Gabapentin vs Side Effects

Posted by suzanne2 @suzanne2, Oct 29 7:05pm

It was suggested I start a new discussion on the medication Gabapentin. I have been on this medication for 2+ years for Fibromyalgia I don't feel this is of benefit to me for the prescribed pain but my doctor is not of the mind to taper me off. The issue of dizziness and brain fog which is a problem in Fibromyalgia and I feel is intensified by the medication. I don't think it is helping my daily pain but I would like other thoughts on this medication, side effects and long term use.

@suzanne2
Hi Suzanne, my wife was on gaba for about 2-3 months and got the brain fog, memory issues and severe dizziness, along with zero benefit to her PN pain. She decided to taper off and her doctor gave her the proper instructions to do so. No questions asked. So just wondering one thing: are you unsure if it is having or will have some benefit to you and that is why you are still on it? Or is you doctor just not cooperating in your wishes to taper off? Because if the latter were the case, that would be seriously inappropriate behavior by him/her. So that is my question.

BTW, just noticed you are from Michigan. We lived in Dexter for a while back in the early 80s. I enjoyed the west Ann Arbor area while there, living amongst the "townies" (as opposed to the U of M gang). Good people.

Sorry for the sidebar. Best, Hank

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I do not rely on Gabapentin 200 mg alone to control pain, I take 3 Advil tablets (can cause blood thinning), and if I still have pain 2 hours later I take Aleve or 3 tabs of Tylenol, I tried prednisone which really helped, but kept me awake for hours. Pray you find what best works for you.

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@jesfactsmon Hank I actually grew up just outside the village of Chelsea. Went to Jackson Community College then transferred to WMU and still live in the Kalamazoo area, in Richland! Small world.
Back to gabapentin, I want off but can't get my family doctor to do the tapering off. I am attempting to get an appointment with a new neurologist in Kalamazoo. Have had a bunch of test done and saw a neurologist at Mayo. I just was in contact with persons that be at Mayo and they are sending me detailed report of their findings and a CD with test results so I can hopefully get seen by someone here. Mayo has been great in their assistance. No problem there! Wish I could just continue at Mayo! I don't feel any help from it just the side effects which as a teacher I don't like at my job. It's like they don't think I know what I am talking about. I feel very frustrated!

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@suzanne2

@jesfactsmon Hank I actually grew up just outside the village of Chelsea. Went to Jackson Community College then transferred to WMU and still live in the Kalamazoo area, in Richland! Small world.
Back to gabapentin, I want off but can't get my family doctor to do the tapering off. I am attempting to get an appointment with a new neurologist in Kalamazoo. Have had a bunch of test done and saw a neurologist at Mayo. I just was in contact with persons that be at Mayo and they are sending me detailed report of their findings and a CD with test results so I can hopefully get seen by someone here. Mayo has been great in their assistance. No problem there! Wish I could just continue at Mayo! I don't feel any help from it just the side effects which as a teacher I don't like at my job. It's like they don't think I know what I am talking about. I feel very frustrated!

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@suzanne2
You can't get the doctor to help you taper off? That sounds completely backward to me. The doctor can suggest things but you are (or should be) the one with the last say. Also, by CD did you mean clinical diagnosis? (I'm trying to learn people's medical abbreviations). Hank

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CD is s disc with all radiology pictures on it. No he has not given me directions on how to taper off the meds. You have no idea on how opinionated this doctor is. He believes it is helping my pain and I would be much worse off not being on it.

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Hello @suzanne2 and @jesfactsmon: I'm also from SE Michigan, a small world!

@suzanne2 Have you considered being seen at the University of Michigan? I go there for several health issues and find them to be quite good. It's not as far as Mayo Clinic and you may find some help there in getting a med for pain that would not have the side effects of the Gabapentin.

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@oldsalt1947

I do not rely on Gabapentin 200 mg alone to control pain, I take 3 Advil tablets (can cause blood thinning), and if I still have pain 2 hours later I take Aleve or 3 tabs of Tylenol, I tried prednisone which really helped, but kept me awake for hours. Pray you find what best works for you.

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Hello @oldsalt1947,

If you don't mind sharing more, could you explain the type of pain you are experiencing? Yes, I agree that prednisone is great but it does cause sleep problems.

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@hopeful33250

Hello @suzanne2 and @jesfactsmon: I'm also from SE Michigan, a small world!

@suzanne2 Have you considered being seen at the University of Michigan? I go there for several health issues and find them to be quite good. It's not as far as Mayo Clinic and you may find some help there in getting a med for pain that would not have the side effects of the Gabapentin.

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@hopeful33250 Ironically I was referred to the U-M before I went to Mayo last November. I was seen at Mayo before they even got back to me with a phone call to set up an initial appointment. I grew up in Chelsea and my parents had taken me to specialist there.

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@suzanne2

CD is s disc with all radiology pictures on it. No he has not given me directions on how to taper off the meds. You have no idea on how opinionated this doctor is. He believes it is helping my pain and I would be much worse off not being on it.

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@suzanne2
Oh, that kind of CD. Got it.

