Neurontin (gabapentin) is an anticonvulsant previously approved as an adjunct treatment for partial epileptic seizures in adults and children. It is also indicated in over 50 countries for the adjunctive treatment of epilepsy and a range of neuropathic pain conditions. It is now approved in the United States for the management of post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Neurontin is the first oral medication approved by the FDA for this indication.
PHN is a syndrome of often intractable pain that persists after the resolution of herpes zoster, a condition commonly known as shingles. This intense pain is described as burning, deep aching, tearing and electric shock-like. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of all patients with herpes zoster develop PHN, which may persist for a number of years.
The approval of Neurontin was supported by a multi-center trial involving 229 subjects with PHN. Results showed that subjects suffering from PHN experienced a statistically significant reduction in average daily pain after treatment with Neurontin. Almost twice as many subjects treated with Neurontin (16 percent) were pain-free versus those treated with placebo (8.8 percent) at the end of the trial. The study also showed that those receiving Neurontin experienced improvement in sleep and overall quality of life.
Adverse events associated with the use of Neurontin may include (but are not limited to) the following:
The mechanism of action exerted by Neurontin (gabapentin) is unknown. Gabapentin is structurally related to the neurotransmitter GABA, but it does not interact with GABA receptors, is not converted metabolically into GABA or a GABA agonist and is not an inhibitor of GABA uptake or degradation. (Neurontin prescribing information)
For additional information on Neurontin, please visit Pfizer.