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Long-term Effects of Gabapentin Usage

Gabapentin is a prescription medication used for the treatment of epilepsy and seizures 12. It is also used to treat the herpes virus, as well as shingles. It is FDA-approved for the treatment in adults and children ages 12 and older, and is sometimes used in small doses to treat epileptic children ages 3 and up. Side effects of gabapentin can be short- or long-term, lasting for hours or for several weeks or longer 12. Some side effects of gabapentin can be fatal 112. Discuss with your doctor any and all side effects you experience after taking gabapentin 12.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


It is important that you take gabapentin exactly as prescribed 12. Do not alter or miss a dose of this medication. If you forget to take gabapentin, take it as soon as you remember, unless your next dose of gabapentin is within four hours of your missed dose 12. In that case, skip the missed dose and take only the regular dose, as otherwise you risk gabapentin overdose 12. Symptoms of gabapentin overdose include vision loss or blurry vision, diarrhea, feeling weak or drowsy and slurring speech 12. Seek emergency medical attention if you believe you are experiencing a gabapentin overdose 12.

Medical History

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Certain medical conditions and treatments can interact with or worsen as a result of taking gabapentin 12. It is important that you disclose your full medical history to your physician before taking gabapentin 12. Do not take gabapentin if you have a history of kidney, heart or liver disease without first discussing your condition with your doctor 12. It is important that you tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before taking gabapentin 12. gabapentin can pass into breast milk and cause negative effects on a breastfeeding child 12.

Long-Term Side Effects: Severe

Certain conditions can worsen as a result of taking gabapentin, and side effects can last for several hours, days, weeks or even longer 12. Some side effects of gabapentin can be fatal 112. It is very important that you seek emergency treatment if you experience any severe side effects as a result of taking gabapentin 12. Serious side effects related to gabapentin include:

  • an increase in the number of seizures you are having
  • or flu-like symptoms (including chills
  • fever or aches
  • pains)
  • feeling disoriented or confused
  • rapid eye movement (particularly your eyes rapidly moving from left to right)
  • feeling tremors or convulsions
  • or experiencing an increased number of easily attained bruises or skin discoloration 12

Side Effects: Mild to Moderate

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Some side effects of gabapentin are less severe and do not require immediate emergency care 12. It is still very important that you share any side effects or experiences you have as a result of taking gabapentin with your doctor, as she may need to adjust your dosage 12. Tell your doctor if you have been feeling dizzy, weak or tired after taking gabapentin 12. Also tell her if you experience coordination loss or blurry vision, or have been feeling nauseous, vomiting or have had a loss of appetite. Other mild to moderate effects which can last for a few hours, weeks or even longer include diarrhea, constipation, dryness of mouth, cold-like symptoms (runny nose, stuffy nose, headache), difficulty sleeping or skin rash (including itchy rash, as well as acne).


Because gabapentin is used to treat seizures, it is important that you wear a medical identification bracelet so that others are aware that you are taking gabapentin if such a seizure should occur 12. You should also be sure to tell any surgeon that you are taking gabapentin if you are planning to have a procedure of any kind, including dental surgery 12. Because gabapentin can affect your vision, it is important that you use extreme caution when driving a motor vehicle while taking this medication 12. Do not take any antacids for two hours after taking gabapentin, as an antacid can affect how gabapentin is absorbed into your system 12.