Side effects and benefits of Gabapentin

Posted by spondi65 @spondi64, Jan 6, 2020

My Dr prescribed Gabapentin 300mg caps last Friday. I took one at bedtime & woke up at 3:30a.m. in horrible pain. Has anyone else experenced anything like this?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Chronic Pain group.

Hi all, I've modified the title of this discussion to "Side effects and benefits of Gabapentin." While many of you have had really difficult reactions and side effects to the drug (thanks for sharing), I have read elsewhere on the forum that this drug works well for some people.

For those of you who had poor experiences with gabapentin, did you switch to another medication that worked? Did a different dosage or taking at a different time of day help, or taking extended-release vs immediate release?

Despite the drug's potentially serious side effects, some people depend on this drug to control seizures and manage pain successfully. I'd like to hear from people who have had success with this drug as well. Anyone? How has it helped you? What form of the drug works for you?

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@colleenyoung

Hi all, I've modified the title of this discussion to "Side effects and benefits of Gabapentin." While many of you have had really difficult reactions and side effects to the drug (thanks for sharing), I have read elsewhere on the forum that this drug works well for some people.

For those of you who had poor experiences with gabapentin, did you switch to another medication that worked? Did a different dosage or taking at a different time of day help, or taking extended-release vs immediate release?

Despite the drug's potentially serious side effects, some people depend on this drug to control seizures and manage pain successfully. I'd like to hear from people who have had success with this drug as well. Anyone? How has it helped you? What form of the drug works for you?

Jump to this post

Good luck finding a lot of positive stories about treating pain with this drug. You'll find a lot more concerning siezure control. What needs to understood is that this drug has not been subjected to rigorous and repeatable testing as a pain med. We need to understand the implications of "off label uses", of medications. Once a drug is approved for one use it has shown ethicasy for only that one use and it has been found to be safe enough for human consumption. After that Doctors can prescribe it for any thing they want and this is usually done based on anecdotal evidence alone. There has been some research on gabapentin for pain management
That research is referred to as "medium quality" and "limited". It is most useful for the nerve pain caused by herpes, shingles and diabetes. It showed poor results for lower back pain. In the other cases it was successful for in one example for 3 out of 10 subjects. In the same study, 2 of 10 got similar results from a placebo. In another case, 5 of 10 got relief from gabapentin while 3 of 10 got relief from a placebo. For a drug that comes with a "black box" warning and is rising in terms of abuse, those numbers are not very good. The first time I took the drug was to treat nerve pain and it was absolutely useless. Several years later, it was prescribed for me again to treat severe neuropathy which was caused by receiving very large doses of chemotherapy. It was all so useless in that case. That time I was given Lyrica which at the time was extremely expensive. I was told that it was a greatly improved form of Gabapentin. My experience would indicate otherwise. I recall a physician telling me that, ("There are no new drugs, only new names").

Gabapentin and Lyrica are not a satisfactory replacement for narcotics which are still the best way to treat most kinds of pain, especially back pain, post-surgical pain, and pain caused by cancer. Being a cancer patient, which I am , and being a drug addict, which I am not and have never been are jvm two entirely different things. To have the treatment recommended for the latter inform the best practices for treating the former is an inhumane, bastardization of medical ethics as well as a windfall for the manufacturers of gabapentin and Lyrica.

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@artscaping

@donfeld, Good afternoon. The sun just came out…….finally. I really feel that we might have a basket of apples and oranges here. We have an agreement that medical cannabis or marijuana can be very helpful for Small Fiber Neuropathy and one might assume the idiopathic diagnosis. We don't all agree on the distribution method. So without going to Leafy, I am going to reprint what I was taught. (By the way, I subscribe to "Leafy" and follow their lead in my research efforts.).

For immediate response to intense pain use a vape pen and a cartridge of a hybrid or other strain/formula you prefer. Within 10-15 minutes, the pain will begin to move to the background. However, it only lasts about 20-30 minutes. That is where I started. I no longer vape.

Then I graduated to tinctures, starting with 3:1 CBD/THC held under the tongue for just a few seconds or so. At first, 25 mcg, on up to a dropper plus 50 mcg. That lasts 3-4 hours or until you wake up in the morning after a bedtime dose. About a year ago, I upped the tincture ante to 2:1 CBD/THC in the morning before my yoga and mindfulness practice. That was done in concert with a taper off of nortryptyline. Recently I have progressed to 1:1 CBD/THC and have begun to reduce my nightly gabapentin.

At each step, I used medical cannabis to change the dosages of or eliminate medication which for me had too many side effects.

Just yesterday…….I moved over to a 1:3 CBD/THC. Called THC (rich)…..so far so good. Again I started with the minimal .25mcg and will increase slowly. Only after this dosage is up and running will I begin the taper from anti-anxiety medication. Shoot….I am anxious just writing this reply.

