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Precautions and Warnings With Extended-Release Gabapentin

People with a history of suicidal thoughts, depression, or cancer may need to use extra caution when taking extended-release gabapentin, and people who are allergic to any of the drug's ingredients should avoid it entirely. Other precautions and warnings with extended-release gabapentin relate to possible side effects and the safety of using this drug if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Extended-Release Gabapentin?

Talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking extended-release gabapentin (Gralise™) if you have:
  • Depression
  • A history of suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Cancer
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Extended-Release Gabapentin Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
  • Do not suddenly stop taking extended-release gabapentin. If you need to stop taking this medication, your healthcare provider will advise you about how to gradually reduce the dosage over a period of at least one week. Presumably, this is because stopping seizure medications too quickly can increase your risk for seizures. Although extended-release gabapentin is not approved to treat seizures, other gabapentin medications, including Neurontin®, are approved for seizure treatment.
  • Extended-release gabapentin increases the risk for certain cancers in rats. However, it is not known if this medicine increases the risk for cancer in humans.
  • Make sure to see how extended-release gabapentin affects you before driving or operating any machinery, as this drug can cause drowsiness and dizziness. In general, you should avoid drinking alcohol while taking extended-release gabapentin, as it may increase your risk for drowsiness and other problems.
  • Extended-release gabapentin can cause vision problems, especially blurred vision or double vision. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any vision problems while taking this drug.
  • Extended-release gabapentin is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for pregnant women, although the full risks are unknown. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy (see Gralise and Pregnancy).
  • Extended-release gabapentin passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Gralise and Breastfeeding).
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