Gabapentin’s Side Effect Risks

Pill bottle with gabapentin

For many people who take gabapentin, side effects such as sedation can be a challenge. Some effects, everything from severe swelling in extremities to mood swings, chronic exhaustion and hunger, have been described as “horrible” even though it was effective for neuropathy caused by cancer drugs.

David Cornblath, MD, professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and a specialist in peripheral neuropathy, said the 3 main drugs approved for treating diabetic neuropathy — the most common type of neuropathy — “all have positives and negatives.”

He said the anti-seizure medication Neurontin (gabapentin) has the fewest side effects. Lyrica (pregabalin, another anti-seizure medication) comes next, and the antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) has the most. (For more specifically on this topic, read: Treating Neuropathy)

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Ronni Gordon

Ronni Gordon

Ronni Gordon is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer who got peripheral neuropathy 8 years ago after chemotherapy for leukemia. A former newspaper reporter, she has written for The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Forbes and other publications. RonniGordon.com


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