Gabapentin was developed as an anticonvulsant, but has also been used to alleviate hyperalgesia in neuropathic pain. In this study, the protective effect of gabapentin against N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-induced excitotoxicity in rat hippocampal CA1 neurons was investigated. Pre-treatment with gabapentin reduced the degree of neuronal damage induced by NMDA exposure in cultured hippocampal slices. Patch-clamp studies revealed that gabapentin significantly inhibited the NMDA receptor–activated ion current in dissociated hippocampal CA1 neurons, resulting in suppression of glutamate-induced neuronal injury. These results show that gabapentin may exert protective effects against glutamate-induced neuronal injury at least in part by inhibiting the NMDA receptor–activated ion current.