side effects, dosage, how to take & discontinue, uses, pros & cons, and more

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US brand name: Gabitril
Generic name: tiagabine

Class: Antieplieptic drug (AED)/ Anticonvulsant (AC)

1.  Gabitril’s Other brand names & branded generic names1

Gabatril (Mexico)

2.  FDA Approved Uses of Gabitril (tiagabine)

Adjunctive treatment (i.e. you must use another drug along with it) for types of partial epileptic seizures in adults and kids over 12.

3.  Off-Label Uses of Gabitril (tiagabine)

  • Monotherapy (used by itself) treatment of epilepsy that doesn’t respond to other meds.
  • PTSD.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (with or without comorbid depression, compared well with Paxil.
  • Cocaine abuse.
  • Impulse Control Disorder.
  • Neuropathy.
  • Bipolar Disorder - it’s typically a bust.

4.  Gabitril’s pros and cons

4.1  Pros

It might make you feel like you’ve had a margarita for breakfast, but apparently you can safely drink while taking it. It doesn’t have much in the way of drug-drug interactions (just a slight lowering plasma levels of the valproate medications (Depakene/Stavzor (valproic acid), Depakote (divalproex sodium), Depacon (valproate sodium)/whatever they call sodium valproate where you live). It also doesn’t mess with oral contraceptives. Like Neurontin (gabapentin) the side effect profile is generally low.

4.2  Cons

If the side effects do hit you this is a stupid pill that ranks up there with Topamax (topiramate) and Zonegran (zonisamide). Can work for a week or two for some off-label uses, then just quit on you.

5.  Gabitril’s Side Effects

5.1  Typical Side Effects of Gabitril (tiagabine)

The usual for anticonvulsants. Nausea, diarrhea and other tummy troubles, which are usually short term. Feeling drunk. There’s no other way to describe it, the first week on Gabitril (tiagabine) is like drinking good Scotch for breakfast. Eventually it wore down to a pleasant beer buzz, but when that wore off, so did all of its beneficial effects. An intense lethargy and sedation that’s proven to be short-term for the vast majority of people, but lingering lethargy and sedation may or may not stick around for you.

5.2  Not So Common Side Effects of Gabitril (tiagabine)

Gabitril (tiagabine) can make you stupid like you can’t imagine. Mouse forgot where we lived. I had to talk her home, street by street, from ten blocks away. Add that to the feeling drunk and you can see why “accidental injury” is in the PI sheet.

5.3  Gabitril’s Freaky Rare Side Effects

Loss of taste - it happened to me. Non-convulsive status epilepticus.

6.  Interesting Stuff Your Doctor Probably Won’t Tell You about Gabitril (tiagabine)

  • I seriously doubt that your doctor will tell you that, unlike most other anticonvulsants, it seems to be OK to mix booze and Gabitril (tiagabine). But who knows?
  • Gabitril (tiagabine) works better in the daytime than at night.

A diurnal effect on the pharmacokinetics of tiagabine was observed. Mean steady-state Cmin values were 40% lower in the evening than in the morning. Tiagabine steady-state AUC values were also found to be 15% lower following the evening tiagabine dose compared to the AUC following the morning dose. --Gabitril PI sheet

If you’re subject to nocturnal seizures (or if taking it off-label and whatever you’re treating gets worse at night, as some stuff does) discuss with your doctor adjusting your dosage schedule so you take a little more in the evening / at night than in the day.


7.  Gabitril’s Dosage and How to Take Gabitril (tiagabine)

The published dosage schedule was based upon patients taking an enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant such as Trileptal (oxcarbazepine), Tegretol (carbamazepine USP), Dilantin (phenytonin) or good old phenobarbital. If you’re not taking one of these meds Cephalon recommends “lower doses or a slower titration of tiagabine for clinical response.” Hey, how about both!

So instead of starting at 4mg and increasing by 4–8mg a week, you might consider starting at 2mg, and increasing by 2–4mg every two weeks to start.

