Scary Gabapentin side effects

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Hello all

I started taking Gabapentin for a nerve problem in my foot in November 2015 starting at 300mg and working up to 900mg over 6 weeks. At the end of May this stopped having an effect so the doctor doubled the dose - again increasing in 2 weekly amounts. I stopped at 1200mg as this was working for me and still does now.

However, i have had some pretty nasty side effects. The headaches i can cope with (having been on Prozac for depression for nearly 8 years i had them with that too). Loss of appetite and flatulence were okay too.

I've had foot swelling and anxiety attacks - not okay but the latest episode really scared me. I was walking to the shops and felt my balance going (this happens anyway because of spinal problems) but then i had a terrifying spinning sensation and had to grab a post and couldn't let go. The episode lasted for about 5 minutes but seemed much longer. Fortunately i had a friend with me. He said i looked okay. I know this is one of the possible side effects. Has anyone else experienced this?

I will be making a doctor appointment tomorrow. 

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  • Posted

    Megan,

    Having used Gaba.  for 4 years now I can verify that there really are some scarey side effects from this drug (in fact most ALL Drugs ).  My neurlogist Rx'd me for 300 mg  about 4 times per day, mostly in the evening for my RLS.  And yes It does seem to help minimize....BUT there is a price to pay for the horrible, debilitating side effects that occur over time.  Doctors always want to increase the dosage if the effect seems tobe minimal. This always makes the side effect worse actually in my experience . Dizziness, and balance problems are at the top of the list for me....I am now slowly decreasing my dosage and working to get off of them totally.  It has to be a very slow weaning process as an abrupt withdrawal can be hazardous.  Do an internet search on all the horrible side effects on Gabapentin.  (as well as numerous other drugs, SSRI's included ). You will be astounded.  The severity of side effect must be viewed as  minimized, the way it is being reported.  I'm sure whatever it says....the % are higher .   The Medical establishment keeps feeding us this myth that our phyical problems can be solved by swallowing a pill.  Once started on a med,  Doctors are not usually open to getting you off of them.  You have to listen to your own body and make your own rational decisions about how to get off them.  GOOD LUCK . 

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    • Posted

      I was on Gabapentin about a year ago. 900 mgs. a day. On the third day I woke up to a feeling of confusion. I mean, I forgot how to make a piece of toast! It was frightening. Recently my doctor put me back on it in much lower doses "As Needed " for my PTSD and panic attacks and it's working great! 😍

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  • Posted

    Another thing to consider is:  Are you taking any other medications at the same time as Gaba. ?  Other drugs have some of the same side effects and can compound the already distressing ones you are having.  It is kind of a viscious cycle hard to break from.  In my case I was taking ambien (10 mg), along with the 300 to 1200 mg of Gaba. and also taking Klonopin .5 to 1 mg....all of these daily !  Now.....I don't use ambien any more,  I am down to 1  300 mg Gaba in the evening , and .25 mg of Klonpin in evening for sleep..........I'm going very very slowing in a gradual decrease now......I feel much better and more normal.  I'll keep you posted of my progress.....feel free to contact me  in private msg  if you

    like.  Best regards  

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your PM. I have been taking 30mg Prozac for about a year (was 40mg for the 7 previous years). I was decreasing that gradually via the doctor but that has come to a grinding halt thanks to life events as my depression is reactive. I have Co-codamol max (i'm in the UK so in USA/Canada this is Tylenol 3) on prescription (recently added), Diazepam for nights my mind won't shut up and body won't relax and Lansoprazole to line the stomach when taking max painkillers.

      I'm glad i stopped at 1200mg Gaba as by now i should be on 1800mg. My doctor doesn't know/feel how my body reacts to these drugs - i do. I will be asking to come off them slowly. The pain was bad and it has been good to have relief from it for 10 months even though BOTH feet go dead now after 10 mins walking but the spinning sensation, similar to acute vertigo is a side effect too far as is the anxiety attacks that have recently started.

      Thank you so much for your replies.

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  • Posted

    Gabapentin is a horrible drug with lots of side effects. I was on it and still am for migraines with vertigo...didnt do a thing for me......only took 400 once a day at night...down to 100mg.......by October going to try and decrease it again.....had trouble when I went to once every other day.....someone told me they make a liquid form......so maybe I will be able to drop 10 mg every three weeks.......Good luck.........
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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply Rita. I agree that Gabapentin is a horrible drug. I did a lot of research on it before the doctor said there was really no alternative and it is meant to work well with Prozac in confusing the brain's pain signals. I have 'enjoyed' 10 months of no pain in my feet although they still go tingly and then dead after 10 mins. I find that it creates really bad headaches. When i started on Prozac i had nausea headaches that would last up to 10 days but 8 years on i get very few problems with that particular drug.

      My capsules are 300mg so i will ask the doc about how slow to reduce as i know it must be gradual. They do make a liquid version but the doctors don't prescribe it often as it costs far more than the tablets/capsules.

      Thanks again for your quick response.

