Gabapentin - long lasting side effects?

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Hi All

I stopped Gaba 2 weeks ago today (tapered down from 4 x 300mg over a period of 3 weeks).  Like some others on here, I developed painful joints and muscles whilst on this med.  Am still experiencing these pains two weeks on although a little less severe.  GP says drug should be out of my system now and doesn't believe that Gaba was/is to blame.  

Anyone got any views/experiences of this?  If so, did the side effects continue long after you stopped the drug?

Thanks.

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  • Posted

    Maureen I was given it by mistake in place of a look a like

    Used it for a month

    Tapered for a week

    PCP said it would be out of my system but

    It is not and its been over a month

    It gets easier but you may have other side effects that pop up.

    Hang in there and research it online.

    I spoke with a trauma counselor who had experience and it is a nasty med for many

    Some can take it but many cannot

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply, much appreciated.I have looked online but some of the posts are quite old.  It's good to hear how other people cope and that I am not alone in feeling these effects.  Let me know how you get on. M

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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen.  My experience is different to yours but may be of interest.  I had been on the same dosage as you but was put on it because of pain in muscles and joints (fibromyalgia). Unlike you, the medication reduced my pain.  I started getting really bad nausea after 7-8 months and although the doctor said it wouldn't be related to the medication, I decided the only way to find out was to go off.  It has taken me 3 months to get down from 1200mg to 300 mg a day as with each drop in medication I felt so awful I had to wait for my body to settle down.  It also affected my sleep because the medication helped this.  On going off, my pain is returning but I expected that.  I also have been having some pretty severe headaches but I don't know if this is related to withdrawal or whether the headaches are something that has been covered up by the medication because I see that it is prescribed for migrane.  I've read a few posts on this site that suggest going off is not easy (which is why I am tapering down 100mg every fortnight) and that side effects can remain for some time after stopping. I think the GP's underestimate the effects of the drug.  I hope to be stopped in about a month's time!

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    • Posted

      Hi there.  Thanks for your reply, really helpful to hear firsthand experiences.  Spoke with my GP yesterday but her view is that gaba could not cause all the symptoms I am experiencing and that it will be some other reason.  Have only been off the drug for 2 weeks so will see how it goes but am getting really fed up with it all.  Seems to me that you end up taking more drugs to counteract the effects of another.  I agree with you that side effects can stay with you and that would appear to be true in my experience.

      Keep in touch and let me know how it goes for you.  M 

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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen.  I am now on my 9th day off gabapentin, 1800mg/day, cold turkey.  The primary side effects I'm experiencing right now are severe insomnia and a significant reducting in energy.  The past 2 nights I've taken some benedryl which has helped a little bit with the insomnia...allowing me to sleep 3 - 3/12 hours/night.

    I wish you well.  Hang in there and get off of this stuff.

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    • Posted

      I had some occasional, very brief blurred vision.  I also developed a pretty significant lack of energy...the least amount of exertion just wore me out.  That being said, my primary motivation for getting off of the stuff was the horror stories I had heard/read from people who had been on it longer than me and seemingly couldn't shake it.

      Since stopping, the blurred vision has gone away, but I am ever more lethargic than I was when I was on it...I'm attributing that to being in withdrawal now.

      Just hang it there.  Don't let it beat you.

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    • Posted

      Yes the energy drained from me. Hope you can talk to someone while going through this. Drink lots of water, try to eat right, take vitamins, fruit smoothies, etc

      I got pretty down and my pcp suggested counsel, which helped.

      After my energy started picking up

      Anxiety took over after having a half cup of coffee one day.

      After anxiety eased up, physical distress came into play. It gets better though after each hurdle.

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    • Posted

      Problems with memory, blank staring, absent mindedness, feeling I am not alert. Physically, I had long bone pain, muscle aches, leg jerks, abdominal pain, diarrhea, shoulder pain,, increased lethargy, and d general malaise. Appetite was suppressed so I lost from 188 to 154 in only a few months . Of course the diarrhea did not help with weight retention either. It is getting better but my primary doctor said I would be in for a rocky road when I started to quit everything.
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    • Posted

      Yes to all above

      It's been 43 days off after taking 1200-1800 mg a day for 30 days

      Just when I had one good hour

      And thought this is great, I'm back

      I woke up next day with horrible gastrointestinal issues

      Lasted 8 days like ibs symptoms

      I used to be a math wiz, can't process well

      Going to store for one or two items seems overwhelming

      But it still beats that first week of weaning off or even the second by a long shot.

