The following adverse reactions have been identified during postmarketing use of gabapentin. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Hepatobiliary disorders: jaundice
Investigations: elevated creatine kinase, elevated liver function tests
Metabolism and nutrition disorders: hyponatremia
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorder: rhabdomyolysis
Nervous system disorders: movement disorder
Psychiatric disorders: agitation
Reproductive system and breast disorders: breast enlargement, changes in libido, ejaculation disorders and anorgasmia
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: angioedema [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)], bullous pemphigoid, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
There are postmarketing reports of life-threatening or fatal respiratory depression in patients taking gabapentin with opioids or other CNS depressants, or in the setting of underlying respiratory impairment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].
Adverse reactions following the abrupt discontinuation of gabapentin have also been reported. The most frequently reported reactions were anxiety, insomnia, nausea, pain, and sweating.
Respiratory depression and sedation, sometimes resulting in death, have been reported following coadministration of gabapentin with opioids (e.g., morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, buprenorphine) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].
Coadministration of gabapentin with hydrocodone decreases hydrocodone exposure [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. The potential for alteration in hydrocodone exposure and effect should be considered when gabapentin is started or discontinued in a patient taking hydrocodone.
When gabapentin is administered with morphine, patients should be observed for signs of CNS depression, such as somnolence, sedation and respiratory depression [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Gabapentin is not appreciably metabolized nor does it interfere with the metabolism of commonly coadministered antiepileptic drugs [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
The mean bioavailability of gabapentin was reduced by about 20% with concomitant use of an antacid (Maalox ® ) containing magnesium and aluminum hydroxides. It is recommended that gabapentin be taken at least 2 hours following Maalox administration [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Because false positive readings were reported with the Ames N-Multistix SG ® dipstick test for urinary protein when gabapentin was added to other antiepileptic drugs, the more specific sulfosalicylic acid precipitation procedure is recommended to determine the presence of urine protein.
Pregnancy Exposure Registry
There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), such as gabapentin, during pregnancy. Encourage women who are taking gabapentin during pregnancy to enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry by calling the toll free number 1-888-233-2334 or visiting http://www.aedpregnancyregistry.org/.
There are no adequate data on the developmental risks associated with the use of gabapentin in pregnant women. In nonclinical studies in mice, rats, and rabbits, gabapentin was developmentally toxic (increased fetal skeletal and visceral abnormalities, and increased embryofetal mortality) when administered to pregnant animals at doses similar to or lower than those used clinically [see Data].
In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively. The background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown.
When pregnant mice received oral doses of gabapentin (500, 1000, or 3000 mg/kg/day) during the period of organogenesis, embryofetal toxicity (increased incidences of skeletal variations) was observed at the two highest doses. The no-effect dose for embryofetal developmental toxicity in mice (500 mg/kg/day) is less than the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 3600 mg on a body surface area (mg/m2) basis.
In studies in which rats received oral doses of gabapentin (500 to 2000 mg/kg/day) during pregnancy, adverse effect on offspring development (increased incidences of hydroureter and/or hydronephrosis) were observed at all doses. The lowest dose tested is similar to the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis.
When pregnant rabbits were treated with gabapentin during the period of organogenesis, an increase in embryofetal mortality was observed at all doses tested (60, 300, or 1500 mg/kg). The lowest dose tested is less than the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis.
In a published study, gabapentin (400 mg/kg/day) was administered by intraperitoneal injection to neonatal mice during the first postnatal week, a period of synaptogenesis in rodents (corresponding to the last trimester of pregnancy in humans). Gabapentin caused a marked decrease in neuronal synapse formation in brains of intact mice and abnormal neuronal synapse formation in a mouse model of synaptic repair. Gabapentin has been shown in vitro to interfere with activity of the α2δ subunit of voltage-activated calcium channels, a receptor involved in neuronal synaptogenesis. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown.
Gabapentin is secreted in human milk following oral administration. The effects on the breastfed infant and on milk production are unknown. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for gabapentin and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from gabapentin or from the underlying maternal condition.
Safety and effectiveness of gabapentin in the management of postherpetic neuralgia in pediatric patients have not been established.
Safety and effectiveness as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of partial seizures in pediatric patients below the age of 3 years has not been established [see Clinical Studies (14.2)].
The total number of patients treated with gabapentin in controlled clinical trials in patients with postherpetic neuralgia was 336, of which 102 (30%) were 65 to 74 years of age, and 168 (50%) were 75 years of age and older. There was a larger treatment effect in patients 75 years of age and older compared to younger patients who received the same dosage. Since gabapentin is almost exclusively eliminated by renal excretion, the larger treatment effect observed in patients ≥75 years may be a consequence of increased gabapentin exposure for a given dose that results from an age-related decrease in renal function. However, other factors cannot be excluded. The types and incidence of adverse reactions were similar across age groups except for peripheral edema and ataxia, which tended to increase in incidence with age.
Clinical studies of gabapentin in epilepsy did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they responded differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
This drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and dose should be adjusted based on creatinine clearance values in these patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.4), Adverse Reactions (6), and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
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