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Gabapentin Withdrawal

 
Author David Widdop - United Kingdom

26 Nov 2010

  I have been on this drug for the last two years.
Recently I became run down and went to see my Dr as I was having severe pain in my leg .
I also had partial paralysis which was leading to incontinence and a couple of times i "Peed" myself and did not know I had done this.
Over the past 5 weeks these problems have got worse and following a visit yesterday to my GP where I actually went to ask him to increase my medication ended where he told me he feels the problems of incontinence are caused by the Gabapentine and he has now decided to start withdrawing me from this drug.

I have had cancer 21 times , I suffer from fibromyalgea and before Gabapentin I was practically crippled and was only able to walk a few feet as I was in so much pain.

Gabapentin has certainly helped me over the last few years but I feel frightened about coming off the drug but the DR insists he also thinks I had had a mini stroke.

I could just do with some one to talk to who has been through Gabapentin withdrawal I just dont know what to expect and the feeling of the unknown is really frightening me.

The GP has suggested that once I am off this drug he will put me on Pregablin a drug which is supposed to be better but I have reservations can anyone help and has anyone out there suffered with incontinence because of Gabapentin?

I am also worried that if I stop the Gabapentin and the incontinence continues where does that leave me at...

|D

Replies  
 admin -

26 Nov 2010

 Hi David

Welcome. One piece of advice that I'm sure others will agree with, is to come off the Gabapentin as slowly as possible to avoid side effects. You need to do as your doctor suggests and agree with him a time scale. Personally, I took four times longer to come off it than my GP suggested.

Watch out for a bit of depression when coming off and remember, it's not real, it's the effects of the drug leaving your body and your body readjusting to being without it.
Good luck
Jan at PainSupport
 
 Tina - South Yorkshire

27 Nov 2010

 Hi David

I was on Gabapentin a couple of years ago for about a year. I started to cut down a little bit each couple of days, I never really had any problems at all.

Just make sure you reduce it very slowly and your body will deal with it okay
 
 Tina - South Yorkshire

27 Nov 2010

 Sorry forgot to add, I came off Gabapentin because it didn't really seem to do anything for me. I have just started Pregabapentin only been on it for about 4 days and still slowly upping the dose so it's a bit difficult to say if it's working yet.

Good luck by the way x
 
 David Widdop - United Kingdom

27 Nov 2010

 I just think it is the fact I dont want to go back to the place where I was before Gabapentin.
Due to the tremendous amount of pain I was in I could not join in a lot of family activities and my mood before gabapentin was not very good
I suffer from Fibromyalgea and it was the pain clinic that initially prescribed Gabapentin
Within 3 weeks of going on the drug I was able to walk with just the aid of one stick rather than two and although I put on a bit of weight that was not a issue for me as I was 6ft 2 and weighed just 8 and a half stone I am also Coaeliac and suffer from Osteoporosis
Today is the first day on a reduced dose of Gabapentin and the Dr plans to see me again on Monday and if all is well to reduce the dose again by one tablet a week

He has said I will need a replacement drug

I am just a bit anxious as a year ago the GP tried to withdraw me as I was having stomach problems and when I got down to 600mg a day I could barely walk and he put the dosage back up again.
I feel trapped as without the drug I am crippled yet with the drug I have "vacant moments", memory loss, I have been told that Pregablin is actually made by the same manufacturers of Gabapentin and is more expensive and does not have the side effects that Gabapentin is known to cause.
 
 Tina - South Yorkshire

27 Nov 2010

 Hi again David

Pregabapentin is supposed to be a lot better than Gabapentin i.e a lot less side effects and it was manufactured specifically for nerve pain. So it should be really good for you seeing the results you have had with gabapentin.

