not experience side effects. If you do face side effects, it is best to let your healthcare provider know so adjustment can be done. Never stop taking gabapentin without doctor’s supervision. If you are taking other medication aside from gabapentin, let your healthcare provider know before taking gabapentin. Gabapentin may take at least a week for you to experience any changes.
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