You sound like you've got the wrong physician for certain. Please do yourself a favor and line up an appt. with a different one. Best, Hank

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What dose are you on? Titrating off of gabapentin isn't anything severe like tapering off of benzodiazepines or opioids; you simply shouldn't abruptly discontinue. I went to college for Pharm.D, however since I'm 'disabled' and not working I'm not currently licensed thus cannot legally counsel you, nor should you D/c your meds without your doctor knowing. I can provide you with a tapering schedule based on your dose, which you can bring to your MD and/or pharmacist to discuss. Doctors throw gabapentin at just about any symptom these days, and it's simply too sedating for some people. Medication from a doctor is a decision YOU AND your MD make; if you aren't receiving any benefit, but in fact having bothersome side effects, your doctor has no valid reason to keep you on it. You have the right to say "No, I do not want this medication'', a doctor cannot force a mentally competent adult to take any medication against their wishes. It's all part of "Informed Consent". I'm sorry it hasn't been helping, has been bothering you, and that your doctor isn't respecting your opinion about your health. It's a troublesome problem that so many MDs don't collaborate with their patients or take into consideration their concerns and preferences. Many forget that often you know your body best, and above all, it's your decision to accept or decline a doctor's medication suggestion. You can't make them write you a prescription for whatever you want, but they also can't force you to take an ineffective medication against your will. I hope I can help you with a titration schedule and recommendations on how to navigate the discussion with your MD. Last resort, you can discuss it with your pharmacist if the MD refuses without a valid reason, and report the MD. I have dedicated my adult life to the health and safety of patients and I will help you in any way I can! Hang in there and I hope you feel better! (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and you should continue to follow your MD's directions [with the exception of a case where you discuss this with your pharmacist, and said pharmacist gives you alternative advice/directions in order to taper off safely while your doctor is aware you are making such a change; disobeying an MD's instructions can result in termination of treatment, but your pharmacist can better guide you in case your MD is acting negligently and should be reported]). Note: I'm not trying to sound scary, just making sure you understand I am not an MD, cannot counsel, and thus avoid any liability… always discuss your meds with your MD and pharmacist before making any changes!

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@wolfbauer

What dose are you on? Titrating off of gabapentin isn't anything severe like tapering off of benzodiazepines or opioids; you simply shouldn't abruptly discontinue. I went to college for Pharm.D, however since I'm 'disabled' and not working I'm not currently licensed thus cannot legally counsel you, nor should you D/c your meds without your doctor knowing. I can provide you with a tapering schedule based on your dose, which you can bring to your MD and/or pharmacist to discuss. Doctors throw gabapentin at just about any symptom these days, and it's simply too sedating for some people. Medication from a doctor is a decision YOU AND your MD make; if you aren't receiving any benefit, but in fact having bothersome side effects, your doctor has no valid reason to keep you on it. You have the right to say "No, I do not want this medication'', a doctor cannot force a mentally competent adult to take any medication against their wishes. It's all part of "Informed Consent". I'm sorry it hasn't been helping, has been bothering you, and that your doctor isn't respecting your opinion about your health. It's a troublesome problem that so many MDs don't collaborate with their patients or take into consideration their concerns and preferences. Many forget that often you know your body best, and above all, it's your decision to accept or decline a doctor's medication suggestion. You can't make them write you a prescription for whatever you want, but they also can't force you to take an ineffective medication against your will. I hope I can help you with a titration schedule and recommendations on how to navigate the discussion with your MD. Last resort, you can discuss it with your pharmacist if the MD refuses without a valid reason, and report the MD. I have dedicated my adult life to the health and safety of patients and I will help you in any way I can! Hang in there and I hope you feel better! (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and you should continue to follow your MD's directions [with the exception of a case where you discuss this with your pharmacist, and said pharmacist gives you alternative advice/directions in order to taper off safely while your doctor is aware you are making such a change; disobeying an MD's instructions can result in termination of treatment, but your pharmacist can better guide you in case your MD is acting negligently and should be reported]). Note: I'm not trying to sound scary, just making sure you understand I am not an MD, cannot counsel, and thus avoid any liability… always discuss your meds with your MD and pharmacist before making any changes!

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Thanks for the advice. I do have valid concerns about the side effects. I hate feeling drowsy, my morning dose really hits hard. The dizziness is also a issue for me along with what I call brain fog. I am on 600mg 3x a day. To me that is a very high dose with no significant help for fibromyalgia pain.

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@suzanne2

CD is s disc with all radiology pictures on it. No he has not given me directions on how to taper off the meds. You have no idea on how opinionated this doctor is. He believes it is helping my pain and I would be much worse off not being on it.

Jump to this post

@suzanne2 As @wolfbauer mentioned, it's important to have a collaborative relationship with your provider but ultimately you have the decision to continue or discontinue a medication. Regardless of their opinion they should help you titrate or find an alternative treatment to the best of their ability. @wolfbauer also mentioned not titrating medication without a provider's guidance. However if your provider is not guiding you appropriately and you have already tried to advocate for yourself, please contact the office of patient experience. It's important that we are all kept accountable and this includes providers.

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@suzanne2

Thanks for the advice. I do have valid concerns about the side effects. I hate feeling drowsy, my morning dose really hits hard. The dizziness is also a issue for me along with what I call brain fog. I am on 600mg 3x a day. To me that is a very high dose with no significant help for fibromyalgia pain.

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then why take it? it's a anti seizer medication

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I finally had an appointment with neurologist office. I got no where as far as helping me get any pain relief but I did get them to tell me how to get off the gabapentin. I can drop 1 pill a week which means 9 weeks to get off the med totally. They were not happy doing so but I said I would do it myself anyway.

Liked by Hank

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Ask your pharmacist about getting off. I was only taking it for a week but he said one week is enough to get off.

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