Gabapentin successfully manages chronic unexplained irritability in children with severe neurologic impairment

Pediatrics. 2007 Feb;119(2):e519-22. doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-1609.


Neurologically impaired children have an increased frequency of recurrent pain and irritability that persist in some despite comprehensive evaluation and management of possible pain sources. We hypothesized that visceral hyperalgesia was a source of chronic unexplained irritability and report the outcome of gabapentin treatment in 9 severely neurologically impaired children. Caregivers reported marked improvement after treatment ranging from 3 months to 3 years. Nystagmus in 1 child was the only noted adverse effect. Visceral hyperalgesia may be a source of unexplained irritability in the neurologically impaired child. Symptoms may improve with gabapentin treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amines / therapeutic use*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Gabapentin
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Irritable Mood / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Amines
  • Analgesics
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Gabapentin