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Gabapentin for Hot Flashes

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
gabapentin Neurontin

How It Works

Gabapentin is an antiseizure (anticonvulsive) medicine that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 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

Side Effects

Side effects from gabapentin include:

  • Fatigue or drowsiness.
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness, 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. Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Postmenopausal hormone therapy. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th ed., pp. 749–857. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised April 26, 2012

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