Gabapentin: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Gabapentin: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

finding balance
Gabapentin, a generic for Neurontin, is frequently prescribed for fibromyalgia. This drug has been shown to reduce pain, but it does have a number of drawbacks. I’ve been on gabapentin for over two years and it does provide some relief, but I’m concerned about the side effects.

If you currently take the drug or are thinking about starting, here are a few things you should know:

The Good: For a lot of fibromyalgia warriors, this drug has been a lifesaver. It is an anticonvulsant and an antiepileptic, and the same type of drug as Lyrica. Some other uses for gabapentin include seizures, nerve pain, migraines, anxiety disorders, hot flashes, and restless legs.

Even though pain reduction is a huge plus, there are some negative side effects similar to those possible with Neurontin that you should be aware of.

The Bad: I’ve experienced a few side effects ranging from insignificant or embarrassing to distressing. Anxiety, muscle pain, sweating, dry mouth, and insomnia are just a few of the many side effects you may encounter. You may also experience loss of balance, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, swelling of the breasts, and jerky movements. I can’t forget to mention the weight gain, skin rashes, and high-blood pressure that may occur.

Recently I’ve been struggling with mouth issues. For some reason, this drug can cause you to stick out your tongue and purse your lips without you realizing you are doing it. Involuntary eye rolling is another fun reaction. My face got me into trouble at work a few weeks ago. My boss accused me of rolling my eyes and making faces at him during a meeting. I wasn’t aware I was doing either of those things. How embarrassing!  

The Ugly: Gabapentin can be habit-forming. If you wish to stop taking this medication, make sure to see your doctor first. You will need to wean yourself off slowly. I tried to reduce my dosage by only one pill a day and ended up getting sicker than a dog. The withdrawal symptoms were horrible. My doctor suggested I start by reducing each dose by 100 milligrams and after two weeks, reduce by another 100 milligrams, and so on.

Another ugly truth is what this drug can do to your unborn child if you take this while you are pregnant. Studies have shown that it interferes with the formation of brain synapses, which mainly occur during gestation and the first few years of life. This 2009 study by Stanford University raises some alarming questions regarding the use of this drug. I’ve seen differing opinions regarding the formation of synapses in adults, but regardless, care should be taken when on this medication.

Risk of suicide is also listed as an adverse reaction of gabapentin. In 2008, the FDA announced that, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it will require the manufacturers of antiepileptic drugs to add to these products’ prescribing information, or labeling, a warning that their use increases risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (suicidality). The action includes all antiepileptic drugs including those used to treat psychiatric disorders, migraine headaches and other conditions, as well as epilepsy.” 

Because of my worries regarding the many side effects and after having to explain my eye rolling and nasty expressions, I decided to end my association with this so-called therapy. I have enough issues already.

For me, the negative side effects outweigh the benefits I’ve experienced. I discussed my decision with my doctor and she agreed it was the best choice for me. You may have a different experience. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to involve your physician in the conversation.

Do you take this drug or another like it? Have you experienced any side effects? Does your physician monitor you for signs of depression or suicidal thoughts?

***

Note: 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 other 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. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

81 comments

  1. Chris says:

    I am on what my doctor describes as the minimum dosage for adults: 300 mg once a day, at nighttime. With just that dosage, I’ve got the weight gain and swollen breasts. And my periods are now very painful (not sure if related). I am concerned that after only 4 months, my nighttime FM symptoms are returning, which seems to means my body adjusted to the 300 mg and now I need to take more. No thanks. At least not until I have proper support.

    I did have some depression and suicidal ideation creep in with just 300 mg. I asked my doctor about any therapists he could refer me to and he was unable to. Even after asking for a therapist, he ushered me out of his office and pat me on the back and said he was glad “everything was on the up and up.” He really didn’t hear me. He was just excited that the Gabapentin was affording me sleep.

    Enabling me to sleep is the greatest benefit for me with this drug. I hadn’t realized how bad my sleep was until I took it. For that, it’s worth it’s weight in gold. But I’m still reluctant to increase the dosage like my doctor wants me to do. Oh, and Inshould mention, after only 2 weeks on the drug, I was already addicted. Didn’t take it one night and woke up at 4am with withdrawals….cold sweats, intense nausea, dizziness. I took one of the pills and the symptoms went away after 30-45 minutes. That’s alarming. My doctor says not possible at such a low dose. Getting a new doctor. 🙂

    At the end of the day, I would like to find a natural remedy for sleep, but for now, I will stick with Gabapentin at the low dose. Thanks for the article!

    • Peter says:

      Chris, I’ve been using it the same way for a few years — 300mg before bed. I’ve experimented with more dosing (e.g. during the day) and less (say, every other night). But interdose withdrawal is a real issue, even leading to fairly severe brain zaps.

      Still, I’ve yet to meet a doctor who recognizes gabapentin’s potential for side effects. That seems to me the biggest problem. Docs just don’t believe patients that gabapentin is serious stuff. It probably has a role for some (it helps my sleep and RLS), but docs should not be so flippant about helping patients dose, withdraw, etc.

