Gabapentin, also known by its brand name Neurontin, is a medication that has been used in the United States since the early 1990s. The drug helps manage certain seizure disorders and treat nerve pain. Some of the most common side effects of gabapentin include drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, headache, and stomach upset.
Gabapentin is a common prescription, and it is often used in combination with other medications. It is safe to take gabapentin and other medications that have been prescribed or ordered by your doctor. However, it is important to keep a complete list of all medications that you take, including over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and prescriptions and supplements. People should review this list with their health care provider periodically.
Understanding which medications interact with gabapentin and knowing how to take gabapentin safely will help you live a healthier life.
Gabapentin With Opioids
Gabapentin is called a central nervous system (CNS) depressant because it slows down some of the functions and processes of the brain. Opioid pain medications are also classified as CNS depressants. While it’s common to co-prescribe opioids and gabapentin for nerve pain, the combination has an increased risk for sedation, respiratory depression, and abuse.
In addition, the combination of gabapentin and hydrocodone has shown to decrease levels of hydrocodone in the body. This is very important to remember when adding or removing gabapentin from a medication regimen that includes hydrocodone. Doing so helps to prevent accidental underdose or overdose of hydrocodone.
Some common combinations of gabapentin and opioids include:
Taking gabapentin with OTC medications for allergy relief and pain relief is generally considered to be safe. However, it is always important to check with your doctor or pharmacist about the specific OTC product. Caution should be taken when using OTC medications that would increase the drowsiness side effect of gabapentin. This effect can occur when combining gabapentin and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or gabapentin and Unisom (doxylamine).
Some common combinations of gabapentin and OTC medications for allergy relief and pain relief include:
- Gabapentin and Tylenol (acetaminophen)
- Gabapentin and Advil (ibuprofen)
- Gabapentin and Zyrtec (cetirizine)
- Gabapentin and Claritin (loratadine)
Reactions With Antacids
Taking gabapentin and antacids that contain magnesium hydroxide or aluminum hydroxide causes a reduction in the concentration of gabapentin in the body. When taking these antacids, such as Maalox, it is recommended to take gabapentin at least two hours after taking the antacid. If you have any questions about the interaction between gabapentin and an antacid, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Gabapentin and Benzodiazepines
Like gabapentin, benzodiazepines are classified as CNS depressants and can intensify the drowsiness and dizziness side effects of gabapentin. While it is generally recommended that this combination is avoided, doctors may feel that the combination is necessary for treatment in certain patients.
If you take gabapentin and benzodiazepines, it is very important to avoid taking other products that can further intensify drowsiness or dizziness, such as alcohol. If you have any questions about the interaction between gabapentin and benzodiazepines, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Some common combinations of gabapentin and benzodiazepines include:
- Gabapentin and Xanax (alprazolam)
- Gabapentin and Ativan (lorazepam)
- Gabapentin and Klonopin (clonazepam)
Because gabapentin can be used to help manage certain epilepsy disorders, it is commonly prescribed with other anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin, valproic acid, and phenobarbital. There are no significant interactions with these antiepileptic medications.
Lyrica and gabapentin are not typically recommended to be taken together because they both mimic the effects of the same chemical in the brain. Lyrica is the brand name for the medication pregabalin, and taking gabapentin with Lyrica is considered a duplication of therapy. If you are taking these medications together, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the combination.
As noted before, gabapentin and benzodiazepines are both classified as CNS depressants, and the combination can cause an intense sedative effect. Taking gabapentin and Valium (diazepam), a benzodiazepine may be necessary for managing seizure disorders in certain patients. If you are taking these medications together, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the possible risks and side effects associated with this combination.
Other Interactions With Gabapentin
Gabapentin is generally considered safe to take with most medications. However, if you have any questions regarding the medications that you are taking and the side effects of mixing those medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Some common combinations of gabapentin with other medications include:
- Cymbalta and gabapentin: Cymbalta is the brand name for duloxetine and is commonly used in the management of depression.
- Gabapentin and Suboxone: Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone and is used in the management of opioid dependence.
- Adderall and gabapentin: Adderall is a Schedule II medication that is a combination of different amphetamine salts and is used in the management of ADHD and narcolepsy.
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Food and Drug Administration. “Neurontin (gabapentin) Product Label.” May 1, 2013. Accessed August 4, 2019.
MedlinePlus. “Gabapentin.” November 14, 2017. Accessed August 3, 2019.
PubChem. “Gabapentin.” (n.d.). Accessed August 4, 2019.
Quintero, Gabriel C. “Review about gabapentin misuse, interactions, contraindications, and side effects.” Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, February 9, 2017. Accessed August 3, 2019.
Sirven, Joseph I. “New Uses for Older Drugs: The Tales of Aspirin, Thalidomide, and Gabapentin.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, June 2010. Accessed August 3, 2019.