I've been on gabapentin for about 2 weeks. Will I experience withdrawal symptoms if stopped?

Posted , 5 users are following.

I've been prescribed gabapentin for about two weeks. I started at 100 mg 3x day for 2 days and then eventually went up to 600mg in the morning, 300mg in the afternoon and 600 mg at night. I have been on that dosage for about a week. The side effects (tremors, rapid eye movement, lack of coordination) are far outweighing any benefit that it was prescribed for (anxiety and some neuropathy) Yesterday after talking to my dr i started a taper down to 300mg 3x a day. Should i expect any withdrawal symptoms or just the usual awful side effects I've been having?

0 likes, 14 replies

Report

14 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm sorry that you got caught in this mess Jeff. I've been on it for almost 3 years due to shingles and have been tapering after the first two months when I was at 2700 mg, I'm now at 400 mg per day. Here's some basic info. Gab's an epilepsy drug that MAY also help only two other types of pain but only small nerve diabetic neuropathy. Most doctors are unaware of proper dosing (it should be 3-4 similar doses each day, you've got a big difference in those doses) it has a myriad of side effects, some which can be permanent in some people and that getting off it is a long, slow process. Doctors are only starting to understand this. You can read the emotional and physical side effects elsewhere, I won't list them all here, but yes, that's what you're dealing with .

    The short answer is, generally 2 weeks is the window to start to taper or stop without too many problems However, as you've got some nasty side effects already, like me and many others, it reacts very badly with your brain and body. Groups familiar with gab, benzoids etc. recommend a 10% or less drop over 4 weeks or more. I also wonder if your doctor only gave you 300 mg pills. It's best to use 100 mg so it's easier to increase or decrease more carefully. You will likely have some withdrawal. Often what symptoms you have starting the drug will be the same as you decrease. You will likely have more pain and anxiety. It's NOT "real" pain, i.e. the neuropathy, it's caused by the brain and the nerves. The same way an amputee "feels" pain in a missing limb, the nerves set off those signals. Yeah, it will hurt, but remind yourself, it will get better.

    Ask for 100 mg pills, even out those doses so you can drop by just 100 mg for one dose, that may decrease the interdose withdrawal you may be getting when you had 600 300 and 600 Gab drops its "effectiveness" at about 4-5 hours, so at that interval, you may notice more side effects. Do NOT stop cold turkey. It can be very dangerous. "Slowly" in the gab world is very different than doctors realize. Read as much as you can, go to gab groups here or on Facebook, read about benzoid or opioid withdrawal and support groups to get a better understanding. It may seem daunting, but if you go to fast or too drastically in a decrease the withdrawal will be much worse and last much longer.

    You will probably have some WD from that drop you're doing now, and it may take a while to show up. It doesn't always happen in hours or days. Slowly and patiently will help and be grateful you found out so quickly. It may be that you won't have much problem as it's only been two weeks, but we're all different. Hang in there!!

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      This explanation here by babs99203 is the best explanation and the best advice I have ever seen on this issue. I have spoken about the fact that Gabapentin is a terrible drug that should not be prescribed in the first instance if there were alternative drugs.

      I was prescribed because of suspected trigeminal Neuralgia. I stopped taking it suddenly without my GP's advice thinking I don't need it anymore because my health issue was resolved and I ended up at A&E and almost lost my life for stopping. I am still battling with the sore/pain underneath my rib cage near my heart on the left side of my chest. So, as adviced, don't ever stop taking it (cold turkey) without the assistance of your GP. It has to be tapered down - meaning calculated on mg to reduce it gradually until you are finally off it.

      The good news is, I am completely off it today (from 900mg to 1200mg) per day to zero now. I had to reduce in doses of 100mg each per session till I finally got of it.

      If i can, you too can, under proper supervision and advice.

      I wish everyone the best luck. You will definitely need it.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you for the info and support! I should mention that i was given it mainly for the anxiety i was having after going to detox for alcohol. Drinking off and on for 3 months but, pretty hard. Now the tremors and eye moment just make the anxiety worse. There weird thing is, around the time I'm supposed to take my afternoon dose , I do feel my least anxious. I should definitely

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      There are a few people who feel less anxiety (or more numb/sedated) but on my CVS bottle, it actually warns of "fear" being a side effect. Many people get anxiety or even panic attacks from the drug. What it can help (?) it can also cause. Remember, this drug directly works with the brain and the nerves, which affect the Central Nervous System. There are people who have few side effects of the drug or problems getting off, but as those of use who get problems have it really negatively impact us, I'd always err on the side of caution. I think that over 40% of us have problems. The medical community is slowly becoming aware, but the UK is WAY ahead of the USA.

      Also know that using it with other drugs or alcohol can cause an increase in problems. Some doctors keep throwing another drug at the patient such as Xanax or Cymbalta, which makes it worse, as now the brain is really struggling and the patient has to carefully taper (we don't say wean). So please consider avoiding any additional substance that can alter you, it can make your symptoms much worse, I mean legal or illegal substances.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks Yabatan,

      I'm in several groups for the drug, do a lot of research and by sheer chance have met and written to doctors who have done research on similar drugs and on shingles/PHN. I've also worked as a medical secretary for over 30 years so I picked up a little understanding of the health field through that. The internet has a lot of garbage but there are many accurate and helpful support groups out there. I've learned so much from them. So I try and pay it forward. I was familiar with Neurontin as an epilepsy or pain (?!) drug, but only slightly. When I got shingles, which as many know, is excruciating, I trusted my doctor. Now, almost 3 years later, the drug, even tho I'm at a greatly reduced dosage, has a terrible impact on my life. I want others to avoid the worst problems.