    • Melody Meeks says:

      I have been on the max dose recommended for several years now. I ran out due to no refills left and had to go 2 days without. The afternoon of the 2 day I had loose bowels, but nothing horrible. I would recommend trying it if your Dr thinks it’s a good fit for you.

    • MIRELA says:

      Hello Chris, I am an adult and started with a daily dose of 75 mg pregabalin (which is the minimum you will find) for almost 3 years, my symptoms are reduced to an average of 50%. I tried to double the dose to reduce drug use, but the consequence was more negative feelings without a significant reduction of pain.
      As a result, we returned to the 75 mg dose. I think the dose is something that you can also decide for yourself if you have such side effects. If a doctor does not understand you, I think it’s time to look for someone who is more flexible in thinking.
      I can say that I skip a dose without major side effects, only the increase in pain intensity.
      I have good and bad times depending on many factors, for example, the cold increases my pain. In the area where I live there are long periods in the sunless winter that change my mental state and go into depression, the last winter we overcome much better vitamin D3 supplements. Also, hydrotherapy helps me a lot. I hope to help you and forgive writing errors, but English is not my strong point.
      Greetings from Lima, Peru

    • B says:

      I have been suffering since my late teens/early 20’s (now late 50’s), and have found docs mostly unhelpful. I’ve also learned how sensitive I am (and suspect others are too), and as soon as my nurse-prac. recommended this I insisted on the lowest dose (100 mg) and immediately had a negative reaction, tho I slept better. This was basically a heavy, drowsy difficulty proceeding (on TOP of FM!) that depressed me enough to tell me I was in danger of suicidal thoughts. I quit after one week. Then I tried again by taking the capsules apart (sigh; difficult) and using half each night. This worked. After a few months I increased to the full capsule, and am doing ok, with decreased headaches a major plus, and better sleep (tho I still have to use a complicated technique till I drop off). My practitioner really gave me no info. I just had to stand strong and insist(I’ve become stubbornly self-defensive, considering myself the only expert so far – not always the best approach, perhaps). I have a broad range of other symptoms that may or may not relate to or interact with this treatment. If I have to up the dose, I will probably decide not to. I advise people not to rely on drugs or on docs who really don’t know much, if anything. I’ve been drawn to many things on my own, to find out later that they’ve become the hot new cure. Usually they are a wee assist that isn’t necessarily something to use all the time. You may always have to know yourself and your illness better than anyone else, barring a miracle cure. Inhabit your body (tho it betrays you) and try to keep it unmuddied and unmuddled by all these drugs. We have enough crazy symptoms of our own to deal with, and they increase with time.

      • Teresa says:

        You nailed it, B. I’ve been to several docs in the last 6 mos who don’t believe how bad my side effects were on the lowest dosage of gabapentin. Over the past year I’ve tried taking it several times. I finally stopped and have refused to take it again since Oct 2017. What alarms me the most is that the doctors don’t have a clue about the side effects of this drug. I became so exasperated that I typed out a listing of all my side effects and I now take it to every doctor appointment. I wrote a much longer comment on this last September that you could go back to read if you’re interested.

      • Bill McPillcutter says:

        I plan to take GP as needed. I tried it and it kicked in fine on the first day at 300 mg. Def don’t want to get strung out on this rubbish.

  2. Dianne Wilber says:

    Thank you for this article on Gabapentin . I need to get off of it ! Insomnia is a real problem now + I`ve never had it before . I`ve also gained weight . My doctor told me it was a lot of fluid + gave me a diuretic. It has helped my pain from Fibro , but I don`t think it`s worth the side affects . She told me the extra fluid is from the Gabapentin .

  3. Karen says:

    I do take gabapentin. One doctor wanted me to increase my dosage to 2700 mg per day. I gained more weight so went down to 1200 mg. I think it is safer than cymbalta. Nothing takes the pain away completely but I would hate to think how bad I feel without my medication.

    • Bobbie Cruzen says:

      Dear Karen: The amount you are taking, 1200 mg daily of Gabapantin, seems very high! I took a very low dose for 2 years and decided the side effects were worse than the pain so I got off of it. I personally believe that Gabapentin is not designed for long term use. My research, and personal experience, has convinced me that this true! I was offered Lyrica, to replace the Gabapantin, and decided against it. I’ve learned to deal with the pain which of course varies day-to-day. I take arthritis strength Tylenol when the pain is more noticeable, sometimes up to 3000-4000 mg daily, but only for 2 days at the most. I try to eat an anti-inflammatory diet and stay away from alcohol and sugars. I also have chiropractic treatment once a week and acupuncture every other week. For the past year I’ve been doing physical therapy twice a week along side of the other treatments. These combined activities plus diet and suppliments keep me at a minimum level of pain; I’m 65 and retired 5 years now. You know your own body and should decide what’s best for you! Bobbie

