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|Year : 2003 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 71-74
Palliativedrugs.com therapeutic highlights: gabapentin
Robert Twycross1, Andrew Wilcock2, Sarah Charlesworth3, MP Thresiamma4
1 Emeritus Clinical Reader in Palliative Medicine, Oxford University, United Kingdom
2 Clinical Reader in Palliative Medicine and Medical Oncology, Nottingham University, United Kingdom
3 Senior Pharmacist palliativedrugs.com, Nottingham, United Kingdom
4 Senior Pharmacist, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
Hayward House, City Hospital Nottingham NG5 1PB
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
This is the second in a series of highlights drawn from the www.palliativedrugs.com website. The website provides free access to the Palliative Care Formulary, a monthly newsletter and a bulletin board for advice to be given and received. With almost 10,000 professional members it is the largest palliative care resource of its kind.
|How to cite this article:|
Twycross R, Wilcock A, Charlesworth S, Thresiamma M P. Palliativedrugs.com therapeutic highlights: gabapentin. Indian J Palliat Care 2003;9:71-4
| Gabapentin|| |
Indications: Adjunctive treatment for partial seizures with or without secondary generalisation; [1,2] neuropathic pain of any cause.[3-12]
| Pharmacology|| |
Gabapentin is a chemical analogue of GABA but does not act as a GABA-receptor agonist. It binds to a specific site in the CNS, gabapentin-binding protein, and interacts with a2d calcium channels in the CNS. It increases GABA synthesis and release but its exact mechanism of action is complex and not fully understood. Absorption is by a saturable mechanism and bio-availability is more than halved as the dose increases from 100mg to 1200mg. Antacids containing aluminium or magnesium reduce gabapentin bio-availability by 10-25%. It is not protein-bound and freely crosses the blood-brain barrier. It is excreted unchanged by the kidneys and cumulates in renal impairment. The halflife increases to 50h when creatinine clearance is <30ml/min and to over 5 days in anuria. Initial drowsiness or dizziness occurs in 50% of patients and generally resolves over 7-10 days of use. Gabapentin has few drug interactions. Cimetidine impairs the renal excretion of gabapentin but not to a clinically important extent. It does not interact with anti-retroviral antibiotics. Gabapentin is increasingly used for neuropathic pain.[3-12] However, there is no evidence that it is more effective than older anti-epileptics. Although in an open study in diabetic neuropathy, gabapentin provided better relief than amitriptyline, in a randomised controlled trial no difference was detected. In motor neurone disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), gabapentin 800mg t.d.s slowed decrease in arm strength marginally (p>0.5) over a 6-month period. It reduces spasticity and muscle spasm in multiple sclerosis. There is a report of gabapentin abolishing opioid-related myoclonus.
Bio-availability PO 100mg, 74%; 300mg, 60%; 600mg, 49%; 1200mg, 33%.
Onset of action 1-3h.
Time to peak plasma concentration 2-3h PO.
Plasma halflife 5-7h, increasing to 2-5 days in severe renal failure.
Duration of action probably 8-12h.
| Cautions|| |
Renal impairment; psychotic illness; absence seizures; false positive readings for urinary protein with Ames N-Multistix SG; aluminium-and magnesium-containing compounds reduce bio-availability.
| Undesirable effects|| |
For full list, see manufacturer's SPC.
Very common (>10%): drowsiness, dizziness.
Common (>1-10%): anxiety, amnesia, fatigue, tremor, nystagmus, diplopia, amblyopia, dysarthria, ataxia, myalgia, arthralgia, peripheral oedema, weight gain, dry mouth, dyspepsia, pharyngitis, diarrhoea.