I put on weight slightly with gabapentin too but like you it wasn't a problem, I have now lost quite a bit as my appetite is next to nothing probably due to the Oxycodone I was on. I seem to live on cereals as thats all I fancy...lol

Take one day at a time and good luck x
 
 Di - Lancashire

27 Nov 2010

 I was put on Gabapentin years ago. It caused severe depression so I came off it. I reduced it in exactly the same manner I had increased it, a small amount each week or two weeks and I had no withdrawal symptoms at all. My mood lifted with each reduction and by the time I was off it I was back to my normal self. I had been taking oxycodone at the same time and discovered the gabapentin hadn't been giving me any pain relief at all.
 
 Doreen - England

27 Nov 2010

 
Hi David
Do come off your gabapentin very very slowly.
i was recently in hospital when they took me off all my drugs cold turkey , was only off them for 4 days & the effect it had on me was so bad i still havn`t recoverd, gabapentin was one of the drugs i have been on for 11 yrs, it is one of the drugs that has helped me but not the same for others, so do come off very slowly.
kindest regards Doreen
 
 David Widdop - United Kingdom

27 Nov 2010

 Hello ALL
and thank you so much for the advice you have all given . I have taken it on board and finally feel like I have someone to discuss my pain with who understands.

As much as I love my wife bless her she cannot feel what I feel and it is only someone who suffers chronic pain that can truly understand what I am going through and I thank you all for your support

Well it is only day two and already I have started to feel the affects that withdrawa is causing . First of all I found out that I was not tired at all last night and I did not manage to get to bed until 4am at 5am this morning I took two sleeping tablets which worked and although I was up at 8am I do feel like I have had a good nights sleep.

My neck though feels incredibly sore this morning and I do feel slightly disconnected . I also feel a bit anxious and I feel very irritable and keep apologising to my wife when I snap at her. The last time I felt like this was when I gave up smoking and was craving a cigarette!!!

I am just not so sure I can see this through I am a bit up and down at the moment I had a cry this morning which is not like me then half a hour later I was laughing at something which was not even funny.

Good ness knows what I am going to be like when I drop down another 3oo mg on Monday

Does anyone know if there are smaller increments that I can withdraw in or is it a 300 drop each time? I suppose I can ask dr on Monday I just feel stupid asking these questions.
 
 shazzah70 - scotland

29 Nov 2010

 hi david,please dont feel stupid asking questions,im on gabapentin and last week i ran out of them and i had to wait 2days for another script.i was very edgy and didnt know what was wrong with me, i cried a lot and i found i went to the toilet a lot and had stomach cramps.i had no tablets at all for 3 days and it wasnt till i got them and took my first dose i thought maybe i was withdrawn,i now know after reading these posts i was.my skin was on fire with the fibro and i felt like i had a bad flu.they def help me but if my gp sugg a change like yours has i would do it.try to focus on how good you will feel when you start the new tab.maybe do as i did and stay in your room while your feeling on edge.good luck im sure youll do great with the new tab.take one day at a time just now.try and keep yourself calm and even tell your family how your feeling and what your going thro while coming off the gabapentin.it can be scarry changing meds but try and keep possitive. im sorry you had a small stroke it must have been a shock when the dr told you this,keep well and good luck and best wishes sha. x
 
 Rob - Lancashire

29 Nov 2010

 Hi David
I hope that the withdrawl is going OK. I found gabapentin a good drug for me when combined with others. I am fairly drug tolerant and get through most of the pain meds ok. However they recently placed me on pregabalin and I had no tolerance towards it and have taken myself off it till I see my GP again next week. It could be that it doesnt mix well with my other meds but it deadened the nerve system rather than dull it and also intereferred with my scs. Great for pain but I just stumbled around dangerously. My pain clinic said that the two drugs ( pregabalin and gabapentin) despite achieving a similar outcome are quite different. I hope that you get along ok as drug changes can be unpleasant and a bit demoralising.
 
 Di - Lancashire

29 Nov 2010

 it's a while ago since I came off but I suggest you wait 2 weeks before reducing. YOu can also ask your doctor for smaller dose tablets .
 
 sheevee - United Kingdom

29 Nov 2010

 Have just looked up bnf.org and it seems there are 100mg capsules for Gabapentin so it may be possible to reduce them even more gradually. My maths is rubbish but just seen the cost of Pregabalin is twenty times more than Gabapentin.
Not a site if you don't want to know about side effects etc but remember that no-one would ever take an aspirin if all the possible side effects were listed.
 
