Can Anti-Seizure Drug Neurontin Be Used as a Fibromyalgia Treatment?

While anti-seizure drugs such as gabapentin (trade names Neurontin, Horizant, Gralise, and Fanatrex) have not been approved by the FDA for use in treating fibromyalgia, some doctors are prescribing it for its pain-relieving properties.

MORE: Ten tips for managing joint stiffness in the morning

According to the Mayo Clinic, Neurontin along with Lyrica (pregabalin) can help with chronic pain by reducing the number of the chemicals released from nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain that are responsible for pain communication.

However, as with all medications, some people living with fibromyalgia may experience side effects from the drug, with drowsiness and dizziness being the most commonly reported side effects.

MORE: Six tips to prevent fibromyalgia flares.

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

32 comments

  1. Chris says:

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in April of this year and one of the major problems I was having was sleep deprivation. I knew I was waking up exhausted and tossing & turning from FM pain, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started on just 300mg of Gabapentin at bedtime. I was skeptical and didn’t want to take any medication. The list of side effects scared me, but it changed everything for me. Suddenly I was sleeping and waking up feeling refreshed. I described it to my doctor as a “miracle drug.” I still have Fibromyalgia and most of the pain and problems associated, but the neuropathy in my feet has decreased significantly and I’m sleeping now. Getting sleep makes a huge difference in my ability to cope. My doctor now wants me to increase all the way up to 1,600mg taken throughout the day and I’m not willing to do that because I sometimes feel weird on the Gabapentin, even at the low dose and depression is creeping in, which could be because of how Fibromyalgia has significantly altered my life and is robbing me of the enjoyment I found in an active lifestyle, or it could be because of the Gabapentin. IDK, but I’m not willing to suddenly take such a large dose. One thing I already noticed is that I’m already physically addicted to the 300mg. One night after only about two weeks on the medication, I decided I try to go without it and I woke up around 4am with cold sweats, nausea, dizziness, confusion. I took the Gabapentin and the symptoms went away after 30-45 minutes or so. My doctor doesn’t believe me that I could experience withdrawals with such a low dosage, but I know what my reality is and those were withdrawal symptoms. I don’t want to think what it would be like at high doses.

    Anyway, Gabapentin has made a difference for me for the better (for now). Time will tell if I still consider it a “miracle drug” months or years from now.

    • Betsy Jacobson (formerly Fibrobetsy) says:

      Chris, please remember when a doctor wants you to take more of a drug or doesn’t believe your withdrawal symptoms on a low dosage, that s/he has probably had a “working relationship” with the pharmaceutical and would benefit tremendously when you take more of that pharma’s drugs. This is a very serious and common behavior pattern between MD and Pharma, and we must all be aware of it.

    • Annique Boomsma says:

      I have had fibromyalgia for a long time, tried Lyrica for a while, but gained weight and felt depressed, even if it did help with the pain. Now I’m taking CBD drops before going to bed, I sleep better and have less pain, would highly recommend giving it a try before taking drugs that have all kinds of nasty side-effects

    • Sue Royster McCrory says:

      I also take 100mg of trazadone to sleep and also 1800 mg of neurotin a day and I sleep and able to work but I still have a problem of sleeping after working 6 days a week

      • Sue Royster McCrory says:

        But I take 600mg in the morning and 1200mg at night… I couldn’t function taking a dose in the middle of the day. This has been working great.I get my much needed rest.ive been diagnosed since Jan.2016.But had my 2nd diagnosis of Rocky mountain ricketous fever in 2 years.

    • Carol Spitzer says:

      I was on your run 17 years ago and it didn’t do anything then and for the last two years it was on Lyrica wow that’s stuff worked work. But due to the high cost of Lyrica for the last 2 years I’m back on your rotten which again does nothing I wish for people who run multiple medications and can’t afford it have some kind of a break from the manufacturer if that medication works for them although I found no loophole in getting cheap I take 26 pills a day I’ve had fibromyalgia for 18 years now and it ties into so many other things I have six specialists all I can say is hang in there I’m grateful everyday I can put my leg over the side of the bed I’m still alive God’s given me another day

  2. Karen says:

    I have been taking Gabapetin for several years. The high dose helps more with pain but caused a weight gain. I now take 1200 mg daily.

  3. Julie Shenk says:

    I was on Neurontin for a period of time but I was a zombie! I was only given a small amount, too. Nothing like the recommended dose for FM patients either. I started researching and found (even 13 years ago) that there were class action suits. I went off and never looked back.

  4. Em says:

    It did help w/ neuropathy. Total personality change and was doing things I did not even know about.

    Meds so far seem to mess w/ my mind in a negative way.

    I know people that are helped in a positive way.

    Don’t know if any others have had this difficulty. Most discouraging.

  5. Julie says:

    Any medication that I’ve ever taken over the years including Neurontin has always given me tons of side effects. One and most important side effect is my mentality! I would rather be coherent and not freaking out or other things mental wise then being drugged up!

  6. Denise Bault says:

    Wow. Looks like the author of this article must’ve been in a flare with a deadline when they wrote it. I was expecting to read more…not just a paragraph regurgitating what’s already in the title. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  7. Adryana says:

    I take 900mg of gabapentin a day. I tried a lower dosage (with the permission of my doctor) and I had more flares, more pain sensitivity, and in general more bad days than good days. Fatigue is and always has been my biggest problem and that hasn’t really changed by much (exercise does help as long as I don’t over do it) but I know a lot of people on gabapentin who have fibro and have great success. It does make me a little more spacey and ditzy (I lose words a lot) but the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives for me.

  8. I suffer from a lot of leg pain, really bad. I had been on gabapentin a long time and went off. I decided to go back on it and my leg pain dissipated. As for helping with sleep, I don’t think it makes me tired at all. I know if I am on it for a long period of time that I do have issues with short term memory loss.

