PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION

Neurontin (generic)

type of medication:

Neurontin is a commonly prescribed medication (anticonvulsant) that’s often well-tolerated and effective.


Treatment for:

Generalized anxiety disorder, depression, insomnia, panic disorder, social anxiety

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Neurontin (gabapentin)

How it works, what it treats, side effects, and more.

Mimi Winsberg, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Brightside Health
Stanford-trained psychiatrist with 25 years of practice

At Brightside Health, our psychiatric providers specialize in finding the right medication for your specific needs. As part of your treatment, your provider may recommend Neurontin. They’ll go over how the medication works, and answer any questions you may have.

In the meantime, we’ve provided some general information about this medication below. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Neurontin (gabapentin) is an oral medicine that we may prescribe to treat certain anxiety or depression disorders. We may also use this medication to treat nerve pain.

Neurontin (gabapentin) is a synthetic version of the neurotransmitter GABA, which means it mimics the role GABA has in the body. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry signals between nerve cells. The GABA neurotransmitter can help slow down neurons firing in the brain. Neurontin (gabapentin) works in a similar way; it can help quiet the brain and decrease pain transmission in your nerves.

Doctors and scientists initially developed Neurontin (gabapentin) to treat seizures and a nerve pain condition called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). However, because it calms neurons in the brain, we sometimes prescribe it for certain anxiety or depression disorders.

At Brightside, we use Neurontin (gabapentin) alongside other medicines to treat: 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Hard-to-treat depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nerve pain
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety

Doctors may also prescribe Neurontin (gabapentin) for other off-label uses, including treating pain caused by diabetes, migraines, and hot flashes.

When you use Neurontin (gabapentin) with other medicines, it can help you with low mood, anxiety, and being unable to let go of worries.

Neurontin (gabapentin) can also help you with:

  • Chronic pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge
  • Hot flashes
  • Muscle tension
  • Not being able to stop or control worrying
  • Numbness or tingling due to nerve damage
  • Panic attacks
  • Restlessness, including restless legs syndrome
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Worrying too much about different things

We understand many patients wonder whether a certain medicine will work for them. It’s common, and unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer.

Many different factors influence how you respond to medication. And some medicines work better for certain people than others. Because each person is different—genetics, age, and gender, among other differences—your response to medication may be different from someone else’s response. Other factors, such as underlying health conditions, other medications, and dietary considerations, can also play a role in how medication helps your symptoms.

At Brightside, we can help you find the right medicine and find the right treatment to help you feel better.

Before starting a new medicine like Neurontin (gabapentin), it’s important to get a comprehensive health assessment from a doctor or provider who understands your health history. You should only take Neurontin (gabapentin) if a physician or other qualified psychiatric provider prescribed it for you.

It will take about a week before you start feeling the effects of Neurontin (gabapentin). However, it’s important to continue taking your medication even if you don’t feel improvement right away. In some cases, your doctor may need to adjust your dosage for you to get the maximum benefit from the medicine. At Brightside, our board-certified physicians will closely monitor your progress to make sure this medication and dosage are right for you.

We understand that mental health concerns often can’t wait, so if you need to meet with a provider right away to discuss a new or existing medicine, Brightside offers same-day consultation and telehealth services.

Before taking a depression or anxiety medication, you may have concerns about how long you’ll need to continue the medicine. And in some cases, you may want to stop taking the medicine once you start to feel better.

The amount of time you need to take Neurontin (gabapentin) will depend on your diagnosis and specific symptoms. Some people may only need to take Neurontin (gabapentin) for a short period of time or as needed. However, others may need to take it long-term. Remember that your treatment may take longer if you need to switch doses or medications, add additional medications, or if your anxiety or depression doesn’t respond to treatment.

Your Brightside team will work with you to determine what course of treatment is best for your specific needs. Most importantly, we recommend that you keep taking your medicine until your doctor says it’s time to stop – even after you start to feel better.

Although we need more research to study the effects of Neurontin (gabapentin) on mental health conditions, some studies have shown that it can reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders and social anxiety.

However, keep in mind that taking Neurontin (gabapentin) on its own may not help your anxiety or depression symptoms. Most people will take Neurontin (gabapentin) with other anxiety or depression medication, such as Zoloft (sertraline) and hydroxyzine.

We understand that you may have some concerns about how Neurontin (gabapentin) affects you, but you don’t have to worry about Neurontin (gabapentin) changing your personality. The goal of this treatment is to help you feel better – like yourself again – and restore your good mental health. But remember, it doesn’t happen overnight. Keep taking your medication as prescribed, and talk to us if you have any questions or concerns.

Neurontin (gabapentin) is a safe medication, but it’s important to talk with your Brightside team about potential side effects of this treatment. A small number of adults and children (approximately 1/500 people) who take anticonvulsants like Neurontin (gabapentin) experience suicidal thoughts during treatment.

You’ll probably experience drowsiness after taking Neurontin (gabapentin), so it’s best to take it before you go to bed.

