Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant prescribed by veterinarians predominantly for the treatment of chronic pain in dogs, cats and other animals. It is also used as a seizure control agent, either by itself or in conjunction with other anti-seizure medications. Depending on what the drug is being used for, dosage can vary widely.

How Is Gabapentin Supplied and Administered?

Gabapentin is available in either an oral or topical formulation. The dosage, mode of administration and frequency of administration are determined by the veterinarian according to the condition being treated and the individual needs of the patient. A prescription from a licensed veterinarian is required in order to obtain this medication.

For very small unique, weight-based doses, like that required for treating a cat or other small animal, a veterinary compounding pharmacy will be is required to facilitate the formulation.

Possible Side Effects of Gabapentin

The most common side effects attributed to Gabapentin include mild sedation and occasional diarrhea. Sedation can be minimized by tapering from a smaller starting dose up to the desired dose. When treating seizures, it is ideal to wean off the drug to reduce the risk of withdrawal seizures. This drug can also cause a false positive reading on urinary protein tests.

Potential Interactions With Other Drugs

Gabapentin is commonly found to be more effective for pain management at the beginning of treatment when administered alongside another pain reliever like hydrocodone or morphine. After a period of time, the second narcotic can be dropped from the therapy and Gabapentin will remain the sole pain reliever.

Gabapentin should not be administered within two hours of oral antacids or the antacids will hinder absorption of the Gabapentin, rendering it less effective.

Gabapentin Precautions

Gabapentin should not be prescribed to patients with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. It is also not recommended for use in pregnant animals, although it has shown to be safe for use in nursing animals.

If the patient has been on Gabapentin treatment for a while, abrupt cessation of the drug is not recommended, as seizures may occur. Instead, the patient should be gradually weaned off the medication over a period of about two weeks.

Extreme caution must be followed when prescribing this medication to a patient with kidney problems, as Gabapentin is removed from the body through the kidneys.

The human oral solution of gabapentin contains xylitol, which should be avoided in veterinary patients.

Author: Giano Panzarella