      Felt like I've been poisoned

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    • Posted

      Am still having lots of joint and muscle pain whcih is why I came off in the first place.  And, like you and Jeshuaschild, abdominal pain and bloating, general gastric upset.

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  • Posted

    and lots and lots of sweating - should be a shadow of my former self by now!!!!
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    • Posted

      That's what I was hoping not to have one issue after another and now having to watch everything I eat or drink and gastro issues continue

      Hopefully better reports to come soon

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    • Posted

      Had awful day today with upset stomach all day.  Working was a joke, every time I ate something I was hit with gastro pain in tummy and back and had to dash to the loo.  Gaba has a lot to answer for.  Never mind, it can only get better I hope.  Am also being retested this week since last bloodwork indicated some inflammatory issues - could be RA, lupus or wondering, due to all the gastro stuff, if I now have IBS or IBD.  Great.
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    • Posted

      Your symptoms sound like side effects and or withdrawal from gabapentin. I wouldn't listen to the doctors until you are cleared of the drugs. More diagnoses equal more drugs and more problems. The drugs for IBS are just as bad as gabapentin. Take it from someone who has had 11 abdominal surgeries revising small bowel.

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    • Posted

      Hi again Maureen

      Were you taking any other drugs in conjunction with the gabapentin?  I talked to my VA GP today and essentially got the same story you have been given.....after 11 days off of it, the gaba should be out of my system and all should be sunshine, lollypops and rainbows going forward.  I must admit that I'm feeling better than I did the first few days after stopping it, but I think I've still got a way to go before I'm back to "normal."  Again, I was only on gabapentin and methadone for 4 months; my only other medications are for cholesterol, BP, and etodolac for an arthiritic ankle, all of which I've taken for years and will continue to take.

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    • Posted

      Nope just Gaba.  Very short course of sertraline (low dose for a few weeks when initially diagnosed with burning mouth syndrome but came off that), On Gaba for around 3.5 months but got lower back and buttock pain very quickly.  Told GP but disinterested.  Back pain continued and joined by hand, elbow and knee pain and various other areas of muscle pain. Have osteoarthritic hip and mentioned other pains to ortho consultant who ran routine bloods.  Showing markers for RA, lupus, inflammatory diseases and being retested this week since one result had insufficient blood to complete that part of the test.  NHS at its best!! Can't even take the right amount of blood!  Am suspicious that gaba has triggered autoimmune issues.  Spoke to paramedic I know whose opinion was that gaba can 'accelerate issues'.  Ie you may have some underlying issues causing you no particular problem and then along comes the gaba to wake them up.  Have also developed Dupuytren's contracture (look it up, it's a thickening of tissue in the hand that curls the fingers).  Is genetic but is triggered by guess what.... ante epilepsy drugs and autoimmune diseases.  You can't make this stuff up!!!!!!

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    • Posted

      Yes. Fentanyl, duloetine(cymbalta), oxycodone, gralise and atenolol. All gone now except I started taking remicade infusion for my analysing spondylitis. Since I stopped everything else I now can walk 2 miles. Not without pain. I still have some pain from a neck fusion in May for the third time but I am managing with 1000mgs of Tylenol. My pain increased drastically for a couple of weeks but now I find the neuropathy in my feet and hand is the same as when taking the meds. The pain in my neck will get better with time but not with all those meds.
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    • Posted

      So sorry Maureen

      It gets better after a month

      Then add a couple of weeks

      Now biggest problem is diahrea and not able to sleep thru night

      I can't eat anything even the BRAT diet without gastro side effects

      And I only had it for one month

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    • Posted

      It defies belief that a prescription drug can cause such big and long lasting changes to metabolism.  

      So how long have you been off the drug now?

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    • Posted

      Jeshuaschild...thanks again for sharing your experiences and for your encouragement.  I hope your issues get resolved and allow you to resume a normal life.  I'm actually starting to feel a bit better now, but still struggle with getting a full night sleep.  I keep telling myself I have to have patience, and I've learned from reading about other peoples' experiences that I can't expect this to be a quick fix.

      I've got to believe that regardless of what the manufacturers say, and what the claimed 1/2 life of gabapentin is supposed to be, this stuff stays with you longer than what we have been told.  Just my opinion, I'm not a physician.

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    • Posted

      Maureen...I agree.  In spite of what the alleged 1/2 life of gaba is supposed to be, I've got to believe that it stays in your system and continues to have an effect for an extended period of time.  But, I've also got to believe that at some point your body has to be rid of it.

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

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