What Is Tiagabine?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Those taking tiagabine should avoid eating grapefruits or products made from the fruit.
Those taking tiagabine should avoid eating grapefruits or products made from the fruit.

Tiagabine is a medication prescribed to treat certain types of seizures. This anticonvulsant, also called an anti-epileptic, works with the chemicals in the brain to help prevent seizure activity, which is the interruption of electrical impulses. It cannot cure this disorder, but rather it can only work to prevent seizures. Patients must continue to take the medication to manage their condition.

The doctor will likely prescribe 4 milligrams (mg) of tiagabine to be taken once daily. After the first week of treatment, he will increase the dosage until the patient is taking the medicine two to four times daily, for a total of no more than 56 mg. Patients should take each dose with food. Discontinuing this medicine abruptly can cause side effects, including seizures.

This drug can cause some side effects, such as dizziness, fatigue, and depression, as well as irritability and hostility. Other people may notice unsteadiness with walking, problems concentrating, and insomnia. Nausea, stomach pain, and increased appetite have also been reported. Other symptoms can include frequent or painful urination, problems with speech, and confusion. Patients should report these symptoms to their doctors if they persist or become bothersome.

More serious side effects require immediate medical care. These can include worsening seizures, hallucinations, and mood or behavior changes. Hyperactivity, thoughts of suicide, and flu-like symptoms have been reported rarely. Changes in vision, severe trembling, and sores in the mouth, eyes, or throat may also occur. Other patients have suffered from severe weakness or a rash.

Patients should avoid taking tiagabine while pregnant or breastfeeding. They should also avoid consuming grapefruit juice or other grapefruit products. Alcohol should either not be consumed or be used only in moderation, because it can increase the effects of drowsiness. Likewise, patients should be careful driving while under the influence of tiagabine.

Other medications may interact with tiagabine. Before taking this drug, patients should discuss all other medications and supplements they take with their doctors. This includes St. John's wort, cold medications, and drugs to treat allergies. Other drugs that can interact with tiagabine include antidepressants, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and muscle relaxants.

Patients should discuss their use of this anticonvulsant with their surgeons and dentists before planning surgery because some anesthetics may interact with tiagabine. Patients may also be unable to take it along with tranquilizers, pain medicines, and blood thinners. Products that contain caffeine, as well as contrast dyes for imaging tests should be used with caution.

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    • Those taking tiagabine should avoid eating grapefruits or products made from the fruit.
      Those taking tiagabine should avoid eating grapefruits or products made from the fruit.