Neurontin is a brand name for Gabapentin, which is an anti-epileptic drug. Although doctors cannot explain the exact function of the drug in a human's body, it contains chemicals that alter nerves in the body responsible for seizure and pain. Children under the age of three are prohibited from using the drug because of its chemical interference with normal functioning of nerves and chemicals in the body. Usually, the drug is prescribed for adults with nerve pain caused by shingles. While there are other brands names of gabapentin, Neurontin is commonly used in treating seizures both in adults and children above three years.
The anticonvulsant directly affects emotions and moods. Usually, children tend to behave differently, either positively or negatively. As such, it is important for an individual using the drug to stay alert in any extreme mood changes and report to a physician. It is common for suicide thoughts to creep a patient's mind while on this medication. However, you should not stop using Neurontin until the dosage is complete.
When Should You Take Neurontin?
Some people are allergic to contents in Gabapentin. The fact that the drug alters functionality of the nerves, being critical components of a human's body, doctors advice thorough checkup on an individual's body system including medical history before prescribing Neurontin.
Considerations before Taking the Medicine
Some of the crucial conditions that you should share with your doctor to ensure safety while using the drug include; liver, kidney or heart disease, depression, diabetes, mood disorder, seizure, and day sleeping. Pregnancy is also a critical period that a mother should control seizure if any. The effect of seizure on both mother and child cannot be overemphasized. As such, it is important to inform a physician of pregnancy before starting or stopping to take Neurontin. Furthermore, experts indicate that Gabapentin can mix with breast milk. Although effects on a breast feeding child are not defined, a physician should be aware if you are breast feeding.
How to Take Neurontin
Following directions both by a physician and on the prescription label is critical when it comes to Neurontin. Taking any less or more than a prescribed amount may endanger an individual's life. Besides, you should not take the medicine any shorter or longer other than the prescribed period.
The drug can be taken with or without food; however, this varies from one person to another. Thus, a patient's option is limited to doctor's advice.
A change of Gabapentin brand may affect dosage amount and period. Again, it is important to seek advice either from a pharmacist or a doctor if you change the type or strength of Gabapentin. It is advisable to take whole Neurontin tablets. However, in case a tablet breaks, the other half should be taken on the next dose.
Any individual taking Neurontin should be consistent with the medication until it is complete. A sudden stop can increase seizures and further negative effects. The strong nature of the drug demands extreme caution in handling such individuals. Any doctor attending to you should be aware you are using Neurontin. Therefore, you should ensure you carry an ID indicating seizures or wear an alert tag at all times for safety in case of emergencies.
Neurontin tablets should be kept away from moisture and light.
What to Avoid
Neurontin impairs thinking. Therefore, you should avoid driving or any activity that demands critical judgment. Besides, you should not use antacid 2 hours before and after taking Neurontin. Components in antacids interfere with absorption of Gabapentin. It is also safe to keep off alcohol because of the uncertain side effects.
Gabapentin contains strong chemical components that interfere with the whole body system through the nerves. Therefore, if you take more than the prescribed amount you seek immediate medical attention from a physician.
What if You Miss a Dose?
Do not take extra tablets as a make-up. Make sure you take the prescribed dosage amount immediately you remember with food. You may skip the next dosage if it is close.
Common Side Effects on Children
While there are conditions witnessed in adults and children, adults have more advanced complications when using Neurontin as compared to kids. Parents should be alert to note and seek medical attention if any of these is witnessed on their kids: reduced concentration, memory loss, aggressiveness, nausea, fever, and sudden behavior change.
Side Effects on Adults
- Kidney problems that includes; painful urination and swelling of feet
- Stomach pain
- Severe body exhaustion
- Chest pain
- Increase in seizures
- Difficulty in breathing
- Eye problems
- Drowsiness and headaches
- Body imbalance
Do Other Drugs Affect Neurontin?
Ordinarily, Neurontin slows down the normal functioning of the body. Therefore, using other types of medicine with similar effects can worsen an individual's condition. Such drugs include; muscle relaxers, narcotics, sleeping pills, and anti-depressants. You should inform your doctor of any medicine you start or stop using.
Seizure is a type of brain disorder that suddenly occurs due to misfire of nerve cells in the brain. Usually, it affects consciousness of an individual. Behavior, feelings, and movements of an individual are also altered. Recurrent seizures over a long period of time is referred to as Epilepsy. Ordinarily, seizures last from 30seconds to two minutes. However, there are extreme cases that an individual is affected up to five minutes. Such cases are considered dangerous thus medical attention should be sought immediately.
There are several types of seizure on basis of their source and how they began. Seizures also vary in severity. Although specific causes of seizures remain unclear, most people experience it either after a head injury, stroke or illnesses such as Meningitis. While the brain disorder can be controlled, an individual would still experience the effects. However, physicians prescribe appropriate medication depending on source and severity of a seizure.
Types of Seizure
An electric misfire in the brain is common than you can imagine. Some seizures go unnoticed because of their mild nature that fades in seconds. Some begin as one kind then turn to another thus making it difficult to classify. However, there are two broad categories of seizure based on how and where they begin. These are; generalized and focal (partial) seizures
In this type, nerve cells from all sides of the brain misfire. The condition is usually intense that it leads to falling and blacking out. There are several subtypes:
This type is characterized with muscle spasms. The affected individually experiences rhythmic muscle jerk on the face, arm, and neck.
This is the most common type. It is characterized by loss of consciousness, jerking, stiffening, and shaking of the body. Usually, this goes on for 1 to 3 minutes where an individual may lose control of the bowels or bladder. Some people experience breathing difficulty or even bite their tongues. If such a condition goes beyond three minutes, it is considered a medical emergency.