  4. I had a very brief experience with neurontin for nerve pain. I took the lowest dose at bedtime for 2 nights in a row. I woke up in such a stupor on the third day that I could barely function

    • Helen Heiner says:

      I have been taking 200 mgs gabapentin 3x a day for just over a year. I weaned of narcotics while taking 100 mgs 3x a day. I dropped 1/2 pill every 5 days, a little closer to thye end. I felt better than normal..the last week of 1/2 narcotic per day, I was upped to 200 mgs gabapentin. I coulnd’t empty my bladder without pushing on it. That has improved, but not totally gone. I ma having a lot of anxiety now, and I cannot concentrate. I am taking adderall, which no longer helps me, though it helped earlier. I honestly don’t think that gabapentin is doing much. My pain doc only sees me about every 6-8 months. I asked to go back on soma for my headaches….he asked if there was another muscle relaxer that helped…..My obgyn agreed with me that it helps headaches, and gave me an RX for 3 a day with 2 refills. I tried to take 1/2 at a time. Pain doc would only give me 1/2 soma 3x a day. I took it for 17 years without a problem. If I was running low, I rationed it without a problem. I have been completely off of it. It helps my pain along with excedrine. My pain doctor seems to be nearly useless to me.

  5. S.U. Narayanan says:

    Try alternative medications for FM like Homeopathy or Ayurveda. Though they act slow, the have significant long term positive impact with no side effects. My wife is going through FM and trying out Homeopathic medication. She is feeling that her symptoms are improving.

    • SC says:

      Homeopathy is a scam. This is how Wikipedia describes it.

      Homeopathy is a pseudoscience – a belief that is incorrectly presented as scientific. Homeopathic preparations are not effective for treating any condition;[2][3][4][5] large-scale studies have found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo, indicating that any positive effects that follow treatment are only due to the placebo effect, normal recovery from illness, or regression toward the mean.

      • Carrie Anton says:

        The accuracy and truthfulness of Wikipedia are under question. Instead, I go with what works for me. Since I have seen a natural doctor, the issues I have suffered from since I was 11 are now fully gone! That wasn’t recovering from an illness. I do not believe everything I read on the internet or Wikipedia. Our government has lied to us for years about marijuana so why couldn’t this also be a lie. Do you think the multi-billion dollar healthcare industry wants people to be healthy? They just seem to keep us sick by never treating the underlying issue instead they only treat the symptoms. Please believe what you want to but I am proof that it does work and isn’t a scam. Plus it is free for me. Doesn’t cost me a cent nor does it cost my insurance company, so they aren’t making money from me. They are fully funded by a Native American community. I never said it was science, nor do I care. All I care about is that it does work. Of course, you also have to have be open minded.

        • Tracy Law says:

          Carrie Anton I’ve slowly come off Gab and I’ve heard of natural remedy’s. You mentioned from Native American’s of which I am could you recommend where you found your information.

          • Carrie Anton says:

            I go to a wellness center run by a Native American community in Minnesota that only employees on the health plan and members of the community can attend. If you are part of a community that has a wellness center, I recommend checking out what services they provide. The center I go to has free acupuncture, physical therapy, nutrition counseling, Reiki (at a reduced cost), chiropractic care, meditation and pain management program.

      • Alexander the Fairly Average! says:

        Wikipedia? Really? I appreciate your effort to help everyone but we might want to stick with scholarly sources and user experiences when discussing meds. Just my 2 cents… Most would say it isnt work 1 cent…

  6. Carolyn says:

    What you’re describing with the tongue sounds like it could be an early sign of tardive dyskinesia. I’m not an MD, but please make sure your doctor knows about that side effect.

    • Gina says:

      I have taken gabapentin before and had hallucinations. However, my neuropathy is so bad now and my fibro as well- my doctor has asked me to try a low dose again. I have just started it, but I can already tell that I’m dizzy, very light headed, and the tongue thing? Mine is raw, and very sore? I can’t hardly eat. I am also (lovely) coming off Paxil – which is not fun at all. So I have a combination of things going on. I’d much rather do natural medicine that all of this big pharma crap that gives me headaches that won’t go away – I’ve not slept an entire night in weeks. My skin is totally broken out, almost every pore is yuck. It’s like my body is in revolt – I’m so sick of these meds that are suppose to be “helping me” – that are actually making me sick!!!

  7. PAMELA BERGMANN-KNEBEL says:

    Good article; I’ve been on Gabapentin for about 4 years and gained 50 pounds in about 4 months and am now treated for high blood pressure which I never had a problem with prior. I have terrible insomnia as well. I am taking 900 mg a day, increased at one point because my symptoms were so bad. I am going to discuss this with my doctor and see about getting off this drug. I am been thinking about this for awhile and this article has helped. I will need to find another alternative for fibro symptoms, if anyone has ideas, would welcome suggestions.

    • Robin says:

      Kratom has helped many people with fibromyalgia get off all their pain killers and gaba , minimizes withdrawal and helps considerably better for the pain than the narcotics and gaba !

