Whenever we take a new type of drug, it is important for us to know every single detail about it. This is to prevent any unwanted side effects that may occur in the future. Some drugs are prohibited to some types of persons, most especially those who have allergies towards them.

Gabapentin, most famous for the brands Horizant or Neurontin, is a prescription anticonvulsant. Doctors prescribe it to treat, prevent, or control seizures alongside other drugs. Some doctors also prescribe it for those that suffer nerve pain brought about by shingles in adults.

The drug was approved by the United States’ Federal Drug Authority as an anti-seizure medication for adults way back in December 1993. Its use on children, however, was only approved in 2000. Their pain reliever property was only recognized in 2004. (1)

Just like any other drug, Gabapentin can result in various side effects when misused. Here is a look at the most common side effect Gabapentin users have reported.

Most Common Side Effects Of Gabapentin

Here are some of the most common and less dangerous side effect of Gabapentin:

  • Sleepiness: doctors require adults that use Gabapentin to avoid doing tasks which require mental alertness and consciousness while under the influence of the drug. This side effect occurs most especially for those who are taking the drug for the first time. Some patients report that the drowsiness caused by Gabapentin is almost impossible to overcome. Hence, it is recommended to avoid driving at all costs. (2) 
  • Headache: patients may experience some throbbing pain as the drug reaches the brain. Sudden changes in the chemistry of the user’s brain are the primary cause of this.
  • Irritable Bowel Movement: some patients report that taking the drug on an empty stomach may result to stomach pain, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea.
  • Ataxia: more commonly known as clumsiness. It results in a lack of coordination between our voluntary muscles. It is best to ask Gabapentin users to take a seat during the first hours of taking the drug.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: although temporary, research has shown that some users can have problems with their sex lives. Some of the challenges they may encounter are the loss of libido, inability to reach orgasm, and erectile dysfunction. (3)
  • Tremors: uncontrollable rhythmic muscle contractions that may occur in one or more body parts.

Serious Side Effects Of Gabapentin

These side effects can happen if a person gravely abuses the drug or outside of how doctors have prescribed it to them. Listed below are some examples of severe side effects of Gabapentin:

  • Increase risk of suicide: In 2009, the Federal Drug Authority had issued a warning on the use of Gabapentin. This was due to reports of patients having increased suicidal thoughts while under the drug, and indeed this claim was proven by a 2010 research on the drug. (4)
  • Overdose: using the drug beyond the prescribed amount increases the risk of overdose. It is worth noting that there have been reports of deaths due to Gabapentin overdose. Taking the drug alcohol also increases the risk of overdose.
  • Allergic Reactions: Before using Gabapentin ask your doctor to advise you on how to assure that you are not allergic to the drug.
  • Addiction: reports have shown that the drug has a considerable abuse potential due to the high some users get while under Gabapentin

People with seizure can receive many benefits from taking Gabapentin. However, one must always take precautions to avoid experiencing the adverse effects of the drug. Remember to always consult your doctor before taking any new medications.


Pitkänen, Asla; Schwartzkroin, Philip A.; Moshé, Solomon L. (2005). Models of Seizures and Epilepsy. Burlington: Elsevier. p. 539. ISBN 9780080457024

Patorno E, Bohn RL, Wahl PM, et al. (April 2010). “Anticonvulsant medications and the risk of suicide, attempted suicide, or violent death”. JAMA. 303

Jeffrey K Aronson (4 March 2014). Side Effects of Drugs Annual: A worldwide yearly survey of new data in adverse drug reactions. Newnes. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-444-62636-3.

Smith, B. H. (2012). Substance misuse of gabapentin. The British Journal of General Practice, 601.