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Potential Long Term Effects Of Gabapentin

I have been on Gabapentin on and off for about 7 months (since approx January). I was taking it for chronic pelvic pain, and it worked well, but it made me very emotional and made higher cognitive functions difficult. After 4 months of semi-regular use, I got off it quickly, but kept it around in case of a severe pain flare up. As of now I have gone through 2 "100 capsule" bottles of 100mg pills, so not too much. Never took a higher dosage then 300mg and never took more than 300mg in one day. 

I've used it a few times recently (in July, just a few weeks ago) when the pain really flared up, thinking it would only have minimal side effects, but it has resulted in continual severe depression and dark thoughts even though I haven't taken any in two weeks. I took it occassionally because I thought the depression was predominantely from the chronic pain, but now I realize the gabapentin was the root of it. I'm terrified because I know the drug has long since left my system but I can't shake the side effects. Doctors and psychologists won't listen to me. They say I'm just depressed and it isn't the medication, but I'm positive it is. The pain is finally improving, I'm going back to school, and things are looking up. But there is this unshakable auora that is plauging me. No matter how hard I distract myself and push through there's this cloud that impares my ability to emotionally and physical function (feelings of detachment, separation, depression, and some suicidal thoughts). Words come slower, it's harder to focus, memory is very dull. I wasn't concered within the first few days, but it's been a few weeks now and I'm alarmed that it doesn't seem to be improving.

Do the side effects ever go away... How long does it take and what can catalyze the healing process? Is it possible to incur permanent damage from a low dosage, or does it take months to heal. Can anyone explain the biomechanics behind how gabapentin can affect patients weeks after usage. 

Hopefully there is an answer and the possibility for recovery, but at the moment things are very frightening. 

277 Replies

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  • william65598 adam3355

    I have been using Gaberpentin for seven months as well. I have been increasing the dosage to manage nerce pain associated with a herniated disc. I am awaiting injections that, hopefully will calm the inflamation, reducing the nerve pain. I had back surgery, sucessfully, 13 years ago, but will try the injections as this MRI, shows minamal herniation. Adam, I truly hope that you find releif, or some other releif from medicine, or possibly surgery. Best wishes, Will

    • liz0705 tracy59216

      Hello Tracy- I'm just following up in your question to William.....are you working with a pain specialist? I am. He's real good at identifying the root cause of my pain and treating it accordingly. I'll be getting my 3rd lumbar injection in 2 weeks. Last I had was a year ago. No one should have to wait more than a couple weeks to get an injection once it is ordered by the doctor.

    • tracy59216 liz0705

      Somehow My answer went to Liz. I have deformed vertebra and maybe arthritis. I have to fly 900 mLies to see my specialist who says I am u operable; been twice in 4 years. Trying to get a new gp and have to travel by car 200 mile round trip to see gp. I have constNt severe sciatica leg pain and feel I am left to suffer for too long. Tried to get off gabapentin to see difference and discovered it is helpful.  I am into month 5 of a 12 month wait for an injection. I am not the same person anymore

    • jwilliams62184 william65598

      If the disc shows up dark on the MRI that means the disc has no fluid in it and it is dead. This can cause what is perceived as nerve pain. There are small nerves on the outer layer of the disc when these are exposed to the fluid from the inside of the disc it causes them to send pain signals. You s j old have a discography to see b if the fluid leaks out of the disc. if so you must remove the disc. I had an artifical disc replacement in Cleveland at the Cleveland Clinic. It's called a disc arthroplasty. I had a brand of artificial disc called a chariot. Check it out it was the best decision I ever had. Later I had to get a fusion below it but the arthroplasty was wonderful.

    • amy12290 jwilliams62184

      i have had 3 injections, the 1st one worked for a bout 3 months but there was pain as the dr injected so he wanted to try the "coddle" for the next one & that did not work, they then tried the pyroformis injection & that did not work. i am going on a year now & just started gabapentin, but your reply intriged me as i was told i have three bulging discs & three that appear to have no fluid & i also have an extra rib on each side & additional discs.... my tailbone is also not nicely curved like normal but more of a sharp L shape..... he did talk about leaking fluid & sending me on to see someone else & possible surgery....... as much as surgery scares me the side effects of this medicine scare me more

    • lesley1954 liz0705

      Hi Liz

      I have been reffered to a pain clinic in September. I am still waiting to go for injection for my neck and back.

