Neurontin as a Mood Stabilizer?
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Q:  Neurontin as a Mood Stabilizer?

I am on 3200mg. of Neurontin a day. I recently read an article that said Neurontin was not doing very well as a mood stablizer. Do you have any information on this ?

Thank you,

Dear Ms. J'
First principle: if someone's doing really well on something, with no side effects, and that something doesn't carry a lot of risk, then in my business there's not much reason to switch even if the research seems to indicate the medication "shouldn't" be working!   So, if you're doing well, you could ignore that kind of talk.  And, if you're not doing well, it may be time to look at alternatives that have demonstrated "mood stabilizer" efficacy: lithium, Depakote, carbamazepine now well substituted for by oxcarbazepine with less risk; lamotrigine, and probably topiramate; and probably Zyprexa but weight is a problem; and perhaps thyroid hormones, something we're just learning about.  

It is true that Neurontin is not only "not doing well as a mood stablilizer".  The studies that have been done clearly show it to be no better as a mood stabilizer than placebo (2 such, so far).  No placebo controlled trial shows it to be effective.  Yet it has helped a lot of folks, generally by acting like an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, in my view. 

Dr. Phelps

Published September, 2001



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