Gabapentin for Hot Flashes

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Gabapentin for Hot Flashes

Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
gabapentinNeurontin

How It Works

Gabapentin is an antiseizure (anticonvulsive) medicine that is approved by Health Canada for controlling epilepsy. How it works to improve hot flashes is not fully understood.

Why It Is Used

Gabapentin may be used to treat hot flashes.

It addition to seizure control, gabapentin is also commonly used to treat chronic pain, migraine headache, panic disorder, and social phobia.

How Well It Works

Gabapentin may lower the number of hot flashes each day and the intensity of hot flashes.1, 2

Side Effects

Side effects from gabapentin include:

  • Fatigue or drowsiness.
  • Dizziness and light-headedness, especially during the first couple of weeks of treatment.
  • Swelling of the hands and feet.
  • Rash.
  • Nausea.

Side effects are less likely when the dose is gradually increased and when medicine is taken with meals or at bedtime.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on antiseizure medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people who take antiseizure medicine should be watched closely for warning signs of suicide. People who take antiseizure medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a doctor.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Use of gabapentin for hot flashes is an off-label use.

The long-term risks or benefits of gabapentin are unknown.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Pandya KJ, et al. (2005). Gabapentin for hot flashes in 420 women with breast cancer: A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Lancet, 366(9488): 818–824.
  2. Reddy SY, et al. (2006). Gabapentin, estrogen, and placebo for treating hot flushes. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 108(1): 41–48.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carla J. Herman, MD, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised June 30, 2010

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