  8. Linda Whitton says:

    I was prescribed Gabapentin and found the side effects, non of which matched the list here on the e-article, horrendous. I could not function properly at all. Couldn’t think straight, string a sentence together, and as for answering a question, I could not formulate the words I wanted to say and was literally tearing my hair out in frustration dur9ng a medical interview. As for the headaches!!!!!!!!!!! My doctor suggested I persevere, absolutely NoT.

  9. J. Reynolds says:

    I am on 600 twice a day, plus a muscle relaxant at night. It has truly given me my life back. I have had a hysterectomy, so no worries about pregnancy, and I have low BP, so I am at a good starting point for that at least.
    CONS: I have experienced the weight gain and occasional blurred vision.
    Overall, this med is worth the side effects to me. I am only three months in, so I cautiously optimistic that I have found my management med.

    • Mari-Bess Cary says:

      Same here! But the only side effect I’ve had is that it makes me terribly sleepy! No weight gain, and I have a low BP , so that went up maybe a few points….but it has been a life saver…

    • Nancy says:

      J. Reynolds, I have an almost identical experience with yours. No cons but weight gain. It has saved me from being unable to work many days. I use flexeril off and on as needed in the evenings if I’ve overdone it and also use less gaba in the summer months when my pain is more manageable.

      • CJD says:

        I have been on gabapentin for 5yrs now. It has worked with controlling my neuropathy pain. However, I have gained about 25 pounds since being on it. Also, I’m thinking, that I am developing an allergic reaction towards it now as evident by rash and hives I’ve been experiencing for the past month. This is the only RX I’m on, so I’m convinced it has to be that. It is possible that I’m allergic to some of the ingredients in the pill.

  10. Lori Galpeer says:

    I am sorry that you had such a bad experience with gabapentin. For me, it has been a life saver in terms of getting sleep at night (unless bad flair or a headache) and when get burning pain or escalation from a flair. In addition to mentioning the pros and cons, it might have been helpful to note that some of the side effects you mentioned (ex. weight gain, insomnia) are not very common and that the rolling of eyes is an effect that is to be alerted to your dr. if this occurs. It is interesting that you didn’t feel the eye or facial movements; glad that someone brought it to your attention for it sounds like this medication is defintely making your sicker and of little benefit. Hope you were able to convince your boss that you weren’t making fun of him. Hope you feel much better when you are fully off the medicine and that a replacement drug will helpful! take care 🙂

  11. Chris says:

    A small correction to my earlier post. I meant to say I was already dependent on the medication, not addicted. There is a difference.

  12. Judy Hummel says:

    I have been on Gabapentin for years. I take 400mg in the morning and 1200mg at night. It was not given to me for my fibromyalgia. It was prescribed by my psychiatrist for my anxiety and panic attacks that went along with my PSTD and bipolar. I haven’t had any side effects. But I’m on several meds that cause fatigue. And each visit he asks if I have any of the side effects associated with the drug. I involuntary movements, etc.

  13. Colette says:

    16 months after having used it for only a short while? It firstly did nothing for me other than make me gain *a lot* of weight – it turned me into a frightening insomniac and once I stopped, I still have so much Tardive Diskenisia that I can see people stare at me as if I was born with some or other facial tic syndrome. It seems that all this drug was good for was to take a normal, quiet, calm face and turn it into a permanently grimaced one! 🙁 Stay as far away from this medicine as possible!

  14. Gail Wilson Webb says:

    I was prescribed gabapentin by my pain doc as an alternative to opioids. I didn’t last 3 weeks before the side effects became too much. The one that bothered me the most was the loosening of all my ligaments and tendons. They went back to normal after discontinuation of the gabapentin.

  15. Kathy says:

    Okay so I just started taking Gabapentin 300 mg (1st pill last night) and I must say that I think it’s going to work for me and I’m excited about that. Someone mentioned a side effect of facial expressions person your lips to connect your tongue I rolling and I would just like to say that I honestly believe that is a side effect of fibromyalgia not Gabapentin because I used to do that a lot it drove my husband insane. I don’t know if it was cuz of my conscious decision to constantly be aware and to stop doing it or if it was the venlafaxine that I started taking that corrected that problem. As far as weight gain I gained weight I have gone from 1:35 – 150 from 2010 until now and I hate it it has nothing to do with medicine it has something to do with the fact that when everything hurts you’re in constant pain and you get depressed many of us turn to food food makes my mouth happy so they’re least something’s happy the other reason I’m gaining weight is because it hurts to move it hurts not to move it hurts to exercise you get the picture so I’m going to make a conscious decision to exercise even if it’s five minutes of walking around my house a day anything is better than nothing that’s just my take on gabapentin I’m going to give it a try and I’m not going to increase my dosage of the 300 mg works for me then that’s fine I don’t need more I take enough other pills you know what I mean…?

  16. Kathy says:

    I need corrections made towards the top of that comment, it should say: pursing your lips sticking out your tongue & eye rolling….

