Gabitril Warnings and Precautions
Before starting a new drug, it's a good idea to become familiar with its warnings and precautions. With Gabitril, these include being aware of possible side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy risks. Warnings and precautions with Gabitril also extend to people who are allergic to Gabitril, tiagabine hydrochloride, or any inactive components used to make Gabitril.
Gabitril: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Gabitril® (tiagabine hydrochloride) if you:
- Do not have seizures or epilepsy
- Have liver disease, including liver failure, hepatitis, or cirrhosis
- Have any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Gabitril Warnings and PrecautionsWarnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Gabitril include the following:
- The medication is approved only to treat partial seizures in people with epilepsy. If you do not have seizures or epilepsy, taking Gabitril can actually increase your risk of having seizures. If you are taking Gabitril "off-label" for an unapproved use (such as for treating anxiety or bipolar disorder), tell your healthcare provider right away if you have a seizure.
- As with all seizure medications, Gabitril should not be stopped suddenly (see Gabitril Withdrawal).
- Gabitril can cause concentration problems, speech problems, drowsiness, and problems with coordination. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you develop any of these Gabitril side effects. Also, make sure that you know how the medication affects you before driving or operating any machinery.
- It is possible that Gabitril may increase the risk of status epilepticus (a dangerous seizure that lasts a very long time, often more than 30 minutes). If you have a seizure that lasts longer than usual (or is different in any way from your usual seizures), seek immediate medical attention.
- About 1 percent of people taking Gabitril report experiencing extreme weakness. This usually goes away once the medication is stopped.
- In dogs, Gabitril binds to tissues in the eye, suggesting that it may cause eye problems. It is not known if this is also true for humans. Tell your healthcare provider if you notice any eye or vision problems that are possibly due to Gabitril.
- The liver helps remove Gabitril from your body. If you have liver disease, your healthcare provider may suggest a lower Gabitril dosage.
- The recommended Gabitril dose depends on which other seizure medications you are taking. Make sure your healthcare provider knows about all the medications you are taking, and be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you stop or start any medication, especially seizure medications.
- In rare cases, the medication has been reported to cause dangerous skin rashes (which can lead to loss of large sections of skin). While most rashes due to Gabitril are not dangerous, be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you notice any unexplained rash.
- Gabitril can interact with other medications (see Gabitril Drug Interactions).
- Gabitril is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for pregnant women. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug while pregnant (see Gabitril and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if Gabitril passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Gabitril and Breastfeeding).
Early evidence suggests that seizure medications, including Gabitril, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors (see Seizure Medications and Suicide for more information).