Gabitril (tiagabine) should be taken with food. Divide the doses into 2–4 doses a day.

The maximum dosage is 56mg a day.

8.  How Long Gabitril Takes to Work

Like all anticonvulsants it works best once you reach the proper dosage. That’s usually in the range of 32–56mg a day. But you might be getting relief at lower dosages, especially for off-label uses.

9.  How to Stop Taking Gabitril (tiagabine)

Your doctor should be recommending that you reduce your dosage by 4mg a day every other day.

Cephalon is vague, like most drug companies, on how you should discontinue an anticonvulsant. They tested doing so over a four week period. From 56mg a day that would be stepping down 4mg a day every other day. Works for me!

Like any anticonvulsant, if you’ve been taking Gabitril (tiagabine) for more than a couple months and you’re up to or above 16mg a day (give or take, depending on other meds you might be taking) you just can’t stop cold turkey if you’re not at the therapeutic dosage for another anticonvulsant that you know works for you, otherwise you risk partial-complex, absence seizures or even tonic-clonic grand mals, despite your never having had a seizure disorder before! The risk is worse if you’re taking a lithium variant, and/or any antidepressant, especially Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride). Anyone with a history of a seizure disorder who needs to stop taking an anticonvulsant cold turkey needs to be discussing that with two neurologists and not getting your information from some stupid web site. Get off your computer and start making appointments!

10.  Gabitril’s Half-Life & Average Time to Clear Out of Your System

Half-life of 7–9 hours if you’re not taking an enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant such as Tegretol or Dilantin (phenytonin). Otherwise the half-life is 3–4.5 hours. So it’s out of your system in either 2 days or 1 day. Either way, it’s gone pretty quickly.

11.  Days for Gabitril to Reach a Steady State

Usually two to three days.

12.  Gabitril’s Shelf life

3 years.

13.  Comments

I used Gabitril off-label for anxiety. Like many people who added Gabitril to a cocktail of mood disorder meds I felt pleasantly drunk for about a week. Gabitril worked great for awhile, and I could put up with everything literally tasting like cardboard, until I got slammed by two side effects that were unacceptable. First was false memories. My memory is bad enough due to forgetting, I don’t need to be filling in the blanks with things that did not happen. That was quickly followed by immediate failure with rebound anxiety worse than when I was taking Paxil.

As Cynthia Heimel says, “Gabitril is a fucking tease.”

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14.  Gabitril Ratings, Reviews, & Other Sites of Interest

14.1  Rate Gabitril

Give your overall impression of Gabitril on a scale of 0 to 5.

Get all critical about Gabitril

2.5 stars Rating 2.4 out of 5 from 5 criticisms.
Vote Distribution: 1 – 1 – 1 – 0 – 1 – 1


14.2  Rate this article

If you’re still feeling judgmental as well as just mental2, please boost or destroy my self-confidence by honestly (and anonymously) rating this article on a scale of 0 to 5. The more value-judgments the better, even if you can criticize my work only once.

Get all judgmental about the Gabitril (tiagabine) Synopsis

4 stars Rates 4.0 out of 5 from 5 value judgments.
Vote Distribution: 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 3 – 1



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Pages and Forum Topics Google Thinks are Relevant to Your Mental Health

14.3  Full US PI sheet, Global SPCs & PILs, Other Consumer Review & Rating Sites, check for drug-drug interactions

Drugs.com’s drug-drug and drug-food interaction checker

It’s always a good idea to check for drug-drug interactions yourself. Just because most people in the crazy meds business know about really important interactions (e.g. MAOIs and a lot of stuff, warfarin and everything on the planet) doesn’t mean the person who prescribed your meds told you about them, or the pharmacist has all the meds you take at their fingertips like they’re supposed to. Or they have the time to do their jobs properly when not dealing with complete idiots or playing Angry Farmers on the Faecesbooks.



14.4  Discussion board

If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Gabitril discussion board.



