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Neuropharmacology. 2001;40(1):139-47.

Anticonvulsant action and long-term effects of gabapentin in the immature brain.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The anticonvulsant action and the long-term effects on learning, memory and behavior of the new generation antiepileptic drug gabapentin (GBP) were investigated in immature animals. Kainic acid (KA) was administered to rats on postnatal day (P) 35. Animals were treated with GBP or saline from P36 to P75 and spontaneous seizure frequency was monitored. After tapering the drug, the rats were tested in the water maze and open field test. Brains were then analyzed for histological lesions. Animals treated with GBP following KA-induced status epilepticus had a reduced incidence of spontaneous recurrent seizures, a better pathology score, and less aggressiveness compared to saline-treated controls. Effectiveness of GBP on seizure threshold was tested using flurothyl inhalation in 10 separate age groups of animals ranging from the newborn period to adulthood. Furthermore, GBP plasma concentration peaks were determined in all age groups. At all ages, GBP pre-treated animals demonstrated a higher seizure threshold. Plasma GBP concentrations did not significantly change with age. These data suggest that acute administration of a single therapeutic dose of GBP increases the seizure threshold at all ages studied, while chronic treatment following the status reduces spontaneous seizure frequency and cell damage and has no long-term adverse consequences on cognitive processes during development.

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