The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

Sleep disorders have been the subject of countless studies and other research. It is thanks to these studies that researchers discovered medications for sleep disorders. There are some medications that work well in treating sleep disorders even though that is not their intended use. One of these medications is Tiagabine.

What is Tiagabine?

Tiagabine was discovered in Denmark in 1988. The discovery was made by a team of medicinal chemists and pharmacologists at Novo Nordisk. This drug was co-developed with Abbot Laboratories. Tiagabine is a GABA reuptake inhibitor.

Tiagabine is an anticonvulsant. It received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for partial seizures for patients 12 years and older.

What are the other benefits of Tiagabine?

Doctors can also prescribe Tiagabine off-label. Off-label prescription is when a drug primarily intended for one condition gets legally prescribed for another condition. An example is a pain-reliever prescribed not for pain but as a sleep aid. There is an active ingredient in the drug that enables it to work on another medical condition.

In the case of Tiagabine, doctors prescribe it off-label as a treatment for anxiety disorders and panic disorder. Doctors also prescribe it as a treatment for neuropathic pain including fibromyalgia. When Tiagabine is prescribed for anxiety and neuropathic pain, it is often used in concert with other treatments. For anxiety, Tiagabine is often used together with benzodiazepines, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Whenever a doctor prescribes Tiagabine as an off-label  treatment for neuropathic pain, it is often prescribed together with antidepressants or gabapentin.

Is it true that I can use Tiagabine to treat sleep disorders?

Yes, Tiagabine is used to treat sleep disorders. A study showed that using Tiagabine for two consecutive nights significantly reduced waking after sleep onset. This makes Tiagabine useful for people who often awaken in the middle of the night. Some people have a hard time going back to sleep and Tiagabine can help them get a more continuous sleep. The same study also showed that Tiagabine increased the duration of deeper sleep stages in adults suffering from primary insomnia.

However, there is no indication that Tiagabine is helpful for those who suffer from sleep onset insomnia or those who experience difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night. This medication should only be used by those who have maintenance insomnia or people who wake up during the night and have difficulty returning to sleep. These two types of insomnia are completely different from each other and should never be confused. When speaking to your doctor, be sure to describe your symptoms clearly so that you can get the right treatment.

What precautions should I make before taking Tiagabine?

Before taking Tiagabine, you need to inform your doctor if you are allergic to it. You also need to tell your doctor about your other allergies. This medication may contain other inactive ingredients that you may be allergic to. Inactive ingredients are ingredients that don’t affect a medication’s efficacy. However, they are still important in maintaining the integrity of the medicine. Inactive ingredients include coatings or dyes.

You should also inform your doctor about your medical history. It is important that your doctor is aware if you have liver disease, mood disorders or seizures.

Tiagabine can cause you to feel dizzy or drowsy. This is the same effect of alcohol or marijuana to the human body. Tell your doctor if you are using marijuana. You should also limit your alcohol intake while taking Tiagabine. Because of the drowsiness associated with this medication, do not drive or operate machinery while taking Tiagabine. Your alertness may be compromised and you might end up injuring yourself or others.

Tiagabine may interact with orlistat. Orlistat is a medication used to help reduce weight. You need to disclose to your doctor that you are taking orlistat if Tiagabine is prescribed to you.

Will I experience side effects if I take Tiagabine?

Yes, you might experience side effects when you take Tiagabine. Side effects are symptoms felt by the body when taking a medication. It doesn’t mean that the medication is not working or it is making your situation worse. Also, you need to know that your doctor prescribed this medication because he or she has determined that the side effects are outweighed by the benefits that Tiagabine can provide.

Some of the common side effects of Tiagabine include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Nervousness

If any of these side effects last or if they worsen, tell your doctor immediately. Your doctor will most likely prescribe another medication that might not cause adverse effects. Some of the more serious side effects of Tiagabine include:

  • Weakness
  • Loss of concentration
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion

Unlike other sleep disorders like Restless Leg Syndrome or Sleep Apnea, insomnia has many types or forms. One of this is maintenance insomnia. When you have maintenance insomnia, you can fall asleep early in the night. However, if you awaken during the night, you will have a hard time returning to sleep.

It is a good thing that there are medications like Tiagabine. This is a medication that can help you get uninterrupted sleep. With the help of Tiagabine, you can finally get that good night’s sleep.

Additional Resources:

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Read our full medical disclaimer.

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