Clinical data
Trade namesGabitril
  • AU: B3
Routes of
Oral (tablets)
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein binding96%[1]
MetabolismHepatic (CYP450 system,[1] primarily CYP3A)[2]
Onset of actionTmax = 45 min[2]
Elimination half-life5–8 hours[3]
ExcretionFecal (63%) and renal (25%)[2]
  • (−)-(3R)-1-[4,4-bis(3-methyl-2-thienyl)-3-buten-1-yl]-3-piperidinecarboxylic acid
CAS Number
PubChem CID
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass375.55 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
  • O=C(O)[C@H]1CN(CCC1)CC/C=C(/c2sccc2C)c3sccc3C
  • InChI=1S/C20H25NO2S2/c1-14-7-11-24-18(14)17(19-15(2)8-12-25-19)6-4-10-21-9-3-5-16(13-21)20(22)23/h6-8,11-12,16H,3-5,9-10,13H2,1-2H3,(H,22,23)/t16-/m1/s1 checkY

Tiagabine (trade name Gabitril) is an anticonvulsant medication produced by Cephalon that is used in the treatment of epilepsy. The drug is also used off-label in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorder.

Medical uses

Tiagabine is approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an adjunctive treatment for partial seizures in individuals of age 12 and up. It may also be prescribed off-label by physicians to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorder as well as neuropathic pain (including fibromyalgia). For anxiety and neuropathic pain, tiagabine is used primarily to augment other treatments. Tiagabine may be used alongside selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or benzodiazepines for anxiety, or antidepressants, gabapentin, other anticonvulsants, or opioids for neuropathic pain.[4] It is effective as monotherapy and combination therapy with other antiepileptic drugs in the treatment of partial seizure.[5]

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine's 2017 clinical practice guidelines recommended against the use of tiagabine in the treatment of insomnia due to poor effectiveness and very low quality of evidence.[6]

Side effects

Side effects of tiagabine are dose related.[5] The most common side effect of tiagabine is dizziness.[7] Other side effects that have been observed with a rate of statistical significance relative to placebo include asthenia, somnolence, nervousness, memory impairment, tremor, headache, diarrhea, and depression.[7][8] Adverse effects such as confusion, aphasia (difficulty speaking clearly)/stuttering, and paresthesia (a tingling sensation in the body's extremities, particularly the hands and fingers) may occur at higher dosages of the drug (e.g., over 8 mg/day).[7] Tiagabine may induce seizures in those without epilepsy, particularly if they are taking another drug which lowers the seizure threshold.[4] There may be an increased risk of psychosis with tiagabine treatment, although data is mixed and inconclusive.[1][9] Tiagabine can also reportedly interfere with visual color perception.[1]



Tiagabine overdose can produce neurological symptoms such as lethargy, single or multiple seizures, status epilepticus, coma, confusion, agitation, tremors, dizziness, dystonias/abnormal posturing, and hallucinations, as well as respiratory depression, tachycardia, hypertension, and hypotension.[11] Overdose may be fatal especially if the victim presents with severe respiratory depression and/or unresponsiveness.[11]


Tiagabine increases the level of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, by blocking the GABA transporter 1 (GAT-1), and hence is classified as a GABA reuptake inhibitor (GRI).[3][12]


Tiagabine is primarily used as an anticonvulsant in the treatment of epilepsy as a supplement. Although the exact mechanism by which Tiagabine exerts its antiseizure effect is unknown, it is thought to be related to its ability to increase the activity of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), the central nervous system's major inhibitory neurotransmitter. Tiagabine attaches to the GABA uptake carrier's recognition sites. Tiagabine is thought to block GABA uptake into presynaptic neurons as a result of this action, allowing more GABA to be available for receptor binding on the surfaces of post-synaptic cells.[13]

Monitoring Parameters

Seizure frequency, liver function tests, suicidality[14]


Tiagabine was discovered at Novo Nordisk in Denmark in 1988 by a team of medicinal chemists and pharmacologists under the general direction of Claus Bræstrup.[15] The drug was co-developed with Abbott Laboratories, in a 40/60 cost sharing deal, with Abbott paying a premium for licensing the IP from the Danish company.[citation needed]

