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Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA) analog
Dogs, cats and horses (foals)
May Be Prescribed by Veterinarians for:
Idiopathic epilepsy, pain management, seizures due to neonatal hypoxia.
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Gabapentin is a structural analogue of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. The mechanism of action of gabapentin is not well understood, although it does not affect GABA binding or reuptake, or behave as a GABA agonist. Gabapentin is used in human medicine to treat seizures and many types of pain, including neuropathic pain, diabetic neuropathy, malignant pain, central pain, complex regional pain, and trigeminal neuralgia.
Gabapentin is used in both dogs and cats to treat chronic pain, particularly of neuropathic origin. It appears to be most effective when combined with other types of analgesic agents, for example NSAIDs, permitting the use of lower doses. It has been shown to be effective at reducing hyperalgesia and allodynia associated with neuropathic pain. It also is used in chronic arthritic pain and pain associated with malignancy.
Gabapentin is used as an adjunctive therapy for dogs and cats with refractory idiopathic epilepsy. There are conflicting clinical reports regarding its efficacy when used for this purpose, although some studies report improvement in as many as 50% of dogs studied.
In dogs, oral gabapentin is well absorbed in the duodenum, with peak levels occurring approximately one to two hours after administration. It is partially metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Gabapentin has a short half-life of between two to four hours. No pharmacokinetic information regarding uptake and metabolism was found for cats.
Gabapentin may be used to control seizures in foals suffering from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
The most-common side effects are mild sedation and ataxia.
Overdose would likely cause increased severity of side effects including lethargy, somnolence, depression, and ataxia. If recognized promptly, gut-emptying protocols including emesis, activated charcoal and cathartics may be helpful.
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.