      The only thing is, the clinic I have been reffered to, can not take on any more patients, as they are booked up until December.

      So much for not having to wait more than 2 weeks

    • lesley1954 tracy59216

      Hi Tracey

      Your case is very much like mine. My cervical spine is very deformed and I too can not be operated on, as it is too bad.

      I also have problems with my lumber spine, which also can noused to be be operated on, as it would involve multiple discs. I also have continuas pressure on my sciatic nerve.

      I am on Gabapentin too 1,200mg 3 times a day. Not my gp or consultant have said that taking too much is dangerous. My side effects are really bad. My memory has almost completely gone, I struggle with my speech, I have the shakes really bad, and when I sit to rest, my body almost leaves the sofa by jumping. My left arm may as well be cut off as it is now totally useless

      I have been on this high dose for almost 3 years.

      I am a 61 year old lady that feels like I have been thrown on the scrap heap. Its like no one cares. I am on antidepressants and feel sometimes why do I go on. I too am not the same person I u

    • Holly1974 lesley1954

      Hi,

      I have 3 problematic discs in my lumber spine and other issues and irritated sciatic nerve and SI nerve to name a few. I have taken gabapentin 1800mg ( 600mg x 3 daily) , and also transferred to pregabalin to see if any better re side effect profile. I was started on it by pain clinic dr, the GPs really don't know that much about these drugs. I can truly sympathise with your memory probelms and the side effects on my speech too, I am 41 now but was 35 when I started on it. It was fantastic for first 12 months but then gradually I noticed effects with my short term memory, then I was saying things like''put the milk in the washer please'' to the kids etc. and still do. I weaned myself off these meds completely about 6 months ago now, slowly !!, as I got inc. pain every time I dropped down the dose, however I believe as one GP told me there was increasing evidence to support, that over time the body gets used to the dose and receptors adapt and therefore the effect on the pain is less. If you inc. dose past 1800mg daily you are unlikely to see an inc. in benefit re pain but def. would see more side effects. So, I came off. I told the drs about these side effects 5 years ago and was dismissed out of hand, I wish I had listened to my own intuition more. The sysle of pain and the meds we take to relieve it left me feeling like I had no option but to keep taking it. It was on watching the film Still ALice where she has EAD ( and book by Lisa Genova ) and I associated with a lot of the early symptoms that I said enough. and the very next week I started to dec the dose. There are other things that can be tried. pls so not put up with these hellish side effects, I got very down too and ended up on antidepressants and lack of slef esteem and didn;t want to talk to people as much as felt foolish when words came out wrong. Speak to your dr.

    • naria0608 amy12290

      I have 2 slipped discs in my back. One with a7mm pertusion causing pressure on the sciatic nerve which gives constant pain from my tailbone area to the bottom of my left foot. I've tried acupuncture, physical therapy, etodolac, tramadol, neurotic/gabapentin, stretching, ice/hot compress and anything else to avoid surgery. Luckily my disk wasn't damaged and still had the opportunity to avoid surgery. I ended up going to the chiropractor to adjust me enough so I can comfortably have the steroid spine injection. I had two injections and then back to the chiropractor. I went from depending on crutches to help me walk, to standing upright in a month and a half. I love my chiropractor! I don't take any meds and I'm more aware of how to take care of my body. Despite the nay sayers... THE MOST NATURAL HEALER FOR YOUR BACK IS A REALLY CONTENTIOUS AND WONDERFUL CHIROPRACTOR!!! People told me the chiropractor made them worse but that may have been because they didn't do their homework, or their chiropractor just didn't care.

      After getting adjusted, expect some pain for a day or so, then it's nothing but heaven from there. Loosen the muscles with slow controlled movements before adjusting , and ice the area immediately after every adjustment for ten minutes.

    • robin39214 naria0608

      Hi Narnia.