      Best wishes 

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    • Posted

      Wish you lots of luck.......I think I tapered off 100 mg every 4 weeks....the problem came in when i reduced the 100mg to every other day.....lol.....Even if it takes another 7 months to come off of it  thats ok....as long as I can get off this med with no withdrawals.........have a good night.......keep posting
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    • Posted

      Hiya Rita

      How long had you been taking Gaba for?

      I only have 300mg capsules so will have to go back to the doc to get lower dosage ones if i am to drop more slowly than in 300mg chunks which i take is not recommended? Do you know what the half life is of Gaba (as in how long a dose stays in your system for)? I am 'lucky' with Prozac as i take a liquid form so can drop in 10mg amounts - that has been 40mg, 30mg, 20mg and back up to 30mg.

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    • Posted

      hi  I was on 400 mg once a day since last July....I am now on 100mg once a day...I would only drop 100 mg every 3 to 4 weeks....i started taking 100 every other day and it didnt agree with me....lol dr says stay on it for a few months i stopped taking depakoe in June....going to see dr soon going to get liquid gabapentin so I can drop 10 mg every 3 to 4 weeks.....maybe 15.....going to take awile but I dont want withdrawals and I need to come off this stuff...not doing anything for me
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    • Posted

      Thanks Rita. Could be fun trying to persuade my doc. When i said i wanted to reduce Prozac he said 'well, you were on 20mg originally before i incresed you to 40mg so go back to 20mg' . Predictably that didn't work. Looks like i will eventually need 100mg, 300mg and 400mg capsules to come off it. Down to 900mg only 400mg and 300mg.

      Very slowly seems to be the general opinion.

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    • Posted

      yes....very slowly.....I am very anxious too......when I went to 100 mg every other day......i started getting very bad headaches day 4 and got very dizzy...did that for 6 days....by that point I was unable to function....by the next day headaches were so much better.....and by the 3rd day I was back to normal......so worried I wont be able to come off this....thats why I need to keep telling myself to have patience...lol.....
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    • Posted

      Hi MarkDavid - i've been off Gabapentin now for 10 months yet still get the occasional vertigo episode which i didn't have at all before starting this horrible drug. My Doc (at the time) refused to let me drop my dosage slowly so i suffered some horrible withdrawal symptoms.

      Despite the drug only having a half life of 5 to 7 hours i have read on this thread of people still having residue side effects a year after stopping taking it. The vertigo cannot be explained by any other reason. I've had numerous blood tests, blood pressure taken and everything comes back clear. 

      I will keep an open mind on why i am still getting side effects.

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  • Posted

    I guess I'm one of the lucky ones and have had no noticeable side effects other than finding myself more forgetful.  This could just be from getting older though.  Not everyone can take the same medicines with the same results.  What works for some doesn't work for others.

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    • Posted

      I am also on Gaberpentin with no side effects, thou i have noticed some weight gain and have reduced from 3 to 2 tablets a day. If i go lower my nerve pain comes back. Its as you say some people it works for and some it doesn't. 

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    • Posted

      Sadly that is true Linda. I had managable side effects when my dose was 900mg - headaches, forgetfulness, worse balance problems than i had before. It was only a few months after i increased to 1200mg that the extra nasties appeared - anxiety attacks and the spinning sensation plus far worse coordination. When i started on Prozac i had virtually every side effect on the list and some lasted for a couple of years as the dose increased. These are now managable and got me out from a very dark place.

      I think my body is slowly rejecting presciption chemical drugs as i can no longer take anti inflammatories and it seems to be reacting badly to Gaba now. I hope you manage to stay side effect free.....i can only wish.

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    • Posted

      I think i am going to have to live with the nerve pain Elizabeth - the lesser of 2 evils. I cannot live my life wondering when the next attack will come. What if it happened when i was driving on a fast road?!
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    • Posted

      I too have gained weight.  Not a good side effect at all.  If I stop taking it altogether, I fear the pain from my peripheral neuropathy will become unbearable.  I don't know what else I can take for this condition.  Thanks for your input.  I am currently on 1800mgs a day! 

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    • Posted

      I never had have had problems with headaches, but of course I do have some balance problems.  I'm currently taking 1800mgs a day.  Just today I dropped 2 of my pills and we'll see how that goes.  Thanks for your input.

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    • Posted

      You are most welcome. I have been contributing on various threads for nearly 8 years now. This is by far the best forum out there. I have tried many.

      You will make it -  it will just take time and i am only just starting my journey. I will keep posting after my doc visit to tell him i want to come off it.

      Best wishes x

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    • Posted

      the same to you.....suppose to see the headache specialist mid October but going to call to get an earlier appt.....so I can start reducing this medicine......I find this to be the best forum too!!! Have a good day!!!lol Do you live in the states???

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    • Posted

      No i live in the UK. So many spinning sensations today..arrgghh but at least i know what they are now. I hope you have a good day too.
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    • Posted

      I was just prescribed gabapentin extended release called Gralise. I'm only up to 900 MG a day so far, and it's helping my horrible pain, numbness and burning in my arms, hands and feet. I will deal with the side effects if it will get me off the narcotics

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