How long does it take for Gabapentin to start working?

In this blog we will discuss how long it takes for Gabapentin to start working. 

We will also briefly discuss what gabapentin is, why it is used, how it should e used, it’s side effects, drug interactions, and the precautions that needs to be taken while using the drug,

How long does it take for Gabapentin to start working?

When the immediate release form of Gabapentin is taken, the concentration of gabapentin peaks within 2 to 3 hours after the dose.

However, the time it takes for the drug to show effect via improvements takes at least one week. 

Gabapentin may reduce nerve pain and improve sleep within a week however, it might take about two weeks for complete relief from nerve pain. 

When it comes to seizure, it will also take two weeks or more, for some, to notice positive ;long term effects of the drg for your condition provided that you have been consistent with the use and doses.  

What is gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug that is used to treat epilepsy by preventing seizures by impacting the chemicals and nerves in the body that are involved in causing seurieves and pain.

Gabapentin is often used together with other medicines to treat seizures in both adults and children, however the use of this drug in children is debated due to insufficient research

It’s not fully understood how gabapentin works however it is suspected that it works by altering the impact of calcium in the body or the levels of calcium in the body. 

The drug is also used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia after an attack of shingles by changing the way the body senses pain as well as restless legs syndrome, though it is not clearly known how the drug works to treat this condition.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Gabapentin is a drug that is used with other medications to help control seizures of a certain kind in people who have epilepsy by decreasing the abnormal levels of excitement in the brain.  

The drug is also used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia after an attack of shingles by changing the way the body senses pain as well as restless legs syndrome, though it is not clearly known how the drug works to treat this condition.

How should this medicine be used?

Gabapentin comes in four forms: a capsule, a tablet, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth all of which can be taken with a full glass of water, with or without food.

However, it is advised that you take the drug exactly as your doctor prescribes it for you irrespective of what is being instructed by the leaflet of the medication. 

You should take the medication at the same time everyday and soul space the drug equally in such a way that there is at least some time between them. For example, for the extended release drug, it is advised that you take it once a day. In the evening, with a 12 hours gap between doses. 

You also have to remember that the extended-release forms cannot be substituted for another type so make sure that you receive only the type of gabapentin that was prescribed to you.

The extended release form should not be split, crushed, or chewed. However, for the other forms, if your doctor tells you to take one-half of a regular tablet as part of your dose, carefully split the tablet along the score mark and use the other half for your next dose. 

Gabapentin will help control your condition but will not cure it. It is important that you continue the use of the drug even when you feel better since stopping the stug might lead to withdrawal and your symptoms coming back worse. 

If you forget to take a dose of the drug, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip it for the next dose so as to avoid double dosing. 

Gabapentin can increase the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior so it is advised that you talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or notice any changes in your mood or behavior or if you start having thoughts of harming yourself, including suicide.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Some of the common side effects of Gabapentin include (Medlineplus):

  • drowsiness
  • tiredness or weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
  • double or blurred vision
  • unsteadiness
  • anxiety
  • memory problems
  • strange or unusual thoughts
  • unwanted eye movements
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • heartburn
  • diarrhoea
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • increased appetite
  • weight gain
  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • back or joint pain
  • fever
  • runny nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms
  • ear pain
  • red, itchy eyes (sometimes with swelling or discharge)

Sever side effects that need immediate medical attention include:

  • rash
  • itching
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • seizures
  • difficulty breathing; bluish-tinged skin, lips, or fingernails; confusion; or extreme sleepiness (Medlineplus)

What are the drug interactions of Gabapentin?

Gabapentin can interact with several other drugs which can lead to different effects on the health of the individual. It can also impact how well the drug works as well as risk an increase of the side effects. 

Some of the drugs and medications that can interact with gabapentin include:

  • Opioids such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone can cause serious effects and side effects. It can interact with ponds to increase one;s risk for severe sleepiness, respiratory depression, coma, and even death.
  • Stomach acid drugs used to treat stomach acid problems such as aluminium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide can make the drug less effective as it can reduce the amount of gabapentin in your system. 