So…… careful watching….digestive system, dry eyes, head zaps, etc. etc. We all have to be our own prescribers.

May you be content and at ease today.
Chris

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I can no longer use marijuana or any of its derivatives because I only have one lung and I have COPD in that one. However in the years which I did use dope I don't think it did anything for my pain but it was great relief from reality.

REPLY
@wsh66

Good luck finding a lot of positive stories about treating pain with this drug. You'll find a lot more concerning siezure control. What needs to understood is that this drug has not been subjected to rigorous and repeatable testing as a pain med. We need to understand the implications of "off label uses", of medications. Once a drug is approved for one use it has shown ethicasy for only that one use and it has been found to be safe enough for human consumption. After that Doctors can prescribe it for any thing they want and this is usually done based on anecdotal evidence alone. There has been some research on gabapentin for pain management
That research is referred to as "medium quality" and "limited". It is most useful for the nerve pain caused by herpes, shingles and diabetes. It showed poor results for lower back pain. In the other cases it was successful for in one example for 3 out of 10 subjects. In the same study, 2 of 10 got similar results from a placebo. In another case, 5 of 10 got relief from gabapentin while 3 of 10 got relief from a placebo. For a drug that comes with a "black box" warning and is rising in terms of abuse, those numbers are not very good. The first time I took the drug was to treat nerve pain and it was absolutely useless. Several years later, it was prescribed for me again to treat severe neuropathy which was caused by receiving very large doses of chemotherapy. It was all so useless in that case. That time I was given Lyrica which at the time was extremely expensive. I was told that it was a greatly improved form of Gabapentin. My experience would indicate otherwise. I recall a physician telling me that, ("There are no new drugs, only new names").

Gabapentin and Lyrica are not a satisfactory replacement for narcotics which are still the best way to treat most kinds of pain, especially back pain, post-surgical pain, and pain caused by cancer. Being a cancer patient, which I am , and being a drug addict, which I am not and have never been are jvm two entirely different things. To have the treatment recommended for the latter inform the best practices for treating the former is an inhumane, bastardization of medical ethics as well as a windfall for the manufacturers of gabapentin and Lyrica.

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I was given the drug gabapentin many years ago for severe nerve pain. I think I made it to the third day and quit. I felt like I wasn’t even in my body, couldn’t think logically or function safely IMO – quit it. I was working as a nurse and it scared me!

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@wsh66

I can no longer use marijuana or any of its derivatives because I only have one lung and I have COPD in that one. However in the years which I did use dope I don't think it did anything for my pain but it was great relief from reality.

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No because at that time you didn't have the pain you're having now. It does help pain in the middle of the night and when I wake up in pain and I can't sleep I take tube tops if it's good stuff and it calmed down and I fall asleep. That helps with pain!

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@wisco50

I was given the drug gabapentin many years ago for severe nerve pain. I think I made it to the third day and quit. I felt like I wasn’t even in my body, couldn’t think logically or function safely IMO – quit it. I was working as a nurse and it scared me!

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@wisco50 That what I did when Dr put me on Cymbalta ONe pill and that was it for me as my mind was affected with one pill . Im retired but would have too if I was working .

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@lioness

@wisco50 That what I did when Dr put me on Cymbalta ONe pill and that was it for me as my mind was affected with one pill . Im retired but would have too if I was working .

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As individual humans we all have different reactions to medications. Ironically, I take Cymbalta/duloxetine – went on it for severe depression during a years long severe pain situation. Went off it when I got that problem resolved and THEN realized it was really helping more than I realized with my neck and back pain. This was around the same time it became approved for musculoskeletal pain.

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Stephen wsh66: Are you a neurologist? Peggy

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@colleenyoung

Hi all, I've modified the title of this discussion to "Side effects and benefits of Gabapentin." While many of you have had really difficult reactions and side effects to the drug (thanks for sharing), I have read elsewhere on the forum that this drug works well for some people.

For those of you who had poor experiences with gabapentin, did you switch to another medication that worked? Did a different dosage or taking at a different time of day help, or taking extended-release vs immediate release?

Despite the drug's potentially serious side effects, some people depend on this drug to control seizures and manage pain successfully. I'd like to hear from people who have had success with this drug as well. Anyone? How has it helped you? What form of the drug works for you?

Jump to this post

Thank you, Ms. Young, for changing the title.