  17. Diana Du De Voire says:

    I only took this drug for two weeks. It was prescribed for anxiety. I just stopped it cold turkey, as I didn’t care what would happen and I wasn’t on it that long. What happened to me was I had absolutely no control over my bowels. I could never make it to the bathroom on time, never. I was constantly shitting in my pants and it was always diarrhea. Do you think that was enough to cause anxiety? Especially in public? It even happened in my car when I was driving. Now I have fibromyalgia and two different drs. want to put me on it. Both times a reverberating NO! I will never take that drug again. Bad stuff. Oh, and it didn’t do anything or the anxiety.

  18. Kathy says:

    I took it for years. It did stop the neuropathy, but it also cause weight gain, dizziness and the last straw was losing words. I quit cold and didn’t have any problems, but that is me. I now have words back and will just live with the peripheral neuropathy. I have refused the fibro drugs for the same reason.No cymbalta or Lyrica. Does the same thing to me. We just need for someone to cure this debilitating disease!

  19. Cindy says:

    Several years ago I was put on gabapentin for fibromyalgia. The first tier level helped my pain tremendously yet when I started to go up to the second tier level, I developed suicidal ideation. I called the VA hospital immediately and was told by their pharmacy that suicidal ideation is a common side effect… I was given directions on how to decrease the dosage in order to get off of it. When I was tapering off, I found the Stanford Research study which raised the hairs on my neck. After reading that I was grateful I had the side effect I did and couldn’t continue taking it. I consider what happened a blessing in disguise. Thank you for writing this article so that more people are aware of its effects.

  20. Mrs s wright says:

    I take 1500 a day ,I do have a lot of problems with it ,my memory is bad and I get slurred speech ,I hate it when I’m talking to other people and I stop in mid sentence And I can’t remember what I was say ,my ligaments and muscles ach when I do repetitive things for a minute or so I get very bad pain in my tendons and muscles ,I got restless leg ,weight gain ,I have very dry eyes I can’t see out of them some times ,mouth nose and skin are dry and itchy ,I have lost my get up and go and meny more ,the doctor said he can not change it because I’m im on lots of other meds,,my illments are SNP ,fibromalger ,hypothyroidism ,heart problems ,,gastro refluxes ,I have lots of side affects from most of my meds ,but I find with Gabapentin it can stop working, so it get put up some more ,it gets me through my day and I am quite happy on it .

  21. Teresa says:

    I have not read the Stanford article but intend to do so right way. My neurosurgeon prescribed Neurontin for nerve damage following back surgery. I tried taking it a couple different times. The first, I took just 200mg at night. I was told it would help me sleep. It did nothing for my nerve pain. The next time, he told me to continue increasing the dosage until I got results. So we were attending an event for the 4th of July and I decided to take 600mg. It was amazing I could actually walk again- without a limp. I thought, this is great. I continued taking about 600 – 1,000mg /day. I started gaining weight immediately. About 10lbs the first month and I was craving food. Then a couple weeks later, I was driving home after running errands and kept falling asleep at the wheel. This was serious bc I had enormous difficulty keeping my eyes open. I decided I would not take the medication before driving. Just at night. Then I realized I couldn’t go to asleep until sometimes 4 am. I have insomnia due to the Cymbalta I’m taking but not as bad as this. I’ve been on Ambien for many years and never had problems with sleeping. After reading some of the comments from others I realized that there were actually more side effects than what I thought – like swelling of breasts, word loss, sweating and suicidal thoughts. Yes. It does help reduce the nerve pain in my leg but I found I kept needing to increase the dosage for it to be effective. I decided after reading this article to go cold turkey. That was two days ago. I no longer trust my doctors to know more about my body than I do. I don’t think I’ve had withdrawal symptoms. My appetite has decreased and the insomnia is a little better. I’ve been taking Cymbalta for more than 10 years and it seems to work just fine for my fibromyalgia. I experience occasional flares and amplified pain with surgery and try to push through it. I’ve been taking dilaudid periodically to reduce the post surgery pain. Frankly, the opioids are more effective for my sciatic nerve pain and I have fewer side effects. Im seeking another opinion for the post surgical back and leg pain. Hope this helps someone.

    • Karen says:

      Teresa… Cymbalta did seem to help me with pain but I did not like the brain zaps & horrible sweating. I went off of Cymbalta. I have many of the symptoms you mentioned but not the sleep problem. I am afraid of the pain I might have if I go off of gabapentin. I am going to try a cleanse to see if that might help me.

      Fibromyalgia is such a nasty disease. Some days are worse than others.

  22. Vee says:

    I’ve been on Neurontin for years, but recently cut my dose, due to memory, migraines, not sleeping issues. I just can’t seem to think straight anymore. Countless copays to different docs who say keep taking it. My tongue stings at times. Does anyone else have this problem Just tired of not remembering, itching, pain.

