Medical Alerts for Seniors Taking Gabapentin

Medical Alerts for Seniors Taking Gabapentin

time icon 6 min read update icon Sept. 28, 2019


Gabapentin is an anti-seizure drug that is used for preventing seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. This medication also reduces the burning, stabbing pain and aches that may follow an episode of shingles. The drug can be administered as a capsule, tablet or oral solution. Gabapentin can also be used to treat restless legs syndrome, a condition that causes discomfort in the legs. Gabapentin is a popular drug, known for relieving pain and reducing the way a body senses pain.

Gabapentin Overview

Gabapentin can be used with other medications, or alone, to prevent and control seizures. It can also be used to relieve nerve pain following a bout of shingles. The medication can be taken by mouth, with or without food, as directed. Recommended dosages may vary, as they are based on medical conditions and specific treatment plans for the patient. During the first few days of taking this medication, the dosage may be gradually increased as a way to allow the body to adjust to the medication. To minimize the possible side effects, it is recommended that the drug be taken at bedtime.

To get the greatest benefit from gabapentin, its dosage should be maintained at a consistent level throughout the body. To do this, doctors recommend taking gabapentin at the same times throughout each day. It is not wise to take this medication more often or increase the dose without first consulting a doctor, as doing so will increase the risk of serious side effects. Individuals who take this medication should not stop taking it suddenly without consulting a doctor. Some conditions and side effects may worsen when the drug is abruptly stopped.

Gabapentin Impairment

If an individual suddenly stops taking gabapentin tablets, capsules or oral solution, they many experience withdrawal symptoms such as feelings of anxiety, sleeping disorders, nausea, sweating and pain. 

Additionally, individuals taking gabapentin may experience symptoms such as:

  • Mood or behavior changes
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity (mental or physical)
  • Fever
  • Body aches or flu-like symptoms
  • Skin rashes
  • Upper stomach pain
  • Chest pain or irregular heartbeats
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting and feelings of nausea
  • Swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Urinating less than usual or not at all
  • New or worsening cough
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Rapid back and forth movement of the eyes
Medical Alert Benefits

If an individual is having a seizure or is experiencing complications from taking gabapentin, a medical alert device can alert emergency medical care providers immediately.In seconds, health professionals can be on their way to provide assistance in the event that an individual cannot communicate due to a seizure, side effects or other symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms/side effects of gabapentin include:

  • Weakness, dizziness, drowsiness
  • Nausea, constipation, diarrhea
  • Impaired vision
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of coordination or balance
  • Increased fevers
  • Cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Upset stomach
  • Skin rash
Safety Without Medical Alerts

Many individuals choose not to invest in medical alert services. Instead, they find other means to reduce the symptoms and side effects associated with gabapentin.

  • Headaches: Headaches can usually be controlled with over-the-counter medications. Individuals should carry their chosen medicine with them at all times, so that the discomfort can be treated right away at the onset. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the appropriate painkiller for your individual needs. One can also exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, and reduce stress to minimize headaches.
  • Dry mouth: Individuals who take gabapentin often complain of dry mouth. Chewing a sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candies can help to stimulate the flow of saliva. Caffeine intake should also be limited, since it can cause dry mouth. Individuals should also avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
  • Skin rash: Recurring skin rashes are common with gabapentin. Over-the-counter rash medications can help to relieve itching and discomfort.
Gabapentin Precautions:
  • Check for allergic reactions: It is possible for gabapentin to cause severe allergic reactions that can involve various organs, such as the kidneys and liver. Individuals should consult their doctor immediately if they experience one of the following symptoms: rash, fever, swollen or painful glands, bruising, or yellowing of the eyes or skin.
  • Be aware of mood: Gabapentin may cause some individuals to be easily agitated or display other unusual behaviors, such as feelings of sadness or hopelessness. It has been the cause of thoughts of suicide and has caused feelings of depression. If any of these side effects are recognized, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
  • Do not discontinue use: It is recommended that individuals do not stop using gabapentin without first checking with their doctor. Abruptly stopping the medicine may cause an increase of seizures. A doctor may want to gradually reduce the dosage amounts rather than stop ping the medication completely.
Gabapentin Medical Alerts Conclusion

Medical alert services can literally be a lifesaver for seniors who take gabapentin.A seizure may occur at any time, not allowing an individual the time needed to call 911. Additionally, the drug may cause life-threatening side effects such as breathing difficulties or passing out.

Overdose symptoms of the drug can include blurred vision, weakness, slurred speech, drowsiness and diarrhea. Getting emergency medical help is crucial at any time these symptoms begin to occur, and medical alert services can ensure just that. With the press of a button, medical alert can provide immediate help to a senior who needs it.

T. Mashae Pearson - Senior Advisor

Shae is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.