Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a synthetic amino acid that is very similar to GABA (the inhibitory neurotransmitter). In contrast to GABA, Gabapentin passes the blood-brain barrier very quickly.
In people, Gabapentin, is well tolerated, is not metabolized by the liver and has few interactions with other anti-epileptic drugs, however, Gabapentin is partially metabolized to N-methyl-gabapentin in the liver of dogs.
The major disadvantages of this medication in veterinary medicine are the short half life and the cost of the medication. Clinical studies evaluating the use of Gabapentin are not currently available, however, some veterinarians feel that Gabapentin may be beneficial in controlling focal seizures refractory to other medications.
Mean Elimination Half-Life: 3-4 hours
Time to Reach Steady State Concentrations: less than 24 hours
Target Serum Concentration: The therapeutic range has not been well established.
Adverse Effects: Veterinarians using Gabapentin state that there seem to be very few side effects in dogs. Gabapentin is not sedating.
In humans side effects such as clumsiness, rolling eye movements, aggressive behaviors, anxiety, hyperactivity, depression and restlessness have been reported.
Monitoring: No monitoring protocols have been established.
Cautions and Warnings: In humans, kidney disease will increase the blood serum levels of Gabapentin.
Discontinuing Therapy: As with any anticonvulsant, discontinuing therapy may cause seizures to occur.
Berendt, M, Clinical
Neurology in Small Animals-Localization, Diagnosis and Treatment
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Last Updated August 2009