U.S. patents on tiagabine listed in the Orange Book expired in April 2016.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Thomas L. Lemke; David A. Williams (24 January 2012). Foye's Principles of Medicinal Chemistry. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 562–. ISBN 978-1-60913-345-0.
  2. ^ a b c "Gabitril (tiagabine hydrochloride) Tablets. U.S. Full Prescribing Information" (PDF). Cephalon, Inc. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b Brodie, Martin J. (1995). "Tiagabine Pharmacology in Profile". Epilepsia. 36 (s6): S7–S9. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1995.tb06015.x. ISSN 0013-9580. PMID 8595791. S2CID 27336198.
  4. ^ a b Stahl, S. Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology: Prescriber's Guide. Cambridge University Press: New York, NY. 2009. pp. 523-526
  5. ^ a b "Tiagabine", LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury, Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2012, PMID 31643697, retrieved 2021-12-24
  6. ^ Sateia MJ, Buysse DJ, Krystal AD, Neubauer DN, Heald JL (February 2017). "Clinical Practice Guideline for the Pharmacologic Treatment of Chronic Insomnia in Adults: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline". J Clin Sleep Med. 13 (2): 307–349. doi:10.5664/jcsm.6470. PMC 5263087. PMID 27998379.
  7. ^ a b c Leppik, Ilo E. (1995). "Tiagabine: The Safety Landscape". Epilepsia. 36 (s6): S10–S13. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1995.tb06009.x. ISSN 0013-9580. PMID 8595787. S2CID 24203401.
  8. ^ M.J. Eadie; F. Vajda (6 December 2012). Antiepileptic Drugs: Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 459–. ISBN 978-3-642-60072-2.
  9. ^ J. K. Aronson (2009). Meyler's Side Effects of Psychiatric Drugs. Elsevier. pp. 652–. ISBN 978-0-444-53266-4.
  10. ^ Pellock, John M. (2001-12-20). "Tiagabine (Gabitril) Experience in Children". Epilepsia. 42: 49–51. doi:10.1046/j.1528-1157.2001.042suppl.3049.x. ISSN 0013-9580. PMID 11520324. S2CID 23614412.
  11. ^ a b Spiller, Henry A.; Winter, Mark L.; Ryan, Mark; Krenzelok, Edward P.; Anderson, Debra L.; Thompson, Michael; Kumar, Suparna (2009). "Retrospective Evaluation of Tiagabine Overdose". Clinical Toxicology. 43 (7): 855–859. doi:10.1080/15563650500357529. ISSN 1556-3650. PMID 16440513. S2CID 25469390.
  12. ^ Pollack MH, Roy-Byrne PP, Van Ameringen M, Snyder H, Brown C, Ondrasik J, Rickels K (November 2005). "The selective GABA reuptake inhibitor tiagabine for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: results of a placebo-controlled study". The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 66 (11): 1401–8. doi:10.4088/JCP.v66n1109. PMID 16420077.
  13. ^ "Gabitril (tiagabine) dosing, indications, interactions, adverse effects, and more". reference.medscape.com. Retrieved 2021-12-24.
  14. ^ Adkins, J. C.; Noble, S. (March 1998). "Tiagabine. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties and therapeutic potential in the management of epilepsy". Drugs. 55 (3): 437–460. doi:10.2165/00003495-199855030-00013. ISSN 0012-6667. PMID 9530548.
  15. ^ Andersen KE, Braestrup C, Grønwald FC, Jørgensen AS, Nielsen EB, Sonnewald U, Sørensen PO, Suzdak PD, Knutsen LJ (1993). "The synthesis of novel GABA uptake inhibitors. 1. Elucidation of the structure-activity studies leading to the choice of (R)-1-[4,4-bis(3-methyl-2-thienyl)-3-butenyl]-3-piperidinecarboxylic acid (tiagabine) as an anticonvulsant drug candidate". J. Med. Chem. 36 (12): 1716–25. doi:10.1021/jm00064a005. PMID 8510100.
  16. ^ Orange Book index page. Accessed March 22, 2016