      As you've learned, the only way to deal with this drug is to VERY slowly reduce it and be patient. There are no quick fixes. You can learn about dealing with chronic pain, or I support CBT, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and counseling and/or life style changes. More meds aren't the answer. It's not easy, I'm having a very hard time myself now with the gab induced depression (one of my major withdrawal symptoms). But as I've been thru it before, I know it will get better. I just have to wait it out.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Yes I agree with you wholly Yabatano regarding babs99203

      I Have been on gabs for 8 years

      on 3600 mgs a day starting at5-30am and finnishing up at last thing at night before i get into bed.

      I Take them for nerve damage and a problem with my back.I Also take heart tablets and to go with the gabs i take co-codamol.

      Yes I get all the side effects that come with them, the worse one is memory loss, then theres tiredness , aching bones,having said all this they do help to stop a lot of the nerve pain. I Have tried to come off the gabs a while ago but could not cope with the cold turkey, so i guess i am stuck with them for the long term . My wife has a lot to put up with me being

      stuck on drugs for the long term.

      Good luck to people who can get off the gabs and then cope with out them, unfortunately i couldnt do it .

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      You've been through a lot John. I can understand if you tried cold turkey and the hell it causes why you'd be nervous about getting off it. If you ever wish to try, I gave the basics here. It's hard at times, I won't lie, But I am SO much better physically, emotionally and mentally than I was before. Thousands and thousands of people have also done it. Good luck.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you for your kind reply there are people who do not have a clue what we have to go through to ease our pain .many thanks

      JOHN

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      I think the only people are those who are caught in the middle with the pain and the drugs. Our family and friends may try, but they can't understand. I will say that it wasn't only the side effects that got me off the drug. I had two other concerns. Long term use of the drug can cause several health problems and I think in my case (and a few others have had this too) the drug is actually causing me more pain.

      I have PHN, which is nerve damage and pain that lasts after shingles. I always worried that as the dosage dropped the pain would increase. Guess what, except for the increased pain during the taper, which is brain/drug induced NOT my "real" pain, the pain is constantly decreasing too. Some people don't have much improvement in PHN, for others, it does slowly improve. Now that I'm almost off the drug, the pain is MUCH less. There are still activities I avoid which aggravate and inflame those nerves (too much bending, reaching, lifting) so I modify my normal routines. But I often wonder how much this damn drug actually extended my pain. I had to quit working because of the pain from the PHN and the memory/cognitive issues I have from the drug. I still can't work or even volunteer as my memory, cognition and emotions aren't dependable. But I'm much happier and healthier as I decrease.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Babs99203

      Yes there are many issues with gabapentin and affect every one differently . It has helped me to rid most of my nerve pains but has some horrible side effects. You have to work out which is best for yourself. There are people who manage to work while taking gabapentin because every one is different and there bodys cope in other ways, If you can manage with out this drug good luck to you and hope you can get better off it.

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    You are lucky; and I must say very lucky. Please don't advice anyone to come off Gabapentin at 300mg. It is extremely dangerous and I think you are just 1% of the lucky few to come off at that. Read the manufacturers manual and see what I mean.

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Yabatan, as long as people research their options on how to taper, and are very careful, have support and are educated as to the risks and trials they will face, there are varying opinions on how and when to stop the drug once you get to a much lower dose. When one is down to 300 mg for the day, 100 mg 3 times a day, some people continue to taper very slowing, either by titration i.e. dissolving the capsule's contents in water, then decreasing that liquid by 10%, divide the dose into 3 equal amounts and taking that liquid. Or others get liquid gabapentin, and decrease that amount by 10%. Others believe that once you are down to 300 me PER DAY TOTAL, that it's highly unlikely to get severe withdrawal symptoms or PAWS-Prolonged Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. That's what people can get by going cold turkey or even dropping too quickly or by too high an amount. So there are 3 options once you're at 300 mg.

      I'm planning on stopping eventually at 300 mg. It can be looked at being miserable for 3 more tapers, or just being miserable for one. As I've been tapering very slowly I've been lucky. Yes, I go thru withdrawal, but compared to what I had when I took 2 or 4 weeks between tapers, it's much easier. I now wait 10-14 weeks, for my body to heal and stabilize. During that 14 weeks, I have many weeks of much improved memory, mood and almost no pain. I get my worst WD problems about 5 weeks after my 100 mg drop. Then I'll have varying levels of depression, fatigue, increased pain, confusion and mood swing for about 3-5 weeks. I also plan my tapers around major personal events such as Christmas or vacations. Before I knew what was going on, I kept a strict schedule and ruined vacations and holiday. Now I feel good for a few weeks and drop again. This method is an acceptable and widely used one, as is titration. To me, titration and micro-dosing is too consuming. The pills can't be cut, so once one gets to 300 mg/day, they have to make a decision as to what method they think is right for them. Going to 200 mg/day can be difficult as you're taking it only twice a day, so the inter-dose withdrawal could be just as bad as stopping totally.

      Report Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up