      I am so happy that worked/s for you and you have relief. You are one of the lucky ones. I have degenerative disc and spinal stenosis. Didn't know until in. 2004 when after getting shoved excessively hard I went over a chair and into a cabinet. I am not a lg women, ar

    • kristine58413 lesley1954

      Hi lesley my name is Kristine,i to am struggling with severe side effects,i took neurontin a number of times but never again will i touch the stuff,i had a very depressed emty feeling when i took it,also i hullucinated and thought my mom was hugging a person when it was my own cat! I am currently on seroquel a very small amount and i am trying to wean off,that is making me depressed to. Have you tried to wean off? Have you spoke to your docter?

    • Beowolf kristine58413

      I have been on 1200 mg Gaba for more than 2 years, and 2 months ago I decided to come off it. I went down from 1200 to 300 a day in about a month, and lived trough a undescribable hell. I am 60 years old,a single father, and I also have a addictonal personality. I do not use any other drugs. So I have decided I do not have the time to live trough this hell for the duration, and will stay on it to the bitter end. However, It is doing me a lot of good too, appart from some clumsiness, slight memoryloss and vision problems. But, if I where younger, I would give it a go, but very, very slowly. This drug/poison, is for some people one of the most addictional there is. Some say it is easier to get off heroin. Doctors don`t hav a clue, so keep reading the forums and listen to what people experience. Good luck!

    • victor78781 kristine58413

      Hi Kristine, It's interesting to know that you were on Seroquel. I think that Seroquel and Gabapentin are a nasty combination because it when I got on Seroquel that all my Gabapentin problems began. I now know that my bouts of intense anxiety and suicidal thoughts and abnormal thinking are due to Gabapentin but it all started when I started taking Seroquel. I stopped taking Seroquel and expected all my anxiety problems to stop before I realized it was the Gabapentin and now I'm tappering off of Gabapentin and hoping ofr  successful taper. Wish me luck!!!

      ​Though I do wonder what will happen after I taper off Gabapentin and what will I try next? Maybe Turmeric and rigerous exercise? We'll see. Best of luck to you and I hope you've made progress in the last two months since you wrote your post.

    • kimberly45582 tracy59216

      Hi...I find that massaging the leg and hip when having sciatica pain is starting is helpful especially if you do it as soon as the pain starts. I don't know if that is a possibility for you or if your sciatica pain is constant. But I have been successful at catching it as soon as it starts. I have an electric massager my boyfriend bought me like 8 years ago and it has been very helpful the last 18 months. Sometimes I don't catch it right away or massaging doesn't help but I have had success with massage numerous times so it's worth a try. Wishing you a pain free day smile

    • sandra07610 kimberly45582

      Hi, I too have sciatica and piraformis pain so every morning I cross the one leg in front of the other and bend so that I stretch the muscles. If you do it correctly you can feel the stretch. I went through injections and many procedures and this seems to work better than anything. Remember as you age muscles and tendons tighten. So exercise is so important. 

    • Prz.... lesley1954

      Hi Lesley!!😝 I am so heart broken to read ur post. No one should be in that sort of condition from a medication!!! Have u discussed this w/ur Dr.? I am concerned!! Please keep me posted. I am slowly weining myself if of gabapentin & down to 600 mgs. a day. So far for 4th day. I've had to use ICY HOT & MOTRIN but I feel its safer than gabs. 3 months ago prescribed 1800 mgs a day. Most I took was

    • Prz....

      1500. Oppss. accidently sent. Worked briefly then all HELL broke loose w/my body. Long story short, found gabs was cause. Later, curious about side effects, I checked the "net" & posed ? on this forum. Be good to yourself, OK?

    • Irishnurse lesley1954

      Wow I can relate to the doctors not really caring all that much. I had a laminectomy in 2014 after multiple injection failures. I was 36. I have been on it ever since as I have chronic back pain. The surgery worked although I have just a weakened leg in general. My back pain started up bad again this past summer. Both sides and straight through my back. My doctor basically told me that I could take as much gabapentin as I wanted and prescribed me 1800 mg for one script then she wrote a second script for 100 mg tablets and I can fill that whenever I want. So here I am thinking I can take all of this gabapentin not realizing that it's going to hurt me. I've built a tolerance to it and now I am sick from it I believe. I don't know what my point is here as I just drink a cup of coffee and I'm chatty but I read your post and I'm sorry that you have to go through this

    • Irishnurse Beowolf

      Wow! I'm 39 years old and I've been on gab since my laminectomy in 2014. This March I'll be sober two years although my doctor has me on anywhere from 2000 mg a day and up. I should've known it was coming when I just started popping them like candy now I have to wean myself off of them and I'm terrified. I believe that everybody should trust their own bodies and doctors push way too many medications.

