4 weeks off of gabapentin/methadone cold turkey

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For anyone who is interested, here is my latest update as I have taken myself off of 1800mg of Gabapentin and 15mg of methadone daily for 4 months.  Again, this is just my experience; yours may be much different.

I think I'm getting back to normal.  Maybe all of the insomnia over the past month finally caught up with me, but I've been sleeping like a log the past few nights.  My strength hasn't returned, but, I'm must admit that I can feel myself getting a little stronger every day.  Most importantly, I see/sense everything around me with much greater clarity now.

Now, I had my 3rd MRI yesterday, so hopefully I'll be told something about it later this afternoon.

As I look back at my experience of being on gabapention for 4 months, I am shocked at what I see.  I should mention again that I was also on methadone, but, I blame the gabapentin for my brain being short circuited the way it was.  And, although I have my built in flaws, that stuff turned me into a different person, and, it wasn't a better one.

So, after 4 months on the stuff I quit cold turkey...against almost everyone's advice.  Best decision I've made in quite a long time.

I wrote a little blurb last week about my experience after 3 weeks off.  If you care to take the time to read it, I think that today I still stand by what I said then:

Week 1 off of the drugs was absolute misery.  Going through that first week I came to clearly understand why so many people who attempt to get off of whatever drug their body has become accostomed to are unable to do it.  The physical discomfort is noticeable, and the mental frustration is challenging to say the least.

Week 2 off things started getting better.  My body was seldom comfortable and my mind, although more at ease than the previous week, continued to not want to cooperate with my time frame for recovery.

Week 3 off was a marked improvement.  Body/mind not completely in sync, but getting close and I could see that progress was being made.  Clearly reason for hope that I hadn't been permanently harmed by the drugs.

Week 4 off and I'm feeling pretty much back to normal.  Sleep pattern is starting to return to normal, and I'm not having any trouble falling asleep when I go to bed.  And, if I wake up in the middle of the night I am able to get back to sleep pretty quickly.  Everything else seems to be returning to my previous state of "normal" before I started taking the drugs.

That's pretty much it for me: 4 months on them, 4 weeks to recover from taking them.

Again, this is just my experience. Your's might be very much different.  Regardless, in my experience gabapentin is some nasty stuff.  If you are one of those people making an attempt to get off of it, I can only tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Getting off of that drug is ugly and miserable for a short period of time...then it starts getting better.  Hang in there and don't let it beat you.

1 like, 7 replies


7 Replies

  • Posted

    Thats Great !  Since you have only been on them for 4 months I guess sthe withdrawal would not be as bad as somebody like me who has taken dosage of 600 to 1200 per evening.  Still going cold turkey is risky ( I know you have been told that ) and in my case I am tapering slowly, since Ive been on that dose for over 4 years !  So the last 3 1/2 weeks I went down from to just 300 mg per day...and after a week  was already feeling better.  Much clearer thinking, coordination, less agitation, anxiety . I feel like my "self" is coming back. However I  can still feel the withdrawal effects

    (jittery, nervous, some insomnia etc.. but they come and go  and then I feel OK again.)

     in between the doses so now I am taking about 150 mg  twelve hours apart to smooth them over......It is going to take me prob. 2 or 3 months to finally get down to zero.....( I hope).  This Gaba. really messes with your brain function and cognition.....I'm so glad I'm getting free of this monster. It's a shame the "experts" don't seem to know what the long term effects on our brain is.....no intensive studies have been done that I know of. So we are the guinea pigs.......I just hope and pray I don't suffer any long term unforseen permanent ill effects....I hope for you too. Let's keep each other updated periodically to see how we are doing  getting back to a normal existence.......Good Luck...  Jim B.

    • Posted

      I wish you the very best of luck.  Hang in there and don't let it get the best of you.

  • Posted

    Congratulations thats awesome! I have to say though that I am stunned that your doctor would prescribe you methadone for pain management. Speaking from experience, methadone traditionally reserved for opiate addiction therapy and only the most extreme injuries/diseases.

    The reason that I bring it up is because many former opiate addicts will attest that methadone withdrawl is even worse than the withdrawl from heroin/pills.

    15mg is a relatively low dose but its still significant, and 4 months is a long time to be on such a highly addictive substance.

    Please understand that these comments aren't directed at you but rather at my shock that the doctor would do that. Not to say that GABA wont cause withdrawl symptoms in some, but if your withdrawl symptoms were that bad and lasted that long I'd bet a lot of money that it had much more to do with the methadone than the GABA.

    I really got to give you props for getting off of both of the meds, particularly the way you did. That is NOT easy.

    • Posted

      I attribute most of the problems I had with withdrawal to the gabapentin simply because of the relatively low dose of methadone I was on.  But, I agree with you that both undoubtedly played a part in the withdrawal.

      I have no idea why the Dr. put me on methadone with the gabapentin other than the fact I was experiencing some world class pain when it all started.

  • Posted

    I certainly give you a lot of credit for getting off of both the Gabapentin and the Methedone.  I'm going on heresay when I say that I have heard that Methedone is one of the most difficult medications to come off of.  I know that it can be a wonderful painkiller for many people, but many of these people go on it with the intention of never coming off.  I understand the reasons, and I even applaud the transition when it is to stay away from street drugs.  I have no idea why you went on it, and I think that for some people it is the way to go.  I get the idea that because you went on both Gabapentin and Methedone it was for pain management.  I really hope that being off of the two together works for you, and that you have found a good alternative for your pain.  Once again I applaud your courage and your willpower!  Please keep us posted..Thanks!

    • Posted

      In retrospect, I should never have been on the drugs for as long as I was. In fact, I probably should have never been on the gabapentin.  Just my opinion.  I had 2 bouts with severe, I emphasize severe, pain.  After the 1st, I was given a bunch of hydrocodone and told to take the pills twice a day and the problem might fix itself.  If not, come back in 2 months when the hydrocodone run out.  The original onset of the severe pain lasted about 12 hours then diminished greatly.  Within 3 days the pain was gone completely and I stopped taking the hydrocodone.

      Almost exactly 2 months after the first episode I had the 2nd.  Pain was in a different location, but more severe and lasted longer.  As a result of this incident I was put on the gabapentin and methadone.  

      After about a week the pain went away.  I attributed that to the drugs, but, in retrospect should have stopped taking them right then.

      I've been off of the gabapentin and methadone for almost 6 weeks now and everything is pretty much back to normal.  No pain.  Now just waiting for neurologist to take his next guess at what is continuing to cause other symptoms.

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • Posted

      Hi!  I was just wondering if you could have fibromyalgia.  I've suffered with this condition for many years.  The attacks don't come as often now but when they do they are horrible.  I've been in emergency more than once because of the pain...

      Keep us posted...and take care of yourself!


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