Reducing Gab, no good info available

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I don't regret (I think) using Gabapentin. I was at 2400 mg/day and am now tapering off as my shingles/PHN  which started back in October are improving. However, trying to find info good medical about how to taper is almost impossible! I'm working with my doctor and he sort of left it up to me, knowing I'd do it gradually. I'm going down about 100 mg every two weeks, but I believe I can speed that up. Originally he had me dropping 300 mg (100 with each dose), but that was too much. So I added 100, stayed at that for weeks and now am dropping 100 mg/day, over a two week period.

The only info I could find said either 10% reduction or 25% reduction. Then I found a research paper that there ISN'T any clear recommendation, that it's all over the place! Thanks guys! Put us on it and don't tell us how to get off of it!

Luckily, my niece the pharmacist called and agreed that 100/day over 10-14 days would be prudent. There can be side effects if you do it too quickly. Ironically the side effects are similar to either shingles (fatigue, confusion, depression, itching) or what happens when you start the Gab! I've also learned that Lyrica can be a better drug than the Gab, but it would have been too hard to switch.

So good luck everybody!

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Yes, Lyrica has much lesser side effects that Gab. 
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  • Posted

    I'm down to 100 mg of Gabapentin once a day. They don't make a smaller dose than 100 mg. and I can't cut mine in half as it is a gel capsule. Wondering how I should taper from 100 mg to none. All I can think of is to take one every other day for a while before stopping. Any suggestions?

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  • Posted

    I have had PHN since summer of 2008. I first was given Lyrica. It gave some relief at first. It made made me feel foggy. Plus had weight gain. So my Dr switched me to Gabapentin. Eventually I weaned myself off that. My Dr had me wean off of it over a three week period. I decreased it by taking less doses 3 times a week. It worked well for me.. I know just use Aspercreme with 4% Lidocaine.

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  • Posted

    Hi Babs. If you're taking 2400 mg daily, that's not too bad I'd say. I'm on +3600 and recently switched to Lyrca, so switching over from the Gab is something I'm doing carefully. In your case, I'd say reducing by 100mg per day isn't much and if you can keep to that, 3-4 weeks and you'll be done. Back to normal. sadly though, I hear from others on this site and my own feeling too is that 'normal' is a state of mind. For me, this pain (PHN on the right side of the head) is with me every day - so that's what I'd call normal, and it's been like this for more than one year now. You need to get your doctor to be completely honest with you about your condition. I hope that's helpful and good luck to you Babs!

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    • Posted

      Ron, it will be just 100 mg decrease for 10-14 days, then repeat. It will take many months to get off it. I may be able to faster, if it goes well. I agree with Jamie. Gab is a really powerful drug and has to be tapered carefully.
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  • Posted

    When I went from Gaba to Lyrica I went down a 100mg a day for a week than 200mg a day (was on 3200 a day) so it took awhile but I didn't get withdrawls.  I found the Lyrica had worse side effects but helped my burning much more than the Gaba did. 

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