      Xx

    • Sally1957 Beowolf

      I have been off of gabapentin for 61/2 months now. I was taking 1200 mg and I first went down 300 mg and it was HELL!!! After recovering from that and with the help of some nutritional supplements, I started tapering down 100 mg every 3 weeks and that made it much easier to go down. The last remaining 100mg was the hardest to come off of but I did it! Anyway, even though I am still taking the nutritional supplements, I still have my days where I feel like crap.  This has left me feeling very depressed and I don't know if this is coming from the fact that I am no longer on gabapentin. I do take an antidepressant. I do recall another woman said she has issues with depression as well once being off the gabapentin.I can't stand living this way much longer. I can hardly walk very far anymore and my legs are weak. Has anyone else had this problem going off of gabapentin?  This drug is a poison and I wish I had ever taken it!! Thank you!

    • Rener jwilliams62184

      I hope Your still happy with SBCharite. I was in 2001 disc Study. Texas Back Institute one of the first ones done. It was a terrible choice. I still regret making decision. For the lumbar area of spine the outcome doesn't look too promising still in2017! Research and don't take Just trust Doctors reason! You may find out too late that They just want to write it up! They lol! Mislead you!! Wasn't funny but some did a Congressional Review Board!

    • Rener

      Oh yea! Gabapentin. Please make sure it's a good medication for You. A dangerous drug that shouldn't be prescribed off label. Yes it will make you suicidal. Time will tell how long recovery if possible. As for Me I'm in same boat there. Your not alone! As for Makers I'm not sure if They know because no 2 minds are alike! Plus at first it was claimed to be safe and not addictive. Not true!  Just bad or worse than any opium or benzo!  You can't breath!  Couldn't hold Me down in ICU during a withdrawal from it. They didn't know I was on it. Nothing worked for Me until I was dosed with it! Calmed right down! Upper respiratory infections are side effect. I hate to say it but ICU has become a 2nd home. In 4 years I went from 2 to 22 medications!!  Please be careful with stopping. I understand it's a process for a professional to help with. Very slow!  Good luck

    • Rener Prz....

      All hell broke loose in Your body?!!3600 mg per day and I know what that means!  I don't know anything literallly that gabapentin didn't destroy. Trying to pick up pieces as I withdraw to see total damage!  Good luck and God Bless! Sn

    • Fourwnds Prz....

      Hi, I have been on GABA since May/June started with 300mg then 600mg, and I've gotten as high as 1500mg as symptoms seem to need more to go away. Tingling, burning pretty much jumping around my body. Have some back issues but that's become secondary to the above now. I'm starting to think this GABA is actually causing it now instead of helping. It started out helping the pins-needles I was going through after I cold turkey end the Lorazipam. I had no idea what that was when my dr prescribed for sleep when having acute spasm episodes. Anyway I was curious what you went through and if maybe you any info to share with me as this is driving me to some dark places at times. I just keep hoping it's going to go away. Thank you!

    • teri 16438 sandra07610

      I had back surgery a year ago for a collapsed L5 it was causing pain in my buttocks and my left leg. I received relief in my leg but the pain in my buttocks is still there. When I take the gabapentin it helps but after hearing all the side effects I have started reducing my dose to 300mg a day. I do stretching exercise every morning and evening. I fell that it helps. Good luck to you on your recovery 

