View Full Version : Gabapentin - high liver enzymes?

6th July 2007, 03:36 PM
My Ruby, TedBear, has been on Gabapentin for 14 months. He's just had a
blood panel run as per Clare Rusbridge's recommendation, checking for
liver function.

The results have just come back and are worrying - very high for liver
enzymes. He is going back on Monday for a full elimination test, where
he will be fasted overnight, blood taken, given a meal and then further
blood taken 2 hours later. Hopefully this will give us a better idea of
what is happening.

Obviously he has to stay on Gabapentin - he is on a combination of
treatments including supplements and homoeopathy, but if any of these
are stopped then there is a very noticeable deterioration. Normally he
is actually very well, despite having a poor scan and multiple syrinxes.

Has anyone else had this result with Gabapentin please?

***have posted this in both general health and SM/MVD forum***

6th July 2007, 03:56 PM
Hi Nicki,
Sorry to hear this. Abbey goes in this fall for her blood panel. I'll have to mention this to our vet. Please keep us posted on what you learn next week. :xfngr:

6th July 2007, 04:03 PM
Thanks Jen - sorry didn't mean to worry you as well :(

I think though that I will be reminding everyone with a dog on Gabapentin to do annual checks...

I hope that Abbey is ok and that her results will be good - I'm sure this is prob uncommon - I haven't heard of it before.

6th July 2007, 05:32 PM
Oh no worries! I'm glad you've brought it up, it's good for people to be reminded!!

6th July 2007, 06:29 PM
I hope, TedBear's second round of tests next week are more encouraging. And thank you for the reminder. Since Spencer's on such a high dose (total of 400mg a day) I'm thinking of asking our vet to do this test in August.

I have to get a liver panel every 3 months due to some medication I'm on. Is the pup version just like the human- fasting for 12 hours before the blood test?

6th July 2007, 07:29 PM
Sorry to hear that you have to have liver panel tests Whitney :(

The first test was just a general blood panel, which checks for liver function too. The test on Monday is an elimination test, where they are fasted from the night before, blood is taken, the dog is given a meal and then further blood is taken two hours later.

TedBear isn't a good eater at the best of times - I tried to give him a meal at the vets yesterday but he wouldn't eat it :( {not even fresh chicken, his favourite} so I'm not sure what to take for him to eat really.

Dr Abramson {formerly from O S U now in Houston} is recommending 300mg 3x daily {Gabapentin} - which is a really high dose! Some dogs don't seem to tolerate that higher dose, one of mine was really sleepy just on 100mg 2x daily.

TedBear was on 100mg 3x daily from April 2006 until Oct 2006 - since then, he's been on 100mg 2x daily.

Is Spencer still on 300mg Cimetidine?

6th July 2007, 09:27 PM
Yes, still 300mg of that in combo with the gabapentin. Things seem okay though I am noticing more trembling in his front legs and a bit of weakness overall. :( Our next appointment with the neurologist isn't until November but I'm going to just keep watching him like a hawk for the rest of the summer and possibly move the appointment up if I still see the same symptoms.

Lucy's mum
6th July 2007, 11:44 PM
I hope Tedbear's results prove to be OK.

I have been on Gabapentin myself for over 7 years for nerve pain/allodynia and interestingly have never heard of any connection with it affecting the liver. I've never been offered any tests at all. It affects me brainwise, clouds my thinking, but the NHS being what it is I have not had any follow up since I have been on it. Is there a definite link with the liver being affected? I think sometimes we humans would do better with a vet than with some doctors I have known. I used to joke that if a vet had done my hysterectomy many moons ago I would have been up and running about in days not weeks!

All that aside, my best wishes for Tedbear. xx. It must be very worrying.

Added on later: Have just looked it up and found that the gabapentin is metabolised by the liver in dogs - unlike in humans where it is not - so my comparison has no real relevance. Sorry to confuse the issue.

7th July 2007, 06:44 PM
Thanks Annie for that info on why the liver would be involved. I never even knew a blood panel was recommended --need to to clarify that on the SM site and aso get Leo in as he's been on gabapentin about a year now I think. Sure hope TedBear improves -- it is really hard to see them going through any extra difficulty.

8th July 2007, 12:18 PM
I hope it all goes well Nicky - fingers crossed for you.

8th July 2007, 01:01 PM
Thanks for that Annie - I hadn't come across that and will tell my vets - it will prob have relevance on what we decide to do...

TedBear is definitely not 100% - he's showing more symptoms, but I'm thinking it's prob because if his liver isn't working properly, then he's not getting the full benefit of the Gabapentin.

I'm sorry to hear that you have to be on Gabapentin too - it sounds like it might be safer for people than dogs though!

I know what you mean about asking the vet to treat you...I have been tempted many times!!

Karlin, I'm not sure what made me read through that diagram again - but I'm so glad I did, at least it's brought it to everyone's attention and hopefully will mean that things can be picked up at an early stage if there are problems.

I'm going to E-mail Penny and see if she's heard of any problems...

Whitney, I'm so sorry that Spencer is having problems :( They are such a worry aren't they? I would be tempted to try to bring your appt forward.

There seems to still be so many different ideas as to drug levels - I guess it's all still experimental as it's early days yet...

9th July 2007, 06:09 AM
Haven't posted in a while but wanted folks to know about Trevor's experience. He's been on 100 mg Gabapentin 3Xday for more than 3 years now. He's had annual blood work/liver enzymes taken and all blood work has been normal to date.

Best, Roberta

10th July 2007, 09:47 AM
Thank you for that Roberta, it's very reassuring - I was hoping that TedBear was perhaps a one-off, and this may help others not to worry.

We hope that Trevor is keeping as well as possible :)

13th July 2007, 07:58 PM
Well we finally have TedBear's results - but they pose more questions than answers. The liver function test was normal...so we're somewhat confused.

His original liver enzyme test was off the scale - and his urine is
definitely discoloured - but according to the tests his liver is working
fine. He is definitely showing more Syringomyelia symptoms - is extremely
restless at night, not sleeping for more than 1 to 1 1/2 hours at a time,
until about 5am when he will settle for a few hours. He is scratching more - not just at times when he is excited - and just doesn't seem quite "right".

The vet has suggested that we monitor him for 2 weeks - I collected a new batch of Gabapentin yesterday so we will try him on that in case the
previous batch wasn't working properly.

Perhaps it's just coincidental timing, and his Syringomyelia is currently
worse for some reason?

Will keep you posted.

13th July 2007, 08:00 PM
FOOTNOTE - I e-mailed Penny Knowler, knowing that Clare Rusbridge is on maternity leave...Penny replied, and then Clare herself replied - I thought that was really lovely of her.

Clare hasn't come across liver problems from gabapentin - it is normally quite safe. However it is broken down by the liver which it means it gives the liver work to do.

So hopefully this will reassure others who's dogs are also on Gabapentin.