Neurontin, also known as Gabapentin, is indicated for the treatment of partial seizures (when symptoms are limited) in patients with epilepsy and for the relief of nerve pain after shingles. Neurontin, available by prescription only, comes in capsule form to be taken three times a day. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, Neurontin is made by Pfizer Inc.
Side effects of Neurontin use include, but may not be limited to, drowsiness, headache, dizziness, unwanted eye movements, anxiety and nausea.
In July 2003, NBC's Dateline ran a story accusing pharmaceutical company Warner-Lambert, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2000, of deliberately falsifying medical information about Neurontin so doctors would prescribe the drug for "off-label" uses (conditions not approved by the FDA). Although it is legal for physicians to prescribe medications for "off-label" uses, it is not legal for a drug company to promote unapproved uses or distort information about a medication's "off-label" benefits. In its year-long investigation, Dateline interviewed a former Warner-Lambert scientist who alleges company officials encouraged him to persuade physicians to prescribe Neurontin for a number of disorders, including attention deficit disorder and bipolar disease, even though there was minimal preliminary data indicating that Neurontin could help patients with those diseases.
In 1996, research for other purposes began appearing and there has been a quiet revolution of patients and doctors finding that Neurontin is helpful in illnesses other than epilepsy. Neurontin being prescribed for disorders other than epilepsy is called "off-label" use.
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