Uncommon (0.1-1%): leucopenia, impotence, gynaecomastia.
| Dose and use|| |
Gabapentin should be given at least 2h after antacids containing aluminium or magnesium. For both neuropathic pain and epilepsy, a rapid upward titration is suggested in the SPC [Table - 1]. However, in order to reduce undesirable effects, a slower titration of the initial dose of gabapentin over several weeks is advisable in elderly patients, those with renal impairment (see below) or if receiving other CNS depressant drugs. [12,21] The dose is titrated to achieve greatest benefit without unacceptable undesirable effects. The maximum licensed doses for neuropathic pain and epilepsy are 1800mg/day and 2400mg/ day respectively, but up to 3600mg/day has been used for both indications. The dose of gabapentin should be adjusted in adults with renal impairment and those on haemodialysis [Table - 2]. As creatinine clearance declines with age, the maximum tolerated dose is likely to be lower in the elderly, e.g. 1200mg/day. If required the capsules can be opened and the contents mixed with water, fruit juice, apple sauce, etc.
| Stopping gabapentin|| |
To avoid precipitating seizures or pain, gabapentin should be withdrawn gradually over at least 1 week.
| Supply|| |
Gabantin® (Sun Pharma 044 2835 0815)
Capsules 300 mg, 400 mg
(100 mg prepared extemporaneously) 28 days @300mgtds=Rs.824/-
| References|| |
|1.||Anonymous (1994) Gabapentin - a new antiepileptic drug. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin. 32:29-30. |
|2.||Chadwick D (1994) Gabapentin. Lancet. 343:89-91. |
|3.||Caraceni A et al. (1999) Gabapentin as an adjuvant to opioid analgesia for neuropathic cancer pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 17:441-445. |
|4.||Schachter S and Sauter M (1996) Treatment of central pain with gabapentin: case reports. Journal of Epilepsy. 9:223-225. |
|5.||Backonja M et al. (1998) Gabapentin for the symptomatic treatment of painful neuropathy in patients with diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 280:1831-1836. |
|6.||Rowbotham M et al. (1998) Gabapentin for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 280:1837-1842. |
|7.||Rice ASC et al. (2001) Gabapentin in postherpetic neuralgia: a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled study. Pain. 94:215-224. |
|8.||Serpell MG et al. (2002) Gabapentin in neuropathic pain syndromes: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pain. 99:557-566. |
|9.||Bone M et al. (2002) Gabapentin in post amputation phantom limb pain: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controled, cross-over study. Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine. 27:481-486. |
|10.||Pandey CK et al. (2002) Gabapentin for the treatment of pain in guillain-barre syndrome: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Anaesthesia and Analgesia. 95:1719-1723. |
|11.||Pelham A et al. (2002) Gabapentin for coeliac plexus pain. Palliative Medicine. 16:355-356. |
|12.||Backonja M and Glanzman RL (2003) Gabapentin dosing for neuropathic pain: Evidence from randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials. Clinical Therapeutics. 25:81-104. |
|13.||Taylor C et al. (1998) A summary of mechanistic hypothesis of gabapentin pharmacology. Epilepsy and Research. 29:223-249. |
|14.||Collins S et al. (2000) Antidepressants and anticonvulsants for diabetic neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia: a quantitative systematic review. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 20:449-458. |
|15.||Dallocchio C et al. (2000) Gabapentin vs. amitriptyline in painful diabetic neuropathy: an open-label pilot study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 20:280-285. |
|16.||Morello CM et al. (1999) Randomized double-blind study comparing the efficacy of gabapentin with amitriptyline on diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. Archives of Internal Medicine. 159:1931-1937. |
|17.||Miller R et al. (1996) Placebo-controlled trial of gabapentin in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Western Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Study Group. Neurology. 47:1383-1388. |
|18.||Cutter NC et al. (2000) Gabapentin effect on spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a placebo controlled, randomized trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 81:164-169. |
|19.||Mercadante S et al. (2001) Gabapentin for opioid-related myoclonus in cancer patients. Support Care Cancer. 9:205-206. |
|20.||Zylicz Z (2000) Painful gynecomastia: an unusual toxicity of gabapentin? Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 20:2-3. |
|21.||Dworkin RH et al. (2003) Advances in neuropathic pain. Archives of Neurology. 60:1524-1534. |
|22.||Gidal B et al. (1998) Gabapentin absorption: effect of mixing with foods of varying macronutrient composition. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 32:405-409. |
[Table - 1], [Table - 2]