Neurontin has two primary uses. First, it may be prescribed with other medications to treat partial seizures (the type in which symptoms are limited). It can be used whether or not the seizures eventually become general and result in loss of consciousness.
Second, it can be used to relieve the burning nerve pain that sometimes persists for months or even years after an attack of shingles (herpes zoster).
Neurontin has been studied since 1983 and was approved by the FDA for the control of epilepsy in 1994. Parke-Davis has been successfully conducting long-term clinical trials in doses at 2400-3600mg a day.
In 1996, research for other purposes began appearing and there has been a quiet revolution of patients and doctors finding that Neurontin is helpful in illnesses other than epilepsy. Neurontin being prescribed for disorders other than epilepsy is called "off-label" use and SLE is included in "off-label" uses for Neurontin.
The more common side effects may include:
Accidental injury, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, infection, lack of muscular coordination, nausea, swelling in arms and legs, vomiting, and weakness.
If Neurontin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either can be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Neurontin with the following:
Antacids such as Maalox
Hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin)
Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin)
Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you have any of the following symptoms, then you may be having symptoms of overdose: Diarrhea, double vision, drowsiness, lethargy, slurred speech.
It is important, since Neurontin is excreted through the kidneys, that your creatinine level is normal. This is a routine blood level that would have been drawn along with your usual yearly blood work. Neurontin is not metabolized by the liver. Many users have found that hydration is vitally important while using this drug. A small amount of water retention is normal, especially when ramping up (increasing) doses. If you find that your rings are tight and/or your toes are swollen, AND you are drinking less than four quarts (approximately four liters) of water a day, you may find that increasing your intake of water will help eliminate any excess fluid unless your doctor has placed you on a water restriction. However, if you gain over 5-10 pounds, you may temporarily need an occasional diuretic to help flush out the excess water.
If you find that you are continuing to have worsening water retention, your doctor needs to be consulted as soon as possible to insure your kidney and cardiac functions are normal.
If a patient is going to be helped by this drug, there appears to be two types of "responders." (1) Some people have an immediate improvement in stamina and a marked reduction of pain starting Neurontin. (2) Other folks will not obtain similar results until they reach higher doses. And, unfortunately, there are people who will not receive any benefit from Neurontin.
I hope that this has been helpful