 Rob - Lancashire

29 Nov 2010

 Ithink there is maybe some misunderstanding as gabapentin can be taken in huge doses compared to most drugs and to titrate more slowly doesnt really need smaller tablets. They are also solid tablets that can be cut up. The bottom line is that a 100 dose is a fraction of the maximum dose anyway It is all about feeling the way and taking time when needed. There is also a huge mental issue about thinking we are dependant on a certain drug but in reality we are not. It is a very personal issue and not an easy one.When titrating we need to follow instinct and what we are happy with. I dont know but it could well be that titration isnt that neccessary because of the substitution. I think it is a doctor/patient issue and should be dealt with individually
 
 Sarahpeacelily - Kent

29 Nov 2010

 I was told at the chronic pain clinic that they invented pregabalin because it is much better than gabapentin and has loads less side effects and they only don't prescribe it first because it's more expensive to the nhs to subscribe.
It's known to be much bettr pregabalin. They only prescribe gabapentin now cos it's cheaper.
 
 Rob - Lancashire

29 Nov 2010

 This may help explain the whole issue

http://www.drugdevelopment-technology.com/projects/pregabalin/

The main point with all dsrugs is that some help and some hinder and that is a purely individual thing

Take care

 
 fairmaid - Scotland

10 May 2011

 Hi, In January I was put on Gabapentin 300mg x 6 for peripheral neuropathy caused by a bulging L4/L5 disc pressing down on the root nerve going down my right leg. Pain was absolutely horrendous. Luckily for me Gabapentin took away the worst of my pain. Felt spaced out a lot of the time, but no other problems. Had a microdiscectomy at beginning of April and am now in the process of coming off the medication. So far, no problems.
 
 Scoob - Scotland

11 May 2011

 David, i'm on Pregabalin after being on Gabapentin and have noticed little if any difference. However, you should go back to see your GP as you don't need to stop the Gabapentin before starting the Pregabalin, you can simply decrease the Gabapentin and increase the Pregabalin at the same time as i successfully did with no side effects.


Have a look near the bottom of this website link for the info: http://www.painclinic.org/aboutpain-medicationtypes.htm
 
 bagydan - usa

15 Oct 2012

 It's taken me nearly a year to be gabapentin from when I started my taper with doctors approval. I was taking 3000 milligrams a day at bedtime for over 10 years, I got as far as 1200 with out any withdrawal in about 8 weeks then continued to taper down to 900 milligrams and I began to experience the worst withdrawal of my life, instead of a taper of 300 milligrams I should have done only 50 or less and held untill I was stable with no withdrawal but I didn't I honestly had no idea that a withdrawal could be so bad.

I decided to talk to my doctor about the withdrawal and she aknowledged it was withdrawal but had no suggestion as to what I should do.

I went to the internet and started reading the forums and foound servral references to useing magmesium supplements to mitigate or lessen the withdrawal.

I'm happy to say that with the aid of a magnesium supplement I am now gabapentin free and my withdrawal is manageable. I expect it will take some time to feel completely normal. Maybe 2 or 3 months, I hope not but if the time it took me to taper off completely about 11 months is any indication it may take as long to get to feeling reasonable normal.

You have to be very patient with your taper from gabapentin and stay with it, don't rush down.
 
 picton - West Midlands

15 Oct 2012

 Withdrawal or no withdrawal I am a BIG fan of upping Magnesium levels... after all it is a VERY common deficiency for well documented reasons.

Like both my parents, I suffered intermittent, frequent, often horrendous cramping from early teenage until just over 2 years ago (say, nearly 40 years!), and have had only about 3 very minor spells of it in total since! (that would have been a GOOD fortnight before!)

