Thank you for reading's Health articles.

Neurontin: Cure or Con?

 article about Neurontin side effects
2004-03-21 03:22:08
The drug Neurontin was placed on the market 8 years ago. According to the information approved by the USFDA, it is to be used for only two uses: as an adjunct drug for the control of epilepsy and for the control of Postherpetic Neuralgia. That means it should only be promoted for use for the control of epilepsy if another drug is also being used to control epilepsy or to help control pain due to the herpes zoster skin rash. But that is far from what is happening.

But first, we should look at how good this drug is at doing what the FDA says it can be prescribed to do.  And first let me explain one thing about statistics.  There is a nice phrase that is often used in the world of statistics.  it is "statistically significant." If I throw a penny 10 times and get six heads and four tails, my results would be considered "statistically significant." I would expect to get 50 percent heads and 50 percent tails. But I got 60 percent heads and 40 percent tails. Not astounding in the long run, but "statistically significant." Now lets say that I throw that penny 100 times. I get 57 heads and 43 tails. I would expect another 50 percent heads and 50 percent tails, but I have gotten 57 percent heads and 43 percent tails. This would also be "statistically significant." What the term means is that the results are probably not random. After 100 throws of this coin, I would probably wonder what was going on with this penny. I would check it for flaws or uneven weighting throughout the coin. But, it would not be enough to put my money down on a bet based on the toss of this coin. The result is just not as random as one would expect.

Neurontin is prescribed for pain that remains after the healing of herpes zoster rashes. They call their results statistically significant. But the reality is that Neurontin only improves the level of pain for about 20 percent of patients over a placebo, and pain was being improved at best by an improvement of 50 percent. That means that if a person, from a scoring system from 0 to 10, said that their pain was at a 4 before treatment, about 20 percent would say that they had a pain level of 2 after treatment, the rest having no improvement at all.

Neurontin as a treatment for epilepsy can only be combined with another epilepsy drug, and then, only to control seizures that are not completely controlled by the other medication. According to the statistics, Neurontin reduced the number of seizures experienced by approximately 50 percent in about 15 percent more patients than did a placebo. That means, if we have 100 people taking Neurontin and 100 people taking a placebo, and each person has an average of six seizures a week, about eight of the people taking placebos will have three seizures and 18 people taking Neurontin will have only three seizures.

So, even the most simple of us can see from this explanation that regardless of the reason for the use of Neurontin, a rather small number of people are actually helped by taking the drug. And yet, it is being promoted by the manufacturer as a cure-all for everything from headaches and migraines to chronic pain of any kind. Occasionally, a person does find relief using Neurontin, and far be it from me to decry their success. But it is given out like candy at the urging of the manufacturer, who has advertised the drug extensively, paying prominent physicians to carry the message to their profession. So why should this be a big deal? Why should we care? If it doesnt work, just quit taking it, right? If it were only that easy.

Here is a list of the frequent side effects experienced by those taking Neurontin: asthenia, malaise, face edema, hypertension, anorexia, flatulence, gingivitis, bruises resulting from physical trauma, arthralgia, vertigo, hyperkinesia, parethesia, decreased or absent reflexes, increased reflexes, anxiety, hostility, pneumonia, abnormal vision, confusion, and depression. I know from personal experience that this drug can seriously compromise ones thought processes and cause serious problems, not only with physical side effects but also psychological effects. Another patient I know who took Neurontin became so hostile that he stopped using the drug and he was hospitalized to keep him safe until the drug wore off.

The doses being prescribed of this drug are huge - doses of up to 3200 mg are not uncommon. There is ongoing research to expand the use of this drug, and although most of the results are as unimpressive as what has previously been recorded, they are still touted as "statistically significant" Since most physicians have little understanding of either statistics or research, they are continuing to prescribe this very potent drug as a cure-all rather than trying to use different drugs with fewer, less dangerous side effects.

have your say

more in Health
Put The Spring Back In Your Step

Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling flat, like you have no energy? Something is off, you've rested all night, but you canít place your finger on it. Could your qi, or energy, be imbalanced? Qigong can help you balance and cultivate your qi (energy) to put that spring back in your step - naturally.

Nuts About Coconut Water

Did you know a coconut isn't a nut at all, but is a drupe? I know, that's what I said. What's a drupe?

Lose Fat and Gain Muscle with Minimal Effort

10 exercises to help you lose fat and gain muscle with minimal effort - my get fit guide! Everyone wants to be fit, in shape and look great. The best way to accomplish this is to diet and exercise; diet + exercise = dramatic results. Exercise can be broken into two components, aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (weight training).

Exercise to Release Sciatic Nerve Pain

For most people Sciatica and back pain can be improved with exercise and natural treament. Massages, heat/ice and active exercise are all effective. Read this post for more ways to release sciatic nerve pain.

E Coli

So what is E coli? Believe it or not it is a necessary evil in humans as it provides the vitamin K needed for good health. E coli is found in the large intestine and is also the most widely studied organism in biology.

Welcome to TheCheers! We've been around for a long time now, since 2004, publishing articles by people from all over the world. Roughly 300 people from 30 different countries have written for us over the years. Should you want to become a volunteer contributor, be sure to contact us!

Educational resources
Entertainment Blogs
get in touch

You can contact us via The Cheers Facebook page or The Cheers NEW Twitter account.