Generic Name: Gabapentin
Brands: Gralise, Neuraptine, Gralise 30-Day Starter Pack, SmartRx Gaba-V Kit, Horizant, Neurontin
Class: GABA analogue
Availability: Prescription needed
Molecular Formula: C9H17NO2
Substance UNII: 6CW7F3G59X
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is a nerve pain and anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) drug. It is available in the United States via prescription only, and is commonly sold under the trade name Gralise and Neurotonin, among others.
How Does Gabapentin Work?
Gabapentin is a man-made GABA analogue, meaning it is structurally similar to GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid). GABA is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter, specifically a chief inhibitory neurotransmitter. This phrase means that it can decrease activity of the central nervous system (CNS) to produce nerve pain effects.
Exactly how gabapentin works is unknown, as it does not affect “Gaba binding, uptake, or degradation.”
What is Gabapentin Used For?
That being said, because gabapentin produces similar pain-relieving and antiepileptic effects as a GABA analog, it is used to treat nerve-related pain, such as that caused by shingles, as well as to manage seizures and other off-label conditions.
How Long Does it Take Gabapentin to Work?
How quickly gabapentin starts to work depends on various factors, including the patient’s renal (kidney) function, absorption by gastrointestinal tract, dose, and many other factors. While some people may start to notice effects within hours after starting their first dose, others may have to wait roughly 1 to 2 weeks or potentially even longer to feel the effects of this drug.
Do Not Use Gabapentin If
There are some cases where the use of gabapentin is not advised. These cases include:
- Allergies or hypersensitivities to gabapentin or its ingredients
Note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other cases where gabapentin use is not advisable.