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Updated on June 26, 2010
Gabapentin (Neurotin) 400 mg. capsule; Photo courtesy of Amanda Hatfield
Gabapentin (Neurotin) 400 mg. capsule; Photo courtesy of Amanda Hatfield

What is Neurotin?

Neurotin is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat epilepsy and nerve pain. Though Neurotin is only approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of those conditions, the drug has been marketed for other uses including bipolar disorder. Many physicians prescribed Neurotin for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. The Neurotin generic form as the chemical name is gabapentin.

It's not uncommon for anticonvulsants to be used to treat bipolar disorder. Some of the most common medications used to treat bipolar disorder such as Depakote and Lithium are anticonvulsant medication. However, Pfizer got into some legal trouble for promoting Neurotin uses for which the drug did not receive FDA approval. Technically, Pfizer may not have been at fault. The marketing of Neurotin for psychiatric use was apparently done by Warner-Lambert before Pfizer acquired it.

Physicians can prescribe medications for conditions for which the medications have not been approved by the FDA. According to some user reviews, the Neurotin medicine seemed to work well in treating anxiety and depression. Some users claimed that Neurotin depression anxiety treatment was like taking both a mood stabilizer and anti-anxiety medication with just one medication. Of course with any medication prescribed for a condition, people respond differently. Two people can be on the same dosage of the same medication for the same health condition and have drastically different results.

Neurotin Side Effects

The common side effects of Neurotin are drowsiness, dizziness, involuntary trembling, changes in vision, headaches, heartburn, and red, itchy eyes. Unsteadiness, weakness, memory impairment, and unusual thoughts can be Neurotin side effects. Other side effects of Neurotin can include joint pain, swelling, weight gain, dry mouth, and ear pain. Some Neurotin adverse effects resemble the flu or a cold such as runny nose, cough, diarrhea, vomiting, sneezing, sore throat, and nausea.

Signs of a serious adverse reaction to Neurotin are rash, hoarseness, seizures, itchiness, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and swelling of the face or throat. If someone taking Neurotin develops any of those signs of a dangerous side effect, the person should notify the physician immediately or seek emergency medical attention. Another dangerous Neurotin side effect is suicidal thoughts. Suicidal thoughts or increased symptoms of depression should be reported to the physician.

People should not take antacids within two hours prior to taking Neurotin. As with any medication, people should inform the doctor of any prescription or over-the-counter medication that they are taking.

I'd be interested in hearing people's experiences taking Neurotin for depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Please feel free to share a comment about your experience.


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    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I took Neurontin for many years for depression/anxiety. The worst side effect I had was with my memory. When I finally got off of it, my memory slowly improved. I also struggled a bit with the drowsiness. But it sure helped with my mental health issues. It fascinates me how many anti-seizure medications are used for mental disorder symptoms. I currently take Lamictal (Lamotrigine) for mood stabilizing and I have a friend who takes it for epilepsy. She remarked recently it makes her mood flat. She does not have mental health issues, so I guess it is making her normal mood go flat.

      This hub was very well written and your information quite accurate. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Neurotin 7 years ago

      I was on Neurotin 1200 mg 3 x a day for severe neck and shoulder pain. Weaned myself off of it and the pain was no longer there. Then in a couple months my internist prescribed 600 mg 3 x daily moreso in my left foot/leg from diabetic neuropathy and not is is helping some. I am to wear support stockings, but they make me so hot that I am not doing that. I know, shame shame, but I can't stand the heat.

      I also suffer from depression mostly due to my 3 grown children not treating me with any concern, love or attention unless it is to set me up with more heartache. I take Amytriptaline at night to help with neuopathy and pain and it also helps with depression, my doctor thinks. I see my psychiatrist in two weeks. Lately I remember I was diagnosed with lupus and wonder if this is not part of reason for my pain.

      Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      marie 7 years ago

      I am taking Neurotin for post facial Shingles pain and it has NOT helped at all. Now I'm taking Lyrica and have found it works much,much better. I'll slowly stop taking Neurotin and toss the remainder of the prescription.

    • ultracutebot profile image

      ultracutebot 7 years ago from cybertron

      I am currently taking gabapentin for anxiety as needed up to 3 times per day. It works pretty well more or less but it most certainly can make you feel drowsy, and if you're already exhausted it can make you that much sleepier. It's been pretty effective but as with a lot of other medications prescribed for anxiety, it can take a while to kick in, especially if you're already in the middle of a panic attack.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      I have had to take this medicatiom after spinal surgery. I was also on many pain killers at the same time. I beleave the combination did a wondeful job. Once I stopped taking the pain releavers and just took the Neurotin I discovered I could function just fine without the opiats. Great hub!