It is common to people diagnosed with epilepsy, specifically Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Mostly happens when one is asleep. The condition lasts for a maximum of 20 minutes where an individual experiences muscle tension on the arms and legs. Sometimes it occurs to people while standing thus causing them to fall.
In this type, an individual experiences muscle limping and head leaning. It is highly likely for an individual to fall or drop anything in their hands. Atonic seizures last for a maximum of 15 minutes, although they might happen several in a row. People with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome are likely to experience an atonic seizure. Such individuals are advised to wear protectives on the head to avoid injuries.
This is common among children under the age of 14. An individual loses awareness of the surrounding environment, this last for few seconds and may go unnoticed. Usually, an individual stares to space with eyes rolling back.
Just like in atomic seizures, an individual experiences muscle jerking. It is like an electric shock. It is possible for someone to experience both myoclonic and atonic seizures
Focal (partial) Seizures
This second type of seizure starts in a specific part and spreads to other parts of the brain. One may either be conscious or lose consciousness within the two minutes. On the impaired awareness seizure, an individual is likely to move legs, smack lips or chew lips. Experts categorize this type into three; simple, complex, and secondary generalized seizures.
Simple focal seizures interfere with the five senses. An individual smells and hears strange things. Additionally, fingers and arms twitch. An individual is also likely to feel dizzy and sweaty.
Complex focal seizures affect emotions and memory. It is common for affected individuals to laugh or cry without their knowledge. Although they lose consciousness, they seem to be awake.
Secondary generalized seizures are characterized by convulsions and other physical symptoms. The condition starts on one part of the brain and spreads to nerve cells on either sides of the brain.
Symptoms of a Seizure
Depending on the cause, you can experience both the generalized and partial seizures and one before another. Usually, symptoms last up to 15 minutes.
Some of indications before a seizure occurs include:
- Stomach discomfort
- Muscle jerking on legs and arms
Symptoms that indicate a seizure is in progress include:
- Strange taste in the mouth
- Sudden mood changes
- Grunting and unusual noises
- Uncontrollable muscle spasms
- Clenching of teeth
- Losing control of bowel and bladder
- Rapid eye movements
- Tongue biting
Causes of Seizure
Neurons are responsible for sending and receiving information around the body of a human being. The nerve cells communication is only possible through electric impulses. Any disruption of the communication path causes a seizure. While it is difficult to pin point a specific cause to seizures, the most common include:
- Lack of sleep
- Brain infections
- Internal head injury
- High fever that leads to Meningitis
- Narcotics such as Cocaine and Heroine
- Alcohol abuse
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Low sodium in the blood
- Repetitive sounds or flashing lights from a screen
- Kidney failure
- Extreme high blood pressure
- Liver failure
- Bites, stings
While it is not easy to establish a cause because of the diverse possibilities, it is important for you to inform a physician of your family medical history and other possible causes. This is crucial in determining a suitable treatment plan.
Effects of Seizures
Typically, seizures cause physical body injury due to falling. Seizures also cause trauma. In extreme cases, uncontrolled seizures over a long period may lead to coma and even death. Therefore, it is important for such individuals to always carry a medical identification card indicating seizures or a bracelet to inform care givers in case of an emergency. Besides, affected individuals should seek seizure treatment to avoid further effects.
Seizures can also lead to road accidents. When driving a car, one is likely to lose control. Besides, road accidents, operating machinery and production equipment can be hazardous in the event of a seizure.
There is a high likelihood of individuals with recurrent seizures to experience depression and anxiety. The medication given to the affected people may also be a cause of such psychological problems. Besides, the continuous struggle to deal with the problem is frustrating.
Expectant mothers with seizures have high risks of losing their unborn children. Apart from direct effect of seizures that physically and emotionally affect fetus, anti-epileptic drugs can also lead to birth defects. It is crucial for an expectant mother to inform a doctor early enough for adjustment of medication.
Experiencing seizures while swimming or bathing can also be dangerous. One is likely to drown.
Considering there are numerous types of seizure basing on their severity and cause, it is difficult for doctors to diagnose. However, physicians recommend tests that help in accurate diagnosis hence appropriate treatment plans. Typically, doctors analyze an individual's medical history to iron out any conditions with similar symptoms. Psychological stress and sleep disorders, for instance, may pose symptoms similar to a seizure's thus mistaken medication.
The three common lab tests include: a spinal tap, electrolyte blood test, and toxicology screening. Doctors also use electroencephalography to measure brain waves hence determination of the specific type of seizure. Moreover, MRI and CT scans are used to check for any tumors and blood flow in the brain.
Physicians usually establish causes as a basis of medication. Treating a cause also helps in preventing future seizures. With consistent medication, it is possible to completely stop seizures. Common treatment for seizures includes:
- Ketogenic diet
- Brain surgery to correct abnormalities
- Nerve stimulation
How to Help Someone with a Seizure
Most fall when experiencing seizure. As a result, they are more likely to get physical injuries. Anyone nearby should always clear the area around such a person to avoid serious injuries such as on the head. Besides, the head of such an individual should be cushioned while they are lying on the ground. Although there is now way to stop a seizure while it is in progress, it is possible for a friend, colleague, or family member nearby to remain calm and help. These include:
- Keeping note of time from when the seizure began. In case the seizure lasts more than five minutes, you should call 911 as a medical emergency
- Do not hold the individual to the ground
- If the individual falls, position them on the side to allow leakage of vomit and saliva
- In case the person experiences a seizure while standing, gently help them to a floor or hold them in a hug
- After a seizure, you should loosen any tight clothing on their neck and wrists. You might also have to clear their mouth of vomit if they are having breathing problems.