  9. Gail Wilson Webb says:

    I was put on gabapentin by my pain doctor. Within a few weeks my ligaments loosened up so much that my bones felt like they were falling out of my joints. I quit it then and there.

  10. John Feenan says:

    I have been taking tramdol 50mg and gabapentin100mg three times a day…it helps a great deal with the pain but changes me as a person and makes me depressed….this is a horrible disease! I hope to God they can figure it out soon.

    • NYDIA MONTANEZ says:

      Same here. I stopped the neurotin stayed with tramadol but taking mild antidepressant. This illness is horrible…

    • Chris says:

      Amen (that they figure it out soon). I hate the way drugs can help with an illness but change your personality. That alone almost kept me from trying medication at all. I like feeling like me.

    • Terri says:

      I totally feel the and way John. I heard yesterday that a doctor in Hawaii has made a discovery that he feels will result in a cure. Does anyone know anything about this?

      • Eve says:

        no I have not heard of this Dr in Hawaii but please can you exalt His/Her name and the name of medicine.
        Thank you
        I’m a fibro sufferer for over 23 years

  11. Maryhelen Reyes says:

    Wow I too have been taken this drug . Decided I’d stop it for awhile . I’m in chronic pain without it . Not see what to do . I was hoping I’d find something that could take its place . Does give me headache and really drowsy in am . Ok my heart goes out to all of you . It’s been rough with this illness . Sometimes I wonder if I’m going to die. All I know is to live for the day and give yourself a lot of grace. Hope and healing too all of you . 🙏🏻❤️

  12. Georgia says:

    I have been taking gabapentin around 1000mg a day for over a year and the consultant and gp want to increase it . I did find when I started taking them a benefit although now I feel with the other medications I am dependant on like I have more issues to deal with I have put loads of weight on and I do feel like a zombie I am struggling with depression my fibromyalgia diagnosis has completely changed my life lost my job lost my independence I’m really not sure how to turn it around but I do feel that none of these medications are the answer or really work . Has anybody reading had any success with anything other than medications? I feel it’s time to try something else although I would have to deal with withdrawals now as well as pain I can honestly say I wish I had not started taking the gabapentin because they want me to increase them and I know it’s going to be hell getting off them and if they worked I would not have to increase them . Sorry rambling thumb x

  13. Sherri says:

    I couldn’t take it – was a zombie and could not think at all. I felt like I had the flu and spacey depressed. My mom was on it for years for neuropathy and was taken off by new doctor because he said it could cause dementia or make it worse.

  14. Sue Mapes says:

    I was on Neurontin for maybe 3 years and gained 40 pounds or more and so was put on Cymbalta did help with pain for a while but just weened myself off of it to many side effects

  15. M says:

    I am taking Gabapentin 300 mg 3 times a day. It has helped my pain but it didn’t make it go away completely. My pharmacist told me it is important to take this medication exactly as directed or I can experience some weird side effects. This is my third time using gabapentin for fibromyalgia. I asked to be taken off of it 2 other times because it didn’t help enough. The first 2 times I took it I got really dizzy at first. Not this time. I have found out that I can’t take opioids because of the side effects. So I am back on Gabapentin. I am frustrated with it because about an hour after taking a dose I am literally falling asleep sitting up. I have never been able to sleep that way. If I don’t force myself to get up and physically do things I can sleep for 2 hours. I’m still waking up several times at night so I’m not getting good sleep. Still I wouldn’t go back on opioids even though they were great for pain. They messed up my cognition very badly.

  16. Jean Schubert says:

    I’ve been on Gabapentin for 15 years for fibromyalgia. Started at 300 a day, then a year later 600, then after another 8 years 900 and now am on 1200. No side effects. Helps with horrible achiness. And I take Tylenol for flares.

  17. Tammy says:

    I have had fibromyalgia for 14 years now . Has been well managed with few flare ups with cymbalta. The last 2 years have been a roller coaster with mostly bad days with either horrible pain or fatigue so bad I am only able to stay awake for a few hours at a time. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea a few years ago so my sleeping is better at night. I am unable to take any pain meds with Tylenol or ibuprofen due to horrible stomach pains. I tried lyrica and found the only thing I got out of that was weight gain. I just started gabapentin low dose once a day. I’m afraid I am going to gain weight again but getting my pain and fatigue under control is the most important thing right now. Any one hear anything on IV ketamine.

  18. Xtrag says:

    I have you all ‘beat’!
    I have been on gabapentin 800mg 3x day for years, along with metaxalone (skelaxin)800mg 3x and hydrocodone (vicodin) 750 3x daily.
    And yet i drive, try to shop, cook and run a home while on all these meds.
    Pain from not only fm but sciatica, herniated discs, failed back surgery, migraines,deformed coccyx bone and osteoarthritis that makes bone spurs in joints.
    Have tried biofeedback, acupuncture, massage, quell band, tens, lyrica (no good for me, gave me shakes)etc..
    Am now trying cbd oil,the paste gave me headaches, the liquid giving me a slight break.
    Going to new neurologist to see if I am qualified for med marijuana at this point. Otherwise just going off a cliff.
    Too many years in pain and too many drugs and side effects.
    People unlike us have no idea what it is to live in pain daily.
    Wish us all the best in finding something that works.😊

  19. Carol says:

    I take a VERY low dose of gabapentin that the doctor said couldn’t possibly be helping me but it does. I take 100 mg to 200 mg each night and it does help me sleep and decreases the pain in my body. Perhaps it’s odd to take so little but if it helps me, why not? If someone out there is scared to take large doses of gabapentin, try a small dose and see if it might help. Most of those with fibromyalgia are extremely sensitive to medications and lower doses are can sometimes be better as in my case.

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