Gabapentin (Neurotin)

(Pain medication)
By Dr. Karen Burgess

Brand name and formulations

  • Neurontin and generic
  • Tablets, Capsules
  • Do not use human oral solution in pets as it contains xylitol (toxic in dogs)

What is gabapentin used for?
Gabapentin is used for the treatment of pain in dogs and cats. While not good for sudden or acute pain, gabapentin is often prescribed to preempt pain or to treat general signs of chronic pain such as arthritis. Gabapentin can also be used in the treatment of refractory seizures.

What is gabapentin?
Gabapentin’s method of action is not truly understood but it is believed to be related to blockage of pain directly at the nerve cell.

How is gabapentin given and what if a dose is missed?
Gabapentin is prescribed to be used typically every twelve hours but as often as every six hours. Tolerance may develop over time necessitating dose increases. The safe dose range is quite wide and therefore the latitude in dosing interval is wide. If a dose is missed, go ahead and give the missed dose. Use should not be abruptly stopped if gabapentin has been used for a long period.

What side effects are associated with gabapentin?
The most common side effect of gabapentin is drowsiness. Some may notice ataxia similar to what is seen in inebriated individuals. Often these signs will improve over time. Urine testing for protein may be affected by gabapentin use.

What drugs should not be given with gabapentin?
Caution should be used when using gabapentin in conjunction morphine or hydrocodone. Antacids may affect the absorption of gabapentin, allow two hours between use of these drugs simultaneously.

What pets should not take gabapentin?
Caution should be taken in using gabapentin in patients with kidney disease.

What follow up is necessary with gabapentin use?
Dosing is variable for gabapentin, if benefits are not observed at a particular dose, consult with Dr. Burgess for further recommendations.