    • sandra07610 teri 16438

      Hi Terry 

      i am having the same problem but it was the result of passing out (anemia) and falling down cement steps. The pain is sharp and goes down my leg. I had back injections for sciatica and piriformis tear. I was on Gabapentin for four years and felt horrible. Couldn’t remember anything and felt like I was in a cloud. I would spike fevers for no reason. Well, I had a good case of poison oak and had to see a physician that was covering for my fmd. I told him how I was feeling and he told me to get off it so I weaned off almost for nine months. I was lucky as I didn’t have the withdrawal symptoms everyone is writing about. But I don’t think anyone withdrew as slow as I did. I feel great. Head is clear but buttocks and leg are not. Are they any worse now? No, it is the same and at times the pain escalates.  It I exercise and ice and get through it. A new doctor told me to walk and turn my feet in with long strides. Yes you must be careful but it works to stretch the piriformis and get it off the sciatic. Best place to do it is with a shopping cart in a store. Don’t overstretchas that can make it worse. Yes, I thought Gabapentin was the miracle drug but I really changed my mind. Only good thing is I lost 15lbs. Due to stomach problems and I am not over weight but a smaller jean size is good. But don’t  let that influence you. Some complain of weight gain and definitely, your bra size will change. Good luck.

    • carolyn94900 Sally1957

      Hi Sally,

      Thanks for your story!

      I have been on 500mg Gabapentin for 1 1/2 yrs for severe Neuropathy and now I'd like to withdraw from it. At first I thought it helped....so continued.  But now I believe it is causing inflamation in my body to the point of burning in my chest, back, face and especially the lips.  My doctor wants me to increase the dosage...I will not as I already expect to be hospitalized if I can't withdraw.  I was on Codeine for years, plus Valium for almost daily migraines, the drugs, I think, caused the Neuropathy.  Reading your story has helped me with what to expect from withdrawal from the Gabapentin....I thank you and wish back to being healthy.  

      Carolyn

    • juan76 victor78781

      Hello, I think what you have is called a miofascial syndrome which is muscle spams and pain that can ceat pain in other places. For example, if a muscle is too tight , it could be because there is a problem with a nerve or a muscle itself. By using foam rollers, doing stretches you are actually releasing the muscle that might be contracted creating an instant pain relief.  That usually happens to me, I usually do the same stretches as you in order to e.g. Pain relief but it last just for a she. What it needs to be done is looking for tight , contracted muscle and pit pressure on them for at least 30 seconds. That will release the muscle contraction  and elimination of reducing the pain. I have pelvic pain , it seems I manage stress and an Jett by tensing my pelvic. This creates tight muscles in my buttocks area and this type of action creates and iradiates pain all over my pelvis, more importantly my sexual organs, I feel pain,  burning and a constant vibration but according to my doctor this happens not because my sciatica, pudendal nerver or pyriformis are affected but because there are tight muscles being overwork and this creates the contraction and spams of the muscles and believe it or not a tight muscle can irradiate pain that is similar to nerve pain. Many times the nerve is not damage but instead the miscles are too tight.

    • kelly93450 juan76

      We delete content if it doesn’t meet the requirements in our Terms & Conditions.

    • joyce77666 sandra07610

      Hi there Sandra! I have the same problems with pain from the same things.  My spine doctor showed me the same stretch which I have never tried out since it looked too simple, but I will certainly try it !  I will get back to you. Warm regards, Joyce

    • Rener carolyn94900

      I'm trying to follow  what is being discussed. Since I began gabapentin and through brain fog it's taken me this long plus every Doctor I've seen quoting the same thing which is it a safe effective medication for pain. Well my lab numbers are so bad!  I went from 4 to 22 meds. As soon as I began gabapentin I began having severe problems. Increase dose always the answer. 5 years now. I went from 3600 mg per day to 1100 since aug. I've had over 20 hospital stays which at least 15!were ICU. There is a huge problem with this med. phizer hit it big convincing Doctors it's good and for everything. How many deaths will it take for this non addictive but body dependent med for anyone in Government to care?!  I'm soooo mad. Please help me with this pelvic pain and I will be forever greatful!! It's a 10 daily. I know because tears hit my face before I know what's going on when I wake up!  I pass out in pain, I know because I'm talking and 30 minutes later I wake up to someone saying you passed out again pain so bad you think should I keep taking this pain daily?  Damn straight!  Don't give up until we get our answers. Gabapentin is poison!! It's worse than any benzo or opiate I've ever taken   Write your Congress and senate!  Get the word out!  It was a no money making med until phizer figured out how to make money. Now it's great for everything! Yep! I have a autoimmune disease, chronic infections, plus everything else it seems! Thank you! Phizer for making money off my health. Merry xmas to all the presents you can buy because I'm permeantly disabled thanks to you!! 

