Gabapentin (Neurontin)

Gabapentin (Neurontin) was developed as an anti-epilepsy drug, but is now more commonly used to treat pain, particularly pain due to nerve damage (neuropathy). It is similar in structure to the brain transmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) but its mode of action is unclear. It is manufactured by Parke-Davis, a subsidiary of Pfizer.

Gabapentin is sometimes prescribed as a mood stabiliser for patients with bipolar disorder, although its effectiveness for this condition is uncertain. It may also be effective in treating anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, Pfizer has been criticised for marketing the drug for these disorders, even though it is not approved for these uses.

A double-blind randomised controlled trial has shown that gabapentin is effective in reducing the pain and sleep disturbances caused by HIV-associated neuropathy. After four weeks of treatment, patients taking gabapentin had lower pain levels than patients taking placebo.1

Gabapentin has few side-effects, although it can cause dizziness, drowsiness and swelling of the hands and feet. In children, it can cause mood disturbances, concentration problems and hyperactivity.

Gabapentin does not interact with any currently available protease inhibitors or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs).


  1. Hahn K et al. A placebo-controlled trial of gabapentin for painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathies. J Neurol 251: 1260-1266, 2004

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.