Certainly done no harm to pain and overall well being either.

Along with Vitamin D3, I reckon it's something if people haven't looked into either checking levels or supplementing, they are the first ports of call I would look at.
 
 ALIF - manchester

15 Oct 2012

 i remember having to be taken off this drug immediately one friday night .i went to the doctors i was short of breath and my legs were so swollen they looked like they were going to rip .i found all the gaba type drugs awful and no use with any type of pain .as soon as the doctor took me off them i spent the next few days peeing .i felt so much better i could breath and the fluid in my legs disappeared but i feel that incident has done damage .be careful on this drug and pregabalin and amitriptyline they can all cause a lot of damage .also be aware that some can suffer from brain fog ..i did and was doing things that were out of character for me .i even sold my lovely car to a dealer for a lot less that i should have done i made a mistake and it cost me 3k .i know some people with get a good benefit from gaba drugs but some ..like me will not be able to tolerate them ..
kris♥
 
 Doreen - England

15 Oct 2012

 Email : sophia1933@aol.com 
 I saw my neurologist last wk & i told him my memory for words was bad, he said it was the gabapentin causing this my neuro has mentioned before he didn`t like this drug but has my pain consultant put me on it he can`t take m e off. i see my pain Doc next monday when i go for a nerve block & am going to ask to come off it, i know it will be slow i`m on 1800mgs a day & it`s been so for 11 yrs.
my capsules are 33 mgs Rob didn`t know you could get them in tab form.
Doreen
 
 organiclemon - London

16 Oct 2012

 Gabapentin also comes in syrup form so using a syringe you can do smaller dose reduction adjusting to your needs.. I did this when I came off it .
 
 redjune - England

16 Oct 2012

 I took gabapentin in 2009-10 for spinal stenosis and after having surgery I was gradually weened off it with no side effects. Then I was put on it again for the same reason in dec 2011. I had surgery again in june and felt so well afterwards that I weened myself off it within about 3 weeks of the operation. After a few days I began to feel anxious and shakey. I felt like I darent go out of the house as I was so frightened and I had difficulty eating as it felt like I couldnt swallow. With the help of my gp I have recently weened myself off gabapentin but it took a long time. My gp said to do it very gradually and to stay on them as long as I needed. I realise that I havent been on them as long as you so expect it to take quite a while to come off them completely. Good Luck.
 
 Doreen - England

22 Oct 2012

 
Today i had a nerve block to the back off my head have had abought 26 of these they have helped with face & head pain, i just feel so poorly afterwards i had it done at 10am & just recovering at 8 pm, have told my consultent how i feel & he says there are others have the same problem, he did come out of theatra to see how i was doing.

I asked abought coming off gabapentin he said yes to do it slowly & if i dont feel right to go back up again, well i don`t intend doing this & will do the same as you Jan.
I also asked to come off my methadone he said not to do both together, i am only on 10 mgs of this so will get myself off this 1st
will be able to do this in a couple of wks.
havn`t spoken to my G.P will do so tomorrow.
 
 admin -

22 Oct 2012

 Good luck with the withdrawing, Doreen. You really can't go slowly enough with gabapentin as you need to give your body time to adjust to being without it.
Let us know how you get on.
Jan
 
 Doreen - England

24 Oct 2012

 Well i`m on my way, but it`s going to be a long journey.
am coming off the methdone 1st been on 10 mgs for 11 years so is not going to be as easy as i`d first thought.
The pharmacist at my medical centre is going to help me with this.
he mentioned it would take me 3 months to get off my gabapentin but he thinks i`v been on it for 6 yrs so will have to put him right on this has it`s been 11 yrs & i know to take my time coming off this.
I am still on amitrptalyn & my nerve blocks & if the pain gets to bad they can put me on a newer drug.
my pain consultant seemed surprised but iv made up my mind to do this.
was very poorly after the block but bouncing back the pain should feel better by tomorrow when the steroids kick in.
 
