Gabapentin is used in both dogs and cats. It has two different functions.
Gabapentin is most effective for treating neuropathic pain (pain that results from damage or dysfunction in the nervous system.) It is also frequently used to treat pain originating from various types of cancer.
Gabapentin may be used to treat refractory seizures in dogs and cats that have not responded favorably to other types of medications. It may be used in conjunction with other antiepileptic medications1 or may be used a sole form of treatment. Gabapentin is increasingly being used as a first-line form of treatment for seizures and epilepsy in place of more traditional medications such as phenobarbital.
The most common side effect seen with gabapentin is sedation. Your pet should be monitored for symptoms such as incoordination or drowsiness. Gabapentin is eliminated from the body almost entirely by the kidneys and urinary tract. Therefore, gabapentin should be used cautiously in animals suffering from kidney disease. You should not stop giving gabapentin to your pet suddenly. Doing so can result in life-threatening seizure activity.
Oral formulations of gabapentin may contain xylitol2. Xylitol is known to be toxic to dogs and gabapentin formulations containing xylitol should be avoided.
The potential for adverse drug interactions exists when gabapentin is used with several other medications. Antacids, hydrocodone and morphine used in conjunction with gabapentin may alter the metabolism of gabapentin. Adjusted dosages of gabapentin may be warranted if it must be used with these medications.
(Source: Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook, 6th edition, Donald C Plumb)
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