    • Colette Griffin says:

      I feel the same I still take the same amount of neurontin 1500 a day I don’t go out much because sometimes I can’t get words out and my mouth dries up.I now for the last 3 years get ketamine infusion but still take the neurontin but the ketamine means I have better movement I can swim and do light house work but I still can’t sit very long if I do the pain is so bad I could cry.Because I have pain all the time I keep it myself I know people are sick of me and my FIBROMYALGIA.I can’t believe that this pain have taken over my whole life

      • Karen says:

        I am sorry that you are in so much pain, Colette. My pain comes & goes. I am retired so don’t have the stress of a job. I cannot sit long either. We need a cure or at least a treatment that works!

  23. Shirley says:

    I have ME, and also have cervical stenosis at C5/6. I’ve been prescribed Gabapentin for the neuropathy caused by the CS. Yes, it has a few unpleasant side effects – it affects my balance and causes mild incontinence, but the relief from constant nerve pain in my left arm makes those side effects worth it. I already have slight incontinence and poor balance as just 2 symptoms of ME, so together, I’m prone to wobbling, staggering and falling over if I’m not careful, and I wear pads to deal with the urgent need to pee. I did try Pregabalin as well, but started gaining weight rapidly, so switched back to Gabapentin.
    I’m also on Duloxetine, baclofen, paracetamol and ibuprofen, all to manage the ME symptoms, and Fentanyl patches for the pain from CS.
    I’m not dead yet, though!

  24. Patricia L Daisey says:

    It will be a relief and a lifesaver if there may be a specific medication for Fibromyalgia. I was prescribed Gabapentin first. It dramatically affected my blood pressure, dropped my pulse rate to below 50, made me lethargic to the point of inactivity, etc. I tried Lyrica which gave me a rash, swelled my tongue, and my legs swelled remarkably. Other drugs did the same. Ibuprofen raised my blood pressure and irritated my stomach and small intestine. I am more than interested in the Cannaboid treatment. It safer, readily available, and a natural substance. I wish someday it will be approved for FM patients.

  25. Jane Jones says:

    I’ve been on gabapentin for 11 years. It was initially prescribed for nerve pain, 300mg 3x daily. At first, I literally felt very drunk after each dose. Anything was better than the mind bending pain I was in. The relief was very short lived. Within six months, my dose was maxed out at 2700mg daily and I did not notice any positive effects but continued to dutifully take them. Within that first year, I had gained almost 40pounds, had increased trouble sleeping, and just felt unwell in general. A few months later, due to a miscommunication between my multiple doctors, I ran out of medicine. I had no idea that withdrawal symptoms were a possibility. I entered a personal hell of sweating, nausea, intense headaches, visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoia, tremors….the works. I called my pharmacist to ask what in the devil in my med list could be causing such horrible side effects and she discovered that the gabapentin had not gotten refilled.

  26. Betsy Jacobson (formerly Fibrobetsy) says:

    So, in other words Gabapentin or any Gaba drug may cause “Anxiety, muscle pain, sweating, dry mouth, and insomnia loss of balance, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, swelling of the breasts, jerky movements, weight gain, skin rashes, and high-blood pressure among other things. And people PAY to make them sick on Gaga drugs?

  27. Betsy Jacobson (formerly Fibrobetsy) says:

    I also had written that I’ve just started using a TENS unit, and after 30 days, I’ll tell you if it helped my pain. I’m using it on one knee and my lumbar spine, and the reason I’m only using it on one knee is to see if there will be a big difference between the 2 knees.

  28. Debbie says:

    I started taking Neurontin 600mg 4x/day in Jan. 2000 when the FDA approved it & I’m still taking it. At the time I was suffering from severe back pain & Sciatic pain after having 7 surgeries in 4 weeks due to an infection postfusion. The only side effects I’ve had is being forgetful at times which my doc called “Neurontin brain”. Actually I lost weight on it. It helped me tremendously along with Tramadol at the time.Now I take it with Cymbalta, Topamax & only 10 Tramadols a month. I get depressed mouth at times from Cymbalta, but then, Fibro caused me a lot of the symptoms all of you put onto Neurontin. I wasn’t diagnosed with Fibro until May 2008. I really lost weight the first month. By the end of 2009 I had lost 40lbs.& I’ve kept it off. Now I have to be careful not to lose anymore weight.

  29. Colin Townsend says:

    I tried gabapentine and pregabalin and had major side effects, namely seizures. Needless to say, it’s now marked a an allergy on my medical files.
    I now take duloxetine and amitriptyline.

  30. Rachel says:

    I’ve been taking Gabapentin for just over a month now and as a few days ago my doctor increased my dose. My previous dose was 200mg morning and mid-day and 300mg at bedtime. I have no improvement or side effects with that dosage. So my doctor increased my dose to 600mg 3x a day but starting me out with 300mg morning and mid-day and 600mg at bedtime. So far it sounds like I’m lucky since I haven’t experienced any side effects (yet).