 ross49 - Devon - UK

25 Oct 2012

 I shifted from gabapentin to pregabalin (Lyrica) a few years ago, having been on both for about five years. I started on gabapentin about 14 years ago - after checking out amitryptiline, carbamazepine and a few others.
Gabapentin @ 1500mg p.d. had a dampening effect on the pain - but the weight gain, lassitude and depression were a high price in exchange. I've found Lyrica to have a similar spasm-dampening effect without all the side-effects. I use only 300 mg p.d now
 
 Doreen - England

25 Oct 2012

 Ross
when we have been on a number of drugs for many years it is difficult to know which are the drugs helping the pain, i am on tegretol retard [ carbamazapine ] with other drugs for epilepsy, & these cause depression & other problems i cant come off these otherwise i would spend most of my life in a & e.
The lyrica sounds promising & will keep this in mind.
the gabapentin is causing word memory loss a reason my neuro wants me off it.
Thanks
 
 Jen-Les - Essex, UK

30 Oct 2012

 I am very sorry to hear about all your health problems and experiences. I have been taking Gabapentin for years - about 10, I think - and the only problem I have encountered was when I had my second lot of spinal surgery 8 years ago and missed several doses of the drug. I don't know how much you are taking but I am, and was, taking 900mg three times daily.
Although this was a sudden, enforced withdrawal due to the surgery, rather than your proposed, gradual withdrawal, I had a terrible reaction.
I was in Intensive Care for 4 days in a state which my Ortho Consultant described as 'off the planet.' Scarily no-one seemed to know why until one of the Charge Nurses suggested a link to the missing Gabapentin - which is only available orally - as he'd seen something similar once before. Even then it was only because my husband insisted that they sedate me and give it to me that it was administered. I woke up the next morning back to 'normal.'
I would be inclined to ask for another opinion if you are worried but I'd much rather make a very slow change than a sudden, dramatic one!
 
 Doreen - England

1 Nov 2012

 
I am coming off the methadone very well hoping i will be off it by Christmas & then will start the gabapentin think it`s going to be interesting but a long haul.
No we are on so many meds it`s difficult to know which are helping the pain especially after being on them for so many years.
 
 openminded - United States

3 Jan 2013

 Email : avaldezbus@gmail.com 
 Hi guys! I was on gabapentin 4,000 mgs a day for 3 years and I weaned off of it successfully with almost no withdrawals at all. Because of gabapentin's short half life, an average of about 6 hours, to avoid intermittent withdrawals between doses, gabapentin must be taken at least 3 times a day. My recommendation is, first dose as soon as you wake up, 7-7.5 hours later the 2nd dose (one or the other to establish consistency), and last dose at bedtime. Reduce the gabapentin dose by 10% every 15th day. Meaning you stay on a given dose for 14 full days. On the 15th day, you wean down. Use a calculator. You will need a pill splitter. Most pharmacies have them. You simply multiply the dose you're on by 0.9 and that will be your next daily dose 14 days later. Divide it by 3, and that is the dose you take 3 times a day. Now, because the doses will many times not come out to an even split tablet, keep the reduction percentage from 5-10%, preferably 7.5-10%, as the lower % you reduce the dosage, the longer the weaning off process will be. And weaning off less than 7.5% may be unnecessary. So as long as your next dose is within 5-10%, preferably 7.5-10%, you should be good. You may need to use multiple mg tablets at the same time for convenience. If a particular dose seems to be causing pretty bothersome withdrawals, go back to the previous dose for 5-7 days and then back down. Stay on that dose for 14 days, then continue weaning down. Good luck!
 
 bobgl - U.S.A

7 Jun 2013

 I have been on gabapentin 300mg for 4 months. It was prescribed to help me sleep but it is not effective. I am also on 18mg Valium . I take 10mg at night it also is not helping me anymore. I plan on tapering off the valium but first I want to taper off the gabapentin. My plan is to reduce my dosage by 10% every week or 2 weeks. I have also heard that magnesium may be helpful for withdrawals
 

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