Gabapentin is a latest generation antiepileptic. This medicine is used in adults and in children over 12 years old. It is used to treat partial seizures, either alone or in combination with other antiepileptic medicines. Gabapentin has the specific feature of also having analgesic action. For this reason it is occasionally prescribed to treat peripheral neuropathic pain. These are pains of neurological origin, after damage to the spinal cord or in degenerative disease such as diabetic neuropathy.
How does gabapentin work?
Curiously, its mechanism of action is not specifically known. As applies to several other antiepileptics and as its name suggests, gabapentin is believed to target GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid. This neurotransmitter is believed to control nerve impulses avoiding "racing" of the brain or the neuronal hyperactivity that occurs in epilepsy. For this reason, many antiepileptics such as gabapentin are designed to increase the activity of this neurotransmitter.
Do they have contraindications or precautions?
Gabapentin is not associated with severe side effects. It can however cause drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and weight loss in some cases.
- Merck Manual, 4th edition
- Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, volume 22, n° 10, October 2001, pp 491-493
- Institute of pharmaceutical and biological sciences – Lyon faculty of pharmacy.
Gabapentin treats epilepsy. Its mechanism of action is still a mystery. © Phovoir