    • juan76 Rener

      Hello, have you ever been diagnosed  by a doctor? If you want please send me a message letting me know your symptoms , what kind of pelvic pain do you experience? Where? Are you anxious? Being under a lot of stress? Let me know. I too suffer from pelvic pain .  I need your answer to know if you have the same symptoms as me that way I will be able to help you. Thanks

    • Rener juan76

      Many Specialist have been trying to diagnose me. It's electrical, burning throbbing and all kinds of pain. It started with use of gabapentin. I realize it now. Took 5 years but brain fog and every Doctor claiming No way had me confused. I've almost died and not exaggerating. I believe if looked into it will be found gabapentin was a or is factor!!  My Mom watched her Mom wake up from pain and stupor after decreasing dose. I went from 3200 mg to 3600 mg and could no longer work or discuss my own healthcare with my Primary. He ignored the 20 hospital stays and said if you feel sick on to ER!  I'm talking septic shock phnueminia, low sodium 117. High potassium a 7!  I don't make it up. It's proven plus now Addison's disease. I'm 54 bi would've noticed nowhigh steroids have no immune system!! I'm mad!  Help get me out of the pain and I'm ready to fight for the PTSD I SUFFER FROM TOO!, 

    • kelly93450 juan76

      Do you think that your pelvic pain could be due to a tumor or male anatomy issues (xrays, mri or ultrasounds?), or from tight muscle or ligaments pulling on your hip bones?

      One other question, per the Gabapentin, at this point, do you happen to have sweating from it? I am having severe burning up, sweating, & burning nerve pain all over all the time and I'm trying to eliminate what it could be.

    • b2wc97455 Rener

      hi Rener,

      I couldn't help but hae to post a note here..well I worked for Pharmacaeutical Company as an ex Medical Rep.In my opinion, medicine prescribed by doctors and produced by any pharmaceutical companies are rally to help TEMPORARILY (if the patients could not bear it) however ..human being generally will not stand the pain...I used to advice the doctors or specialists to issue gabapentin only after they had been advice to change their life style..and come back after 3 months to see what happen..just like other medicine which contain opioid (tramadol, morphine) etc..also when the were prescribed as human being you need to read the leaflets inside the packet - each pharmaceutical company provides information such as : do's and Don't, contra indication, side effect..etc..etc..so as human being if been prescribed any drug..then not read what is in it..would that be the mistake of the doctors/pharmas or patients??, I detested my self to take any medicine - because I know despite thousands peoples were being tested on clinical trial prior the drugs being approved by FDA...it is chemical..anything foreign to be absorbed by your body..WILL POTENTIALLY HAVE SIDE EFFECT, although each individual are diferent..but our body is not as fragile as people think..a short limited period of using this help (medicine) is OK..say 2 - 3 months..after that..I think we are only abusing our own healing power, because if every one keep relying in to chemical to synthesizing or replacing our own cell with GOD give us to regularize the work balance of our organ, etc..etc..I used : Gabapentin for 2 months, Tramadol for 3 months, Topiramate, Morphine, Steroid..BUT ITS ONE OFF LIMITED PerIOD ONLY..despite the pain I used to have i let my body work on it..but temporarily that medicines help me A LOT..the issue is lies on the patients themself as well, the health care professionals..never force their patients to take any drugs...it is up to US to take our Own responsibility of OUR HEALTH.

      I hope this help.

      Think about it..people live longer now than 100 years ago..due to medicine...so in a way..using it sensible will definitely help to heal our self...

      I hope that would give a broad open minded opinion, not bcause I used to work for Pfizer or GSK or AstraZeneca..but its because..that is the truth..Pharmaceuticals have to sale drugs to get their RETURN OF INVESTMENT - as doing clinical trial cost them millions..or billions....

    • deontai0520 lesley1954

      Sorry to hear this I pray that God will lessen the pain that you have to endure. Im only 35 and I can relate to the shocks one's body feels because of spinal pain. I had one compressing my spinal cord. And had surgery for it to only return.

    • joe1joey b2wc97455

      After reading your offering, I paused to consider if my visceral reaction was appropriate for a forum such as this one, where the focus ... motivation say, is one of collective concern.

      Peace be with you.

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