Doc told me to stop Gabapentin cold turkey

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I've suffered from anxiety now for 7 years. I've tried every SSRI on the market and according to my doctor and my body I'm super sensitive to medicine.

I lost my 16 year old nephew October 27, 2016 to suicide upon returning my doctor said I needed to add some medication bc I was depressed. I didn't feel depressed, just sad from losing a loved one. She took me off the Zoloft bc it wasn't working and put me on mirtazapine 7.5 mg and Gabapentin 100 mg 4x's a day. I do have xanax 1mg as needed.

Anyway, I started to have heart racing issues really bad even before the gab. My med Doc told me it was bc I was having withdrawals from the xanax in the mornings which is why my heart races. She gave me some suggestions and of course they didn't work. So, I called my GP and she put me on a beta blocker bc my heart won't go down below 105. She also gave me celexa bc she said mirtazapine is more for depression and not anxiety. Mind you mirtazapine makes you gain weight. I've been on it before and hated to go back on it bc I was 110 pounds and I'm now 160. I'm only 5'1!!!!!

Back to my point, I spoke to my med doctor yesterday and told her my GP plan and she told me to stop the Gabapentin. I asked her if I should reduce it slowly as I had read that's what you should do with this med. She told me that I could just stop it cold turkey. Omg!!!!!!! Mind you I've only been on gab for about 3 months. I didn't take it this morning and I have had the worse anxiety, shakey, felt like I was crawling out of my skin, crying for no reason, seriously thought my husband was going to have to take me to the hospital to check me in bc I thought I was losing my mind. It didn't dawn on me that it was from the gab. She told me I would be just fine and have no problems and to just stop it. She was so wrong and I'm so upset and now she is gone for a 3 week vacation. Ugh!!!

I finally, with some help from a friend figured out what my issue was. I had to break down and take 100mg of the gab. Within an hour or so I felt back to some normalcy. Has anyone else experienced this even on a low dose? How do I reduce a 100 mg capsule so I can wean myself off this med? Or should I wait for her to return before I wean myself off? I have enough anxiety without meds, I don't need the meds to add to it!!! I'm just so frustrated and feel like I should stop everything and start over but I'm sure I'll be put in a Pshyc ward. I just want me back.

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  • Posted

    Hi Tonya;

    I was taking 100 mg 3x daily as well of Gabapentin. I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. That being said, I'm not certain what the other medication is that you mentioned, as I've not heard of it.

    It sounds as though between coming off of both Xanax and Gabapentin you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. As far as weight gain gaba causes a lot of weight gain as well. I gained 35 lbs in a very short period of time.

    I'm no Dr and I certainly don't claim to be; but stopping Gabapentin Definately does cause withdrawal effects. I hated the drug because of the terrible side effects. It's a dangerous drug and not to be taken lightly. I was not myself while being on Gabapentin. I was irritable, depressed with suicidal thoughts, tired and I felt so out of it. I'm not the only person who has had these side effects from this drug. It's not in your head.

    Your doctor should never have told you to stop cold turkey! I've been where you are; start by decreasing your dose from 400 mg a day to 300 mg for 1 week. The following week drop another 100 mg until you are reach 100 mg once a day for a week. If I remember correctly, 100 mg is the lowest dose. That worked wonders for me; but I had 300 mg a day to wean down from whereas you have 400 mg. It may take awhile to feel more like yourself. If I were you I'd talk to your pharmacist. They are far more knowledgeable than any Dr I've met when it comes to side effects and withdrawals.

    I hope this helps; you may want to ask your Dr if it is a combination of meds. It could very well be. I'd love to see you off of Gabapentin though for your own good. When I read up on the side effects (because I was not myself!) I was horrified.

    Good luck and don't give up! I really feel like myself since coming off of Gabapentin! I'll be thinking of you!

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    • Posted

      I meant to tell you to ask your pharmacist if it could be a combination; not your Dr. Sorry about that!
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    • Posted

      Funny you said to talk to the pharmacist bc that was the first thing I did. I have never been on a beta blocker before and I have low blood pressure so I was concerned about that. Along with the fact that I am already on mirtazapine, which my Doc said it is for depressio, Gabapentin and xanax as needed. Then my GP tosses in the beta blocker, the reflux med and celexa which is a SSRI that I haven't started yet and am scared to now. That is 6 meds, I'm only 43 I shouldn't need this many meds. The pharmacist told me everything would be fine and none showed any reactions together.

      What I didn't know until today was the withdrawals from Gabapentin. Wow!!!! I did exactly what my med doctor said. I took my beta blocker in the morning and didn't take my gaba at my usual time of 10 am. By 2 I thought I was going to go crazy. My heart rate was ok I think bc of the beta blocker but my anxiety was getting the best of me. I thought I was going crazy. Within an hour or so of taking 1 100 mg of gaba I felt so much better. I haven't had any side effects taking gaba but obviously I'm going to have side effects coming off of. How long were you on gaba and did you have any problems coming off of it? Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it. I thought I was going crazy.