You may also experience other side effects from Neurontin (gabapentin), but they are usually temporary. Be sure to talk to your doctor if any of these side effects become severe or don’t go away:

  • Anxiety
  • Back or joint pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness 
  • Double/blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Earache
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Increased appetite
  • Itchy, red eyes
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough or other flu-like symptoms
  • Swelling around the hands or lower legs, including the feet and ankles
  • Unsteadiness
  • Uncontrollable shaking

In rare cases, Neurontin (gabapentin) can also cause severe side effects. Call a doctor right away if you experience:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Hoarseness
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling of the face, throat, lips, tongue, or eyes

Your Brightside team will prescribe you Neurontin (gabapentin) to help you feel better. Once you start to feel these positive effects, you may want to stop taking the medicine. However, in most cases, Neurontin (gabapentin) contributes to these good feelings, and stopping the medicine could cause your anxiety or depression to come back.

It’s important to continue your prescription and talk to your doctor about any changes you’d like to make. If you stop taking Neurontin (gabapentin) suddenly, you could experience withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Inability to move (catatonia)
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Status ecliptics (multiple seizures, one after another)

If you would like to stop taking Neurontin (gabapentin), make sure to talk to your doctor or Brightside team. We can help you manage withdrawal symptoms safely.

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, make sure to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your medication. At Brightside, we can also help you weigh the pros and cons of continuing your medication while pregnant.

Some studies suggest using Neurontin (gabapentin) during pregnancy may contribute to complications such as low birth weight and premature delivery (delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Although there is minimal risk of birth defects, there may be safer ways to manage your symptoms while you’re pregnant.

Because Neurontin (gabapentin) can pass into breast milk, it’s also important to talk to your doctor if you plan to breastfeed. You and your doctor can develop a plan to manage your symptoms and feed your baby safely.

Neurontin (gabapentin) is not addictive and is not a controlled substance, but if you have concerns about your dependence on this medicine, don’t hesitate to talk to your Brightside team.

You can view the FDA black box warning for Neurontin (gabapentin) here. If you have questions about whether the black box warning for Neurontin (gabapentin) applies to you, please talk to your doctor.

GETTING STARTED WITH BRIGHTSIDE

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Start your journey towards life-changing care in a matter of minutes. You’ll receive compassionate support and expert advice the entire way.

Meet 1:1 with your provider

Complete a quick questionnaire, then connect 1:1 with your dedicated provider to discuss your needs.

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Your provider will pinpoint the most effective medication for you and send it to your pharmacy of choice.

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Weekly check-ins help you keep track of symptoms, giving your provider data to make adjustments.

View your progress

Watch your scores and well-being improve along the way with our Proactive Progress Tracking tool.

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PERSONALIZED

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or $95/month

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  • Proactive progress tracking, anytime messaging, & more

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or $349/month

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  • 1:1 video sessions with your dedicated psychiatric provider & therapist
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Real stories.
Real results.

Read More Reviews

“I feel MUCH IMPROVED! My medication works well for me, and the personal care I have received has been wonderful! My provider listens to me with understanding and compassion.”

Tonya T

“5/5. My provider is excellent and takes time to understand my symptoms and make informed medication determinations. After many years of being on multiple medications, I am feeling much relief after less than two months of treatment.”

Anonymous

“Happier than I have been in years. One of the best decisions of my life was trying Brightside.”

Michael P

“I was impressed with how fast I was able to get an appointment as the wait in my area is months long. I received helpful medication quickly, which is also hard to get here. My provider is terrific, helpful, and kind. The zoom appointments are great for my hectic life. Really love this program so far!”

Anna W

“Very easy and simple to get the medication I needed. Since starting to use Brightside, I have begun to feel so much better about myself and I wake up every day with a sense of excitement that wasn’t there before!”

Brandon D

“It is so convenient to get medication and a therapist that work with my schedule. The quality of care is beyond top notch, and being able to see someone on Sundays is so convenient for people who work during the week.”

Anonymous

Real stories.
Real results.

“I feel MUCH IMPROVED! My medication works well for me, and the personal care I have received has been wonderful! My provider listens to me with understanding and compassion.”

Tonya T

“5/5. My provider is excellent and takes time to understand my symptoms and make informed medication determinations. After many years of being on multiple medications, I am feeling much relief after less than two months of treatment.”

Anonymous

“Happier than I have been in years. One of the best decisions of my life was trying Brightside.”

Michael P

“I was impressed with how fast I was able to get an appointment as the wait in my area is months long. I received helpful medication quickly, which is also hard to get here. My provider is terrific, helpful, and kind. The zoom appointments are great for my hectic life. Really love this program so far!”

Anna W

“Very easy and simple to get the medication I needed. Since starting to use Brightside, I have begun to feel so much better about myself and I wake up every day with a sense of excitement that wasn’t there before!”

Brandon D

“It is so convenient to get medication and a therapist that work with my schedule. The quality of care is beyond top notch, and being able to see someone on Sundays is so convenient for people who work during the week.”

Anonymous

Read More Reviews

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