Gabapentin is a medication sometimes prescribed to people who have epileptic seizures. This drug also can be used to treat chronic pain, specifically neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is often described as a very sharp, shooting type of pain that stems from a problem with the central nervous system. Using gabapentin for pain is just one of many options available to chronic pain patients. A person's success level when it comes to using gabapentin for pain relief can depend on the type of medical condition causing the pain and other treatments he or she is undergoing.
Patients suffering from conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and shingles may have success with taking gabapentin for pain treatment. Some people may be prescribed gabapentin as their sole form of pain treatment, while others may take this medication in conjunction with narcotic pain relievers. Gabapentin typically is given to those suffering from a life-long illness involving pain and is not an optimal pain treatment for short-term problems such as a broken bone.
This medication needs time to build up in the body and is not an overnight pain solution. A patient should not stop taking gabapentin abruptly just because he or she is not experiencing immediate positive results. A person who is concerned about whether gabapentin is helping his or her pain should consult a doctor. If a patient who quits taking gabapentin does not do so properly, then he or she may experience withdrawal symptoms such as chest pain, insomnia and extreme anxiety.
Taking gabapentin for pain can cause a person to experience side effects, but the benefits may outweigh the side effects for many people with chronic pain. Some possible side effects include dry mouth, fatigue, nausea and dizziness. It is important for patients to tell their doctors about all other medications they are taking, as well as their alcohol consumption habits, to avoid the possibility of making some of the side effects worse.
Typical doses of gabapentin for pain relief range from 100 mg to upwards of 1800 mg a day. It is not typical for a person to begin taking high dosages of gabapentin for pain right from the start. Most doctors will instead have patients start out taking a rather low dose of the medicine and work their way up to high dosages based on personal needs. Taken properly, gabapentin can help relieve some of the debilitating burning, shooting and tingling pain patients experience so they can lead happier and more productive lives.