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    • Posted

      Tonya, no...you're not going crazy. I had the same thoughts. Anything I've read about Gabapentin warns that you can have withdrawal. I was on for at least 6 months before weaning off. I have herniated discs in my lower back and have been waiting on back surgery. I began having a lot of nerve pain in my upper back; numbness but painful at the same time. It's hard to explain. Gabapentin was and is a medicine used for ppl with epilepsy and chronic nerve pain.

      I did a lot of research on the internet; they are warning ppl that GP'S are prescribing this medication for a lot of things it should not be prescribed for.

      The article went on to describe all of the feelings I was experiencing plus more.

      I could feel that I was angry and easily agitated; even though I could feel I wasn't the same person I had no way of controlling my feelings.

      My anxiety intensified and I was feeling so unwell on the medication I decided I had to come off of it for my sake. Another symptom I see you mentioned is acid reflux! I had really bad stomach pain and reflux; also gone since I'm off of the Gabapentin. My MD put me on a low dose pain patch which for me; seems to be helping. I just feel so much better now that I've weaned myself off. My kids have told me I was not the mom they knew; but now they have me back. They realized it was the medication that was playing havoc in me.

      I had a few weeks that I didn't sleep as well but that soon got much better.

      I bought some lavender essential oil which has a very calming effect on me. I have been putting a little on my wrist and my pillow; if you have a little Diffuser that is even better. I do both...helps to calm and relax.

      I really hope this can help you some; the lavender is just something I tried and for me it helped. Everyone is different and reacts differently to meds and I realize that.

      Do some research and I think you will be shocked to see the medical articles.

      I hope you will find some relief soon. I'm also hoping ppl on here with the same symptoms will comment. There have been some stories on here that were heartbreaking.

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    • Posted

      Wow so many of these things you are saying are me. My kids have said the same thing about me. My daughter callled me a monster the other day. I've got to do something.

      I have 2 diffusers one in my room and one in our living room with lavender oil. It helps me some along with a epsom salt bath and the oil.

      My med doctor gave me gab for anxiety and I searched it and I saw where it said that it could be used for anxiety but mostly for nerve pain and seizures. What I didn't research was stopping the medicine. I've learned my lesson now.

      I told my med doc about the acid reflux and that I didn't have any until I started this med and she said there is no way it was from the gab. I'm really doubting my doctor right now!!! I called my pharmacist last night and told them that she told me to stop cold turkey he said NO NO NO. I have to taper it down. Which I knew. I wanted to find out if there was a lower dose. He said 100 mg is the lowest. So how to wean off is the challenge.

      I have to figure out a good way for me to come off this medicine and not end up in the hospital. I seriously thought I was losing my mind yesterday. I only took 2 and I felt fine after the first one got into my system. Then the 2nd one I got the heartburn and pain in my left arm. Real shakey and just not myself again. I couldn't wait to go to bed.

      I appreciate all your advice and input. It is helping me a ton. I wish I would have done more research first.

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  • Posted

    Any Doc that tells you to stop taking any medication cold turkey is very ignorant in pharmacology ! Many Docs are notoriously causual about dispensing and handling medications. Its your body so you know how it reacts to any given med.  Dr.s are not infallible  and many seem very careless in regards to their patients.  You have a say in the Dr. - patient relationship.....you are supposed to work together....not the Dr. just dictating what you are to do.  anyways......It sounds like you are being overmedicated.  Back up and go slowly on your tapering off of gabapentin. I have alot of expirence with gaba. Was on it for 4 years taking between 900 to 1200 mg/ per day  for RLS or neuropathic pain (so my neurologist said.....but now I reject that diagnosis )  There were so many adverse effects from gaba. that I had to get off of it to get back my normal self. Some of the most troubling effects were: dizziness, agitation, balance and coordination problems, depression, headaches and sore neck, restlessnes, hostility, paranoia,...etc....those were all induced by the baba.  Now that I am off of it.........I don't have those any more.  I have been gaba free for about 6 weeks, now and feel so much better......It took me about 4 months to get completely free.....I gradually tapered off....and got down to from 300 mg/ tabs to the 100 mg/ tabs......I was opening the tabs and pouring out to 50 mg/  then to 25 mg....and finally off ! 

    Since you have several drugs to get off of...you should just do it one at a time.....slowly........I did get some withdrawal syndrome from gaba...but with time they dissapeared to......it will take alot of patience but it can all be done.......I agree with you that your depression was because of the situation and you prob. should not have been started on the anti-depressants like your Dr. instructed you to.......anyways I wish you luck....hope my input helped.....Jim B.