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15.  References

  1. Gabitril (tiagabine) Full US Prescribing Information

PDR: Physicians’ Desk Reference 2010

Instant Psychopharmacology 2nd Edition Ronald J. Diamond MD © 2002. Published by W.W. Norton

Primer of Drug Action 12th edition by Robert M. Julien Ph.D, Claire D. Advokat, Joseph Comaty © 2011 Published by Worth Publishers

The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs Edward Drummond, MD © 2000. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Mosby’s Drug Consult 2007 (Generic Prescription Physician’s Reference Book Series) © 2007 An imprint of Elsevier.

1 The term "branded generic" has three meanings:
1) A generic drug produced by a generics manufacturer that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company that makes the branded version. E.g. Greenstone Pharmaceuticals makes gabapentin, and they are owned by Pfizer, who also own Parke-Davis, the makers of Neurontin.
2) A branded generic is also a generic drug given a 'brand' name by the manufacturer (e.g. Teva's Budeprion), but otherwise has the same active ingredient as the original branded version (Wellbutrin).
3) A branded generic is also a generic drug given a 'brand' name by the manufacturer (e.g. Sanofi-Aventis' Aplenzin, which is bupropion hydrobromide) and uses a salt of the active ingredient that is different from the original branded version and other generics (Wellbutrin, Budeprion and all the others are bupropion hydrochloride). We aren't sure if that really makes a difference or not. The FDA says they're the same thing. As usual, the data are contradictory, but most evidence indicates that the FDA is right and the differences are negligible.
For our purposes a "branded generic name" refers to the second and third definitions.

2 Thank you! I'll be here at least 72 hours. Be sure to tip your content provider. And don't try the veal, it's cruelicious!


If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Gabitril discussion board. We welcome criticisms of the articles, notifications of bad links, site problems, consumer experiences with medications, etc. I’m not always able to write back. Hence I never answer questions about meds via e-mail that are answered by this or other articles. Especially if they have been repeatedly asked on the forum. That’s why we write these damn things. Questions about which meds are best for your condition should also be asked on the forum; because this is a free site, so the price of admission is making things easier for somebody else searching for the same answer. We don’t deal with children on the forum or in private because after doing this for ten years I don’t have the emotional stamina to deal with kids who have brain cooties. How to contact Crazymeds. — Jerod Poore, CME, Publisher Crazymeds (crazymeds.us)


Last modified on Wednesday, 04 May, 2016 at 17:20:00 by JerodPoorePage Author Date created
“Gabitril (tiagabine): a Review for the Educated Consumer.” by Jerod Poore is copyright © Jerod Poore Published online 2011/04/25
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Gabitril, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are a trademark of someone else. Gabitril’s PI Sheet will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.




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All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
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All information on this site has been obtained from the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets and/or medication guides - which is all you get from sites like WebMD, RxList, NAMBLA NAMI, etc., the sources that are referenced throughout the site, our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, and what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or medication guide/patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
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Very little information about visitors to this site is collected or saved. From time to time I look at search terms used and which pages they bring up in an effort to make the information I present more relevant. And the country of origin, just because I’m geeky like that. That’s about it. Depending on how you feel about Schrodinger, our privacy policy should either assuage or exacerbate your paranoia.
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Crazymeds now uses a secure server, but it is not so secure that you can discuss anything having to do with nuclear power facilities, air traffic control systems, aircraft navigation systems, weapons control systems, or any other system requiring failsafe operation whose failure could lead to injury, death or environmental damage. Just so you know. So if you’re mentally interesting and have a job that deals with that sort of thing, talk about said job elsewhere. Otherwise feel free to discuss your meds and brain cooties.
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1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.

2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.

3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?* I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion as anonymity on teh Intergoogles. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.

* Yes, I know I’m using open source browsers. I also test the site using the now-defunct IE and Safari browsers. Their popularity - and superiority - killed IE and Safari, so that’s why I rely on the open source browsers. It’s like brand vs. generic meds. Sometimes the generic is better than the brand.

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