  31. Clare Herbert says:

    I have been on a large dose of gabapentin for 11 years. It made the difference between being incapable of getting out of bed, because of the muscle stiffness and pain, and being able to carry on working part time. I am in constant pain and have side effects from it – dizziness, dropping things because of muscle spasms – and take tramadol, baclofen plus 2 types of antidepressant. But I have no intention of coming off it because it gave me my (very limited) life back.

  32. Jane says:

    I’ve only been on Gabapentin for a year or so, my dose is 400mg am and pm, also 100mg pm Norpress, ibuprofen 800mg twice a day, Dihydrocodeine 120mg twice a day, paracetamol 1000mg twice a day, then blood pressure (high)30mg at night, then it’s all the other stuff for the side effects of all those! I was given a dose of 2x400mg twice a day, but my partner couldn’t wake me at night (not for the best as I live in Christchurch NZ earthquakes happen here!) with it, so back to 400mg twice a day, this doesn’t seem to give me any other/new side effects and helps me sleep along with the Norpress. It has done absolute wonders for my feet and hand.

  33. Karen Force says:

    I’ve been taking Gabapentin for over 20 years and I don’t have most of the side effects described. I no longer take opioids but cannabis RSO capsules at night for pain control. I take 5 mg Melatonin as a sleep aide and I’ve stopped taking most meds I was on for decades. Personally I think any drug effects every single person differently so I’d be careful of espousing negative effects that might prevent any one person from trying this medication as the side effects might be minimal for them. I also found once I went through menopause several of my fibro symptoms abated.

    • Carrie Anton says:

      I’m glad it works for you. If there wasn’t a lot of evidence and studies that show the negative side effects, there would be no need for this article. Everything I wrote is backed up by solid evidence. I’ve been through menopause and I didn’t get any relief from my symptoms, in fact, they got worse. If doctors were educating their patients as to the risks of this drug and others, I wouldn’t be in this situation. Now that I’m on a lower dose of 1,200 mgs a day, the terrible side effects have gotten much better so it is the drug that caused my many issues. That is why I suggest that anyone who may be thinking about taking this drug have a serious conversation with their doctors. I know someone who committed suicide while on this so I do feel it is very necessary to get this information out there so people can make an informed decision. I didn’t know any of this when I first started on this drug and I probably wouldn’t have taken it or at the very least I would have known what to look for. I think it is a huge disservice not to make people aware of negative effects of any drug.

  34. SandraM says:

    I am coming off of Gabapentin currently. Got up to 900mg daily, but couldn’t handle it anymore. Too many side effects and no good benefits unfortunately. Am down to 200 mg right now. Can’t wait to be totally off.
    It actually made me feel like I did when I was first getting ill. Joint pains came back stronger than ever, as did big muscle pains and greater fatigue. Also made me feel like I was under a black cloud.
    I am coming off of it slowly, as I learned my lesson the hard way when I came off of Cymbalta. Ugh. That was an awful ordeal and I don’t want a repeat.

    It is amazing how we can all be affected so differently by one drug. Definitely not a one size fits all.

    • Karen says:

      Are you taking anything for the pain to re[lace the Gabapentin? i don’t like some of the side effects either but my body is in great pain when it is time for another pill. I weaned off of Cymbalta so know that is what you must do with these meds. Cold turkey does not work.

      • Kathy says:

        Gabapentin an antiseizure medicine that was accidentally found to help peripheral neuropathy. I was on a fairly high dose when I realized that I could not think or find words. I stopped cold and had no problems. However, everyone is different. I wish all that are stopping gabapentin the best! I will NOT take it or anything that has it in it again. BTW, my words and thoughts are coming back! YAY!

      • SandraM says:

        I have been on tramadol for a while for the pain. I never found that the lyrica, cymbalta or gabapentin helped for my pain.

        I’ve also been learning how to pace my activity and rest better to stop sending my body into flare ups. That has been my hardest (and ongoing) lesson. So frustrating!

  35. Jenny McClurg says:

    I have been on Gabapentin 900 mg for several yrs now lso taking Lyrica 450 mg a day gained a lot of weight am now weaning off lyrica to go back on Cymbalta I have no Idea what life now would be like without either

  36. Betty says:

    Right now I take 160 mg of Cymbalta and 150 mg of lyrica a night and 150 mg of lyrica in the morning and 1 400mg Advil 4x’s a day.
    I am trying to get off it all and go on a canabol product with a small THC
    Any one else using medical marijuana.? Is it working.
    I keep falling asleep at inappropriate times with all the pharmaceutical drugs.

    • Peter says:

      Marijuana is helpful to me — but only before bed. That’s when I need it most anyway, so I avoid it during the day unless I’m having such a bad day that I know I won’t accomplish anything anyway. I use a high-CBD strain of (majority) indica, which nicely settles down my neuropathic symptoms, but I haven’t tried anything with very low THC. Sativa strains actually worsen my symptoms. It’s like a totally different drug.

