August 26, 2000
Question from Minnesota, USA:
I would like more information on the use of Neurontin for neuropathy pain relief.
Neurontin is the trade name for gabapentin, which is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat seizures or epilepsy. It is now also being used for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Its mechanism of action is unknown, but it is structurally related to the neurotransmitter GABA. The dose is usually 300 or 400 mg three times a day, but it has been studied in doses up to 1200 mg three times a day.
In studies of gabapentin in patients with moderate to severe diabetic neuropathy pain, it has been found to provide significant pain relief and improvement of sleep, mood, and quality of life. It is tolerated well with mild side effects, mainly fatigue, somnolence (sleepiness), and dizziness. It should not be used during pregnancy. One study showed it to be about as effective in as amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant medication often used for treatment of diabetic neuropathy.