gabapentin withdrawl symptoms

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so I have been taking neurontin since 2013 for back pain..... I no longer need it and was taking 600 mg every evening and then I noticed I was getting a vasculitis on my legs from it ( in particular when it was hot and I was on my feet all day or playing tennis).  I have learned to manage my pain and I no longer need the neurontin for pain but I have become dependent on it for sleep. I went off it for a week and my sleep problems got worse ( 2 hours per night) and then I wasnt sleeping at all.  Desperate for sleep I took 600 mg and slept.  I took 300 mg the next night and was not able to sleep.  The following night I decided not to take any neurontin and was able to sleep better than I do on the neurontin.  Last night, no neurontin, no sleep.  I have suffered from insomnia for years but have times when I am able to sleep.  I normally function pretty well without sleep but I am noticing I am more anxious than normal. ideas?

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Cheryl,

    Sorry to hear about your sleep however I'm pleased your pain is reduced enough to come of the gabapentin.

    I think you will go through a withdrawal phase and you may have to tough it out for a bit. I would suggest tiring yourself out as much as you can in the day both physically and mentally. Try doing some puzzles like Suduko a couple of hours before bed. Have a nice warm bath before bed with Epsom salts of magnesium flakes, make your room as comfortable as possible and read in bed for as long as you can until your eyes become heavy. If you can't drop off don't get annoyed just try and relax or get up and try again in an hour.

    You can also get melatonin supplements which are supposed to help Or some nytol type supplemements. 2 blue nytol normally work well for me or there is some supplements on Amazon called sleep aid which work great for me and my partner. They probably work the best. They are old school antihistamines and normally knock us out within half hour.

    You can try lavender oil or spray on your pillow.

    I'm sure you know most of the above but I hope some of it helps. I hope you get some much needed rest and good luck with the withdrawal.

    Take care

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    • Posted

      thanks!  I have used doxylamine in the past and I ended up using it last night.. I have taken melantonin for years and even tried L-tryptophan.  The problem is my body gets used to it and then it doesn't work. I will try the Epsom salts... I do have magnesium oil and flakes that I have used but don't really notice a difference.  I take a sustained release magnesium that really helps with the pain... I will check out the sleep aid.....
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    • Posted

      The sleep aid are Kirkland ones and they are the doxylamine succinate.

      I don't know if you have a smart phone but there are a few free guided sleep apps or some with just sounds of rain etc.

      As a teenager I suffered badly with sleep and my mum gave me a rickety old cassette that was some guy basically going through all of the muscles from the head to the toes individually and u had to tense each one and hold then relax, after doing that for 20 mins it used to get me off to sleep quite well.

      Perhaps try lying in bed and tensing holding then letting go through each muscle group and see if that helps

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  • Posted

    Hi Cheryl, what about trying with Magnesium Oil massage it all over your body (ask some one to do it for you) wait for over 30 minutes have a shower or a bath after that make sure do it 1 or 2 hour before you going to bed - I am off pharmaceutical drugs due to the side effect for a longer use of the treatment...any natural theraphy is better...magnesium have been proven to heal lots of condition (have a look at any website)  hop it help
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    • Posted

      thanks!  I have mag oil and use it to soak my feet in the day and spray it on my feet before bed but I haven't noticed it helped me sleep.  It definately helps my pain.  Some people get energized from it so I should do it earlier in the day..... I will try it!
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  • Posted

    I am so glad you are coming off Gabapentin for a start.  I agree with all the other answers but particularly about the advice about not getting uptight about not getting any sleep.  Like you I have spent many years struggling to get to sleep and the best way I deal with it is to do a bit of light physio before getting out of bed and occupying myself.  It is a case of going through possibly many nights without sleep but the rewards at the end will be freedom from a drug that it is dangerous for you to stay on and that only helps a small proportion of those who are on it, and for the rest of us have caused terrible side effects and appalling anxiety when trying to get off.  Persevere my dear!  Magnesium is good.  Bananas in the evening I have also found useful (potassium).  Keep it as natural as possible as you don't want to become addicted to OTC drugs like certain antihistamines - they can wind up causing the anxiety you suffer from now as well as emotional dependence.  I wish you all good luck with this and I can promise you that it can be done and I was on 900 at night, if I can do it anyone can!  Please, please follow doctor's advice about coming off slowly as these drugs can cause convulsions if you go cold turkey or do it too quickly. All the best.
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    • Posted

      Thanks! I took 150 mg last night and still could not sleep, so I took another 150 mg and it still didnt work.  I ended up taking some doxylamine ( unisom) and I was able to get a few hours sleep and feel much better today. I guess I need to call my pain management dr and get a suspension of gabapentin so I can slowly wean off it, 30 mg per week??
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  • Posted

    Just thought I would catch up with you to see how you are getting on.  Reduction is a slow old boring business but sadly necessary.  It took me months to get down to 50mg at night and same in am.  Then 25mg am and 50mg at night for weeks. 50mgs in pm for several weeks, 25mg every night for 5 weeks and finally 25mg every other night, then every 2 nights etc which took another 7 weeks.  It was the last few months that were the hardest. I take Ubiquilone (the active part of CoQ10) which gives me a little energy and sense of well being in day and I feel helps me to sleep.  Ditto vit b12 drops in morning (never night!) which has the dual beneficial effects of re-building cells and giving me a bit more energy duriing day to wear myself out with a bit of hydrotherapy which helps me sleep a bit better. I find routines play a part in getting through both day and night.  Small regular meals like porridge cooked with chopped apple or raisins (not together or you fart!), a yoghurt and half a dozen soaked almonds and small amounts of protein like cheese and pear or grapes or half a tuna sandwich with salad,  Homemade soups are very comforting. I feel better all round by avoiding nightshade group (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes etc.). Keep things simple and above all, avoid people with stress, I find it can be catching!  All good luck.   
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  • Posted

    Hti there,

    That is good that you can get out from your medication, make sure you inform your gp about it...the less you taking the medication the better. I used to have a terrible back pain with my fibromyalgia, but a friend of mine advice me to get a magnesium oil.., so I get that and spray it every evening before sleeping after shower., I drink 2 littres warm water with fresh lemon and fresh ginger each day..mostly two glasses before sleeping..after 3 weeks..eventhough I go to the toilet a lot..I sleep better and no more back pain..and no more gabapentin or any other medication 

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