      Good luck with your efforts. Did you really mean to say 160 mg of cymbalta? That’s a lot, and will take a lot of time and patience weaning. It took me months to go from 90mg to 60mg (where I’m at now).

      I also learned to completely eliminate my light-but-regular drinking (a glass of wine early evening) as I found it was interacting poorly with my nightly dose of 300mg gabapentin. Got serious brain zaps for several days after no drinking.

  37. Brynda S Ray says:

    I have been taking Gabapentin for about a year now, a very low dose, 100mg twice a day. I didn’t realize that the blurred vision was a side effect of it, I have really been worried about that. I have gained weight, but since I retired and spend most of my time at home I attributed the weight gain to that. I tried increasing my dose, with another 100mg during the day, and literally could not stay awake during the day, it was awful. I want to get off it now, after reading all of this.

  38. Lisa Emslie says:

    I am taking 2700mg of gabapentin per day, as well as tramadol and amytryptyline. I have many of the side effects that have already been mentioned but my pain levels are so high that I worry that switching to another form of painkiller could leave me practically bed ridden again as I have been in the past

    • Karen says:

      Lisa…. I am right with you on fearing what would happen ifI stop my meds. I take 1200 gabapentin, 100 mg tramadol & 10 mg amytriptyline. I take a muscle relaxer at bedtime. Last night I slept 12 hours, but some nights I don’t sleep at all. My latest side effect is pain & swelling in my feet. I think it is the amytryptyline. I want my life back.

  39. Tracy says:

    I’ve been on 2400 mg of Gabapentin a day for fibromyalgia and cervical spinal stenosis for approximately 15 years now and it has helped tremendously. Yes I do get brain fog and I do have a little loss of balance, but I get relief and that’s the most important thing. When I first started taking it I did put on weight and for some reason I really craved sweets. Over the past year I started a low carb and low sugar diet and I dropped the weight. I have not experienced any of the other side effects during this length of time. I am happy with the drug and the relief that it gives me.

    • Karen says:

      Tracy.. Is that the only med you take? I was taking 2700 mg but gained weight. I may decide to again increase my dosage & drop the elavil. Getting relief from the pain is the main objective!

  40. Juliet says:

    I would not normally comment, but I am taking 3600 mg of gabapentin a day (1200/3x). I was originally prescribed this for my anxiety and possibly ptsd symptoms (don’t remember). I thought I wasn’t having any side effects and talked to my regular Doctor. It led to a miscommunication as my psych Doc. had taken over prescription but because it seemed to help with my fibro. So much and I trusted my Dr. So I gave her back control of my scrip. Unfortunately, she had the original dosage in the system and kept saying, that I was taking 2 300 mg pills 3x/day (1800 mg) and I heard her but forgot they were 600 mg pills now! Bottom line she told me to go to 3 pills/3x daily and prescribed 300 mg pills of gabapentin. However, I still had 600 mg pills left and (still not realizing the miscommunication) took 3 600mg pills at a time. I started losing my balance, developed tremors, vision was blurrier and felt very disoriented and unwell. Luckily, after a few days, I did realize what I had done, when I filled her scrip. I dropped back down to my 3600/day dose and felt better. Unfortunately, I now realize that my memory has worsened, my bp was up last visit, my vision has worsened and I haven’t been able to lose weight. So, now I’m realizing that the side effects (though insidious, for me) are happening. But it really helps with the pain and anxiety, and helps me fall asleep at night. So, I don’t know what to do? These comments got me running scared and I darn near overdosed myself!

  41. Margarita Garcia says:

    Hi. My doctor just prescribed gabapentin to me because I’ve been having so much chest pain and pressure and nerve pain. I went to the cardiologists yesterday and did a echocardiogram and a stress test and the doctor said I was at a low risk of having a heart attack and that I have to blockages so he said it isn’t my heart. I’m scared I may have fibromyalgia. They tested me for lupus and I don’t have it. All my blood work comes back excellent no infections or anything. I just have constant nerve pain and chest pressure like at the rope of my chest and my neck and shoulder blade and ribs and like in my knees. I don’t know if that’s even symptoms of fibromyalgia but I have been referred to a rheumatologist. I still haven’t taken the gabapentin. I’ve had it for a week but I’m scared to take it. It’s a 300mg dose. I can’t take this feelings and pressure anymore I’m getting really depressed. I’m 28 years old and a mother to a child with cerebral palsy so I have to always be on the move with doctors appt. I just want to feel good again. I’ve been like this for months.

    • Karen says:

      I am sorry you are struggling. That is not a high dose of gabapentin so I would try it. I am taking 1200 mg. If you do have fibromyalgia, there are somethings that may help you. I worked a full time job until I turned 66. Is it possible your chest pains are from anxiety. Being sick for months can sure cause that. I hope you find your answers. You might goggle fibromyalgia to learn more about it.

  42. Paula says:

    I take 1200 mg per day. I sleep great with this medication and am following Weight Watchers and have lost weight. I guess it is just different for everyone. I call it my miracle drug.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *