|Type of medicine||Anti-epileptic|
|Used for||Focal seizures in adults or children over 12 years of age|
If you have epilepsy, it means that you have had repeated seizures. A seizure is a short episode of symptoms caused by a burst of abnormal electrical activity in your brain. Different parts of the brain control different parts and functions of your body. Therefore, the symptoms that occur during a seizure depend on where the abnormal burst of electrical activity occurs. Symptoms that may occur during a seizure can affect your muscles, sensations, behaviour, emotions, consciousness, or a combination of these. With a focal (sometimes called 'partial') seizure, the burst of electrical activity stays in one part of the brain. Therefore, you tend to have localised or 'focal' symptoms.
Tiagabine works by increasing the amount of a chemical in the brain, called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This stabilises the electrical activity in your brain, which prevents the seizures from occurring. It is taken alongside other anti-epileptic medicines when these are not effective enough on their own.
Before taking tiagabine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking tiagabine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you have porphyria (a rare inherited blood disorder).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take tiagabine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the brand of tiagabine you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- Take tiagabine exactly as your doctor has told you. The dose of tiagabine varies from one person to another depending on other medicines also being taken, so follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Your dose will also be on the label of your pack. You need to take tiagabine regularly every day.
- When you first start taking tiagabine, your doctor will give you a small dose and then gradually increase your dose. This allows your doctor to make sure that you have the dose that helps your condition and avoids any unwanted symptoms.
- Take tiagabine tablets with a meal.
- Try to take your doses of tiagabine at the same times each day. This will help you to avoid missing any.
- If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- When you first start a new treatment for epilepsy there may be a change in the number or type of seizures you experience. Your doctor will advise you about this.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. This is because some medicines and herbal remedies (such as St John's wort) should not be taken with tiagabine.
- While you are taking tiagabine, there is a small risk that you may develop mood changes or distressing feelings, and thoughts about suicide. If this happens, you must tell your doctor straightaway.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking tiagabine.
- Do not stop taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you to do so. Stopping tiagabine suddenly may cause problems and your doctor may want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
- People with epilepsy must stop driving at first. Your doctor will advise you about when it may be possible for you to resume driving again. This will usually be after a year free of seizures.
- If you are a woman and want to have a family, make sure you discuss this with your doctor well in advance of becoming pregnant. This is so that you can be given advice from a specialist before you become pregnant. If you become pregnant while you are taking tiagabine, you must tell your doctor straightaway.
Can tiagabine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common tiagabine side-effects - these affect around 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich and spicy food|
|Feeling dizzy, tired, or sleepy
|If any of these happen, do not drive or use tools or machines. If the blurred vision continues, let your doctor know as you may need to have an eye assessment|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to repalce lost fluids|
|Feeling shaky or unsteady, feeling nervous or confused, lack of concentration, mood changes, difficulties sleeping, and muscle twitches||If any of these become troublesome, let your doctor know|
Important: if you experience any of the following less common symptoms, contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- A severe blistering rash.
- Any unusual bruising.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store tiagabine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light. Keep the tablets in their original bottle until you are ready to take them. This is because they absorb moisture from the air and there is a drying agent in the bottle to prevent this.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Gabitril 5 mg, Gabitril® 10 mg, Gabitril® 15 mg film-coated tablets,; Manufacturer's PIL, Gabitril 5 mg, Gabitril® 10 mg, Gabitril® 15 mg film-coated tablets, Cephalon (UK) Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr John Cox|
|Last Checked: 14/03/2012||Document ID: 3895 Version: 24||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.