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    • Posted

      Correction:  the 100 mg/ of gaba was in capsule form, so I could open it up and estimate  to 50 mg/ by pouring out about 1/2......then 25 mg/ by pouring out to 1/4 of the cap.  
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    • Posted

      Thanks Jim.

      My question to you. When you started to taper off the gaba how did you deal with all the side effects? I seriously thought I was losing my mind yesterday. I have never been so irritable, anxious, thought I was going out of my mind crazy!!! I have children and need to function but coming off of this med sounds like it is going to be hell!!

      I do like your suggestions on how you came off and I'm taking that into serious consideration.

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    • Posted

      Yes, Idid have side effect coming off if gaba.  There were periods of anxiety and nervousness and feeling headachy and bad. But those periods were not constant, only passing a few times per day. And I found out that during my next dose it would subside.....so patience and time will do it..... good luck on it. 
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  • Posted

    Years ago I used to take Neutontin which is now marketed as Gabapentin. I remember that my neurologist said I could stop, start, at will, and even double the dose. WRONG!!  She obviously didn't know what she was talking about. When I did stop it suddenly one day, I couldn't put 2 words together to talk.  I thought I was having a stroke.

    ?Fast forward to this month, and after some years of chronic pain from several bad bone injuries and a bad knee, I was put on Gabapentin 300 mg 3 X a day. I remembered what happened earlier, so I take very dose on time   I have had about 50% of my chronic pain taken away and I am grateful for that.  I do not take any other meds regurlarlly except for an allergy pill, so any feelings I might have, I can attribute to Gabapentin. The pharmacist  warning me about weight gain, and at first I  did't think much about it, but I have gained 5 pounds in less than a month, so now I have to watch my diet and decide if I wasnt to go on with this drug. I need to watch my blood sugar, so excess weight is out of the question.  But I dread the return of all the chronic pains which ruled my life for so long.

    Some of your side effects may be attributed to the other drugs you are taking, so I can't know if Gabapentin is causing it all, but be aware that it is brain drug and will take hold of your brain to quiet the area where a lot of nerve pain is being processed. It does this by taking charge of it, I think. I feel different on this drug, but it lifts off the dreaded weight that I dragged around all the time.  I don't look forward to trying to stop it.  I have tinnitis now and wonder if gabapentin is the cause of it. Started the same week.

    ?Please accept my sympathy on the lost of your beloved nephew.

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your condolences.

      I'm seeing a pattern here. Each person that has been on this besides me is for some type of pain. She gave it to me for anxiety. What I'm reading is that coming off of this med is going to cause even more anxiety and my pharmacist even said so last night. He also said to never stop cold turkey. To taper off this medicine. My biggest challenge is going to be coming off this med. I seriously thought I was out of control crazy. I already have anxiety, I don't need something to make me even more anxious.

      I'm going to take Jims advice and I'm also going to talk to my GP doc and ask her what she thinks about tapering the drug. She isn't the one who prescribed gaba, my med doc did. To be honest I'm not too trusting with any of these doctors anymore.

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  • Posted

    The docs seem to often underestimate the withdrawal that can arise from Gabapentin. Yes, 4x100mgs per day, for three months is easily enough to have this effect. No, don't bother waiting to speak to your GP again, I was on 3000mgs a day, for over 6 months. The pain managment consultant suggest I take is down by 300mgs every two/three days....I felt like I'd been at Woodstock for a year! Went back up, and got some 100mg capsules, (as I only had 300's). I have reduced now to 50 mgs a day. It has taken MONTHS.

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    • Posted

      Totally agree with both Lucy and OConner; the Drs don't realize what they are doing to patients! The side effects and withdrawals are real; unless they experience it for themselves they'll never know,

      I cannot imagine being on the dose you were given Lucy! I started out in the 300mg 3x day but after 6 months of trying to put one foot in front of the other I just couldn't do it one more day!

      I went back and it was me that asked for the 100 mg as I knew I had to wean off. My Dr has been away so he won't even know that I have been off of the gaba since Oct 8/16

      He will find out when I finally go back early Feb.

      Another symptom was blurred vision Tonya; that was a huge problem for me. I am slowly remembering more side effects I had since chatting to you great ppl!

      Tonya I do hope you feel so much better soon! Can you update to let us know how you are doing? This group has done wonders for me.

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  • Posted

    Look up and incorporate this into your daily routine MBSR - Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. My daughter suffers from severe anxiety, and panic disorder. We researched this information and asked her to try it, so far she has been responding well. She also was told to stop taking Gabapentin. That was a horrible experience for her, she has to wean off and replace with another anxiety med. unfortunately but necessary. We were introduced to this back in March of this year. She has been learning her triggers and how to work thru them including fear. Her Dr kept telling her your mind is a powerful vessel. Retraining thoughts have worked some miracles. But there is always set backs, it's a work in progress. A lifestyle change. Try it, I hope this information is helpful to you. God bless

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