What Factors Affect Gabapentin Dosage?

Debra Durkee
Debra Durkee

Gabapentin is used to treat individuals with different disorders that result in seizures. Many medical professionals will prescribe the medication in combination with another type, and this will help determine the gabapentin dosage to be administered. Some individuals will experience severe side effects when taking the medication, so a gradually increasing dose may be prescribed to help the body adjust to the drug before the full amount is given.

The condition the medication is prescribed for can also impact the dose. Gabapentin can be given to an individual suffering from epilepsy as well as other disorders that involve the presentation of seizures as part or all of the effects of the condition. It impacts the parts of the brain that register pain, so it can also be administered for the treatment of conditions such as shingles or to alleviate the pain of women with breast cancer. The severity of the condition and the type often impact how much of the medication is given.

Age can help determine a safe level of the medication to be administered. Gabapentin has been approved for use in children, but at a lower dose than for an adult. Similarly, elderly individuals are more susceptible to developing the side effects associated with the medication and are also usually given a lower dose than younger patients.

When given in conjunction with another medication, the gabapentin dosage will often be adjusted to take into account the effects of the other medication. Giving too much of one may increase the chance of severe side effects, while properly balancing two or more medications may produce the best results. Similarly, some types of food may interact with gabapentin, and any addictions such as smoking can impact the amount of the drug that is safe to take. Over-the-counter medications, especially pain relievers and antacids, can impact efficiency and dosing.

Other pre-existing medical conditions can impact the function of medication in the body and impact the gabapentin dosage. Cancer, pregnancy, kidney disease, or dental problems may mean an adjustment in the gabapentin dosage in order to minimize side effects and maximize efficiency. When first starting the medication, an individual may experience side effects such as gastrointestinal distress, tremors, edema, and mental difficulties such as confusion, memory loss, or suicidal thoughts. Some are more susceptible to these side effects than others, and a medical professional may decide to begin the prescription with a low gabapentin dosage that gradually increases in order to minimize side effects. This is a particularly common practice if the individual is allergic to other medications.

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