REPLY

My neurologist explained to me that: My nervous system's job is to radiate pain when my body is being damaged, to alert me so that I can take actions to stop the damage. My nervous system performed well for 60 + years but now, it's old, it's dying and it's not working so well any more. It dies at the small tip ends first, then death works its way up the larger trunk lines. So … when my feet feel like they're being burned up in a bonfire but there's no fire anywhere around, my nervous system is sputtering, misfiring, and sending false messages. Lyrica/Gabapentin calms the nervous system so it settles down and stops sending out false messages. Lyrica/Gaba aren't pain killers, they won't kill any pain anywhere like pain killers do, nor do they cure neuropathy (there's no cure for dying). As it dies further up and I feel pain (it may be false messages but the pain is real), and it gets higher and more intense, I need more Lyrica/Gaba, and some day these won't be enough, but if I take more than is recommended, the medicine will stop my heart. Then we go to narcotics just to kill the pain. Researchers are looking for alternatives to narcotics but at this time, there is nothing adequate.

I asked my neurologist about amputating the toes … she said that my nervous system would start dying in my feet and ankles and moving upward. I planned to ask her about the possibility of a 'nervous system transplant' at my next appointment, but, I looked at my Human Anatomy text book from college – the nervous system looks similar to the vascular system, it runs all over the body. If surgeons tried to replace the misfiring nerves with good ones, every inch of my body would have incisions and stitches internally and externally – I would probably die from that. I asked my pain doctor if suicide rates are very high among people who have neuropathy … he said "yes, very high".

So, I got my affairs in order and moved to the beach. Life is so much easier! Now I understand what is meant by "don't sweat the small stuff". I gave up having 'axes to grind', I gave up trying to save the world. I'm enjoying simple pleasures like running on the beach, playing cribbage with my husband; having girlfriends over for bumper-pool and indoor croquet, and sending out for pizza.

I do get concerned about getting the medicine because it's harder and harder since politicians put it on the 'controlled substance' list because they think it has 'the potential for abuse'. Peggy

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Finally found a pharmacist who confided in me how Lyrica and Gabapentin are being misused. Apparently when mixed with Heroin they can intensify the high and make it last longer. Think about this hey, if you're a doctor and you have a patient who's a heroin addict you're just don't give him Neurontin or Lyrica. Fortunately in the over 60 set there aren't many heroin addicts left at that point in life. But that won't stop them from making you show your license in many states when you pick up your Lyrica. Don't amputate your toes. Please don't do that, love and blessings

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@pfbacon

Stephen wsh66: Are you a neurologist? Peggy

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No, not a neurologist. I am a visual artist and a musician. I am also a long time pain patient going back 30 years. I'm also a very curious guy and I like to know all I can about the medicines I take and the sciences that affect life, especially genetics. I have worked with people with developmental disabilities and I have a son with Down's Syndrome. People with developmental disabilities often times have an axis 2 diagnosis involving mental health. For everyone. before Genesight testing, many people spent years looking for the right psychotropic med to help them. They would start a new one and the doctor would tell them, "it'll take six weeks to four months before you know if this is going to work." When it didn't work they were told it would take a certain amount of time to get off that drug. Then they would have to go through the whole process again and realistically, it was simply a crapshoot. I went through this with my 34 year old son back when he was 12 and it became obvious he would need psychotropic meds. I went through it myself when I was visited with severe depression. You couldn't blame the doctors because what medication to take was really just a guess. They would base the decision on what had worked for others.

It's not that some of these drugs work and some don't. They all work when you are able to metabolize them. However, everyone is different in what they can metabolize or digest. I can eat beans with very little problem. My son eats the same beans and could clear a good-sized stadium with bad gas.

Some doctors still have the God complex and they don't want a cheek swab and someone outside their practice telling them what drugs they should give to their patients. These were the doctors who thought they had some insight about what drugs worked based on their experience. The truth is you can't know what drugs will work unless you know what a person can metabolize.

Genesight testing has made a world of difference for my son as well as for myself. Many doctors are too busy to take that 15 minutes to register with Genesight. My heart goes out to them. Our medical professionals have been working like rented mules even before covid-19. My own doctor wasn't registered for Genesight testing so I plugged my ZIP code in to the Genesight website I got the names of doctors close by who were registered with Genesight and found someone who was perfectly happy to test both my son and I and explain our results to us. I then took the report to my doctor and it made part of my permanent medical record.

This is doubly important for pain patients. Many people hate to admit that they're depressed and when they are told they might be depressed when they complain of pain they can be very resistant if they feel that their doctor is trying to put them off or not medicate them because they're blaming depression. It's very common for comorbidity between pain and depression meaning that they occur at the same time in the same person. We know that depression increases the intensity of our experience of pain so it is essential that we receive proper treatment when we need it. In addition not just any pain med will work the same way for everybody. I knew that morphine didn't work well for me. That was confirmed by my Genesight test results. Analgesics and psychotropics are 2 of the 3 classes of drugs that Genesight testing is good for. One day I think there will be gene testing for all classes of meds, especially chemo drugs.

Just out of curiosity, what made you ask if I was a neurologist?

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