Precautions and Warnings With Tiagabine
To ensure a safe treatment process, it's important to be aware of several precautions and warnings with tiagabine. For example, if you do not have seizures or epilepsy, taking the drug can actually increase your risk of having seizures. Precautions and warnings with tiagabine also include being aware of possible side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy risks.
Tiagabine: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking tiagabine hydrochloride (Gabitril®) if you:
- Do not have seizures or epilepsy
- Have liver disease, including liver failure, hepatitis, or cirrhosis
- Have any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings With TiagabineWarnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking tiagabine include the following:
- The medication is approved only to treat partial seizures in people with epilepsy. If you do not have seizures or epilepsy, taking tiagabine can actually increase your risk of having seizures. If you are taking tiagabine "off-label" for an unapproved use (such as for treating anxiety or bipolar disorder), tell your healthcare provider right away if you have a seizure.
- As with all seizure medications, tiagabine should not be stopped suddenly (see Gabitril Withdrawal).
- The medication can cause concentration problems, speech problems, drowsiness, and problems with coordination. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you develop any of these tiagabine side effects. Also, make sure that you know how tiagabine affects you before driving or operating any machinery.
- It is possible that tiagabine may increase the risk of status epilepticus (a dangerous seizure that lasts a very long time, often more than 30 minutes). If you have a seizure that lasts longer than usual or is different in any way from your usual seizures, seek immediate medical attention.
- About 1 percent of people taking tiagabine report experiencing extreme weakness. This usually goes away once the medication is stopped.
- In dogs, tiagabine binds to tissues in the eye, suggesting that it may cause eye problems. It is not known if this is also true for humans. Tell your healthcare provider if you notice any eye or vision problems that are possibly due to tiagabine.
- The liver helps remove tiagabine from your body. If you have liver disease, your healthcare provider may suggest a lower tiagabine dosage.
- The recommended dose depends on which other seizure medications you are taking. Make sure your healthcare provider knows about all the medications you are taking, and be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you stop or start any medication, especially seizure medications.
- In rare cases, tiagabine has been reported to cause dangerous skin rashes (which can lead to loss of large sections of skin). While most rashes due to the drug are not dangerous, be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you notice any unexplained rash while you are taking it.
- Tiagabine can interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Tiagabine).
- Tiagabine is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for pregnant women. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug while pregnant (see Gabitril and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if tiagabine passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Gabitril and Breastfeeding).
Early evidence suggests that seizure medications, including tiagabine, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors (see Seizure Medications and Suicide for more information).