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Pharmacy/Gabapentin and weight gain

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Question
Hi!

I have a herniated L5/S1 and mild to moderade sciatic pain down my left side. If I take 1200 mg of gabapentin per day (300mg 4x a day) my pain is basically managed. I am able to stay fairly active. I do elliptical, pilates, yoga and physical therapy 4 times a week and I eat a healthy diet. I am currently 114lbs and 5'5.

My question is, I am TERRIFIED of gaining weight from gabapentin. Is it true it will make you gain weight? Is the weight gain inevitable (water weight or will it slow my metabolism) or is it a result of people moving less and eating more (from being tired from the medicine)? If I continue my active lifestyle and healthy diet will I avoid weight gain from this medication?

I have slowly reached this dosage over the last few weeks and have been on 1200mg for one week. I have had ZERO side effects so far (including no fuzzy head, no weight gain so far....)

Thanks in advance!
Laurie

Answer
Hi,

Weight gain is a side effect from gabapentin, but not all patients will experience it.  It may be a result of people moving less and eating more.  I am uncertain if it is water weight or slowing of the metabolism.  I cannot guarantee that if you continue your active lifestyle and healthy diet that it will avoid this weight gain.  I would discuss this all with your doctor.  If you do gain weight, stopping the gabapentin should most likely make you go back to your regular weight.

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Nanaz Khosrowshahi

Expertise

Being a pharmacist, I can answer questions on medications. This includes how drugs work in the body, drug interactions, drug side effects, warnings and precautions to take when using certain medications, dosage forms and strengths, management of overdosing, storage of medications, drug administration, contraindications, and drug indications. I am able to guide them on lab work that needs to be drawn and monitored while on certain medications. I am able to help patients save money when purchasing medications by directing them to cost-effective therapies. I am able to answer questions on federal laws governing pharmacy practice in the United States. I am unable to answer questions legally as if I am diagnosing the patient's disease or illness. For example, if a patient stated he had upper flank pain, I am unable to say he definitely has a urinary tract infection. However, I am able to direct the patient to the correct next step, which is to call his physician with such a side effect.

Experience

I have been a licensed pharmacist since 2007, holding licenses in CT and MA. I have a PHARM.D from an accelerated pharmacy school program. Currently, I work at the Hebrew Home and Hospital in West Hartford, CT as a pharmacist. I am a well-rounded pharmacist, with experience in long-term care, IV home infusion, retail, hospital, and hospice. I serve as the pharmacy unit coordinator for Mass Dispensing Area #31 in CT, where I am called upon as a volunteer pharmacist in case of public emergencies, such as anthrax threats. I helped run the swine flu vaccine clinic in 2009. I am on the Editorial Advisory Board for Pharmacy Today, a publication of the American Pharmacists Association. My position on the board runs for three years. Every month I make suggestions and offer ideas that would help improve the magazine. I have undergone extra training to administer vaccines to patients, which is training that only a certain percentage of registered pharmacists in the country have.

Organizations
American Pharmacists Association 2007

Education/Credentials
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester, MA- PHARM.D 2007 University of California, Irvine- BA psychology 2001 cum laude

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