So, it is important that you make sure to tell your doctor about all the prescriptions, over the counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements that you use. 

What are the precautions for the use of Gabapentin?

Gabapentin comes with several warnings regarding its use. Precautions regarding its use include:

Gabapentin can increase the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior so it is advised that you talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or notice any changes in your mood or behavior or if you start having thoughts of harming yourself, including suicide.

The medication is also known to cause multi organ hypersensitivity which can be life-threatening. It is advised that you call your doctor or medical attention if you notice a rash, a fever, or swollen lymph nodes.

Gabapentin can also cause a severe allergic reaction leading to trouble breathing, swelling of your throat or tongue, hives and rash. It is advised that you do not use this drug if you have had an allergy to it before and tht you get medical attention if you notice any of the allergic reaction symptoms. 

Gabapentin can cause sleepiness, and drinking alcohol can make you even more drowsy, so it is advice that you do to drink alcohol with this drug nor drive or use machinery when on this drug.

Taking the drug with an opiod can also increase your risk for breathing problems so if you have any form of breathing problems or lung disease do not take this medication and notify your doctor of your condition.

While the drug is for individuals with epilepsy, it is not advised that you take the drg duggenly as it can increase the risk of status epilepticus which can lead to long seizures and it can also increase the risk of behavioural problems in children till the age of 12.

Individuals with kidney problems should also talk to their doctor before the medication as it can lead to an increase of the drug concentration levels to dangerous levels. 

It is also important to know that the impact of this drug in pregnant women has not been thoroughly studied which makes it dangerous for individuals who are pregnant to use this drug. 

So it is imperative that you talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant as it could lead to potential risk to the foetus.

Gabapentin may pass into breast milk and cause serious side effects for the child, so notify your doctor if you are breastfeeding. 

Another precaution to take is that this drug can become dangerous for seniors because kidney function may decrease with age. So it is advised that you speak to your doctor to start you with a lowered dose to prevent build up. 

It is also important to know that Gabapentine has not been studied for the use of this drug by children so it should not be used in people younger than 18 years. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed how long it takes for Gabapentin to start working. 

We have also briefly discussed what gabapentin is, why it is used, how it should e used, it’s side effects, drug interactions, and the precautions that needs to be taken while using the drug,

Does gabapentin work immediately?

No, the drug does not work immediately. When the immediate release form of Gabapentin is taken, the concentration of gabapentin peaks within 2 to 3 hours after the dose.

However, the time it takes for the drug to show effect via improvements takes at least one week. Gabapentin may reduce nerve pain and improve sleep within a week however, it might take about two weeks for complete relief from nerve pain. 

How long does it take for gabapentin to work for anxiety?

When the immediate release form of Gabapentin is taken, the concentration of gabapentin peaks within 2 to 3 hours after the dose.

However, the time it takes for the drug to show effect via improvements takes at least one week up to a month to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.

How long does gabapentin take to work for sleep?

For treating sleep and improving sleep, it typically takes a few hours for immediate-release gabapentin to fully kick-in.

How many doses of gabapentin?

It is recommended that you take gabapentin, the immediate release form, at least three times a day for maximum results.

References

Gabapentin. Medlineplus. Retrieved on 18th Feb 2022, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

Gabapentin. Drugs.Com. Retrieved on 18th Feb 2022. https://www.drugs.com/gabapentin.html

Gabapentin, Oral Capsule. Healthline. Retrieved on 18th Feb 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/gabapentin-oral-capsule#interactions

Gabapentin and its use in pain management. NHS. Retrieved on 18th Feb 2022. https://www.wsh.nhs.uk/CMS-Documents/Patient-leaflets/PainService/5312-1Gabapentinanditsuseinpainmanagement.pdf

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