Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Gabapentin - for sleep not pain?

I'm betting this is the forum where the gabapentin experts hang out....I was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease and insterstitial Lung Disease last year, and have been taking hydroxychloroquine and prednisolone ever since. This has worked well for my lungs and swollen joints etc, but I have developed extreme fatigue and weakness. Recently, my rheumatologist has suggested that I may have developed FM.

He believes that my fatigue could be remedied by improving my sleep quality. My fatigue has improved a bit since starting on amitriptyline (up to 30mg), but it remains a big problem.

He has now prescribed gabapentin to further improve sleep quality. However, I am nervous about taking yet another powerful medication, especially as I have NO PAIN symptoms.

Any thoughts or experiences would be very welcome.

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Hello whisperit

Firstly may I wish you a very warm welcome to the forum :)

You are certainly right that many of us take Gabapentin for our pain and I am one of them.

Gabapentin is actually an anti epilepsy drug that is very commonly used for Fibro sufferers.

I have never heard of it being used for sleep before.

I am no medical professional but I don't know any of our members who have been prescribed Gabapentin for sleep.

I can explain it to you in further detail, but basically if you do have Fibromyalgia you will not be able to improve your sleep.

Lack of sleep is what causes Fibro rather than it being a symptom.

Pretty much all of us are unable to sleep.

It is the lack of REM sleep that triggers Fibro.

I am interested in the fact that you do not have any pain. Do you have fatigue?

The main symptoms of Fibro are pain & fatigue.

If you take a look at our mother site you'll find a list of the most common symptoms of Fibro fmauk.org

I hope I have answered most of your question as best as I can.

Once again a warm welcome and I hope you enjoy the forum.

Wishing you a peaceful day

Lu x

Administrator

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Thank you, Lu,

Yes, I don't have pain symptoms, but I do have profound fatigue - so much so that I have become almost housebound for the past year or so.

As I understand my rheumy's reasoning, he believes that I have developed FM as a result of chronic sleep problems that have only developed since I began treatment for my auto-immune disorder. The gabapentin is supposed to help restore deep, refreshing sleep and so alleviate the fatigue.

Thanks for the welcome - I am a regular on the LupusUK forum, but guessed that you might have more experience to share over here! x

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Hi again :)

Do you mind me asking who said this:

"The gabapentin is supposed to help restore deep, refreshing sleep and so alleviate the fatigue."

Firstly it wont restore sleep, that's for sure and secondly there is NO medication that can help with fatigue - unfortunately.

I wonder whether you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome rather than Fibro?

It could be that you are just very tired due to the meds that you are having to take?

I don't know what your thoughts are? Do you have Lupus too? Lupus symptoms are very similar to Fibro symptoms.

Lu xx

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Thanks Lu,

My AI diagnosis is of UCTD, which is closely related to lupus.

It's my rheumatologist who suggested that the gabapentin might restore healthy sleep and so relieve the fatigue - as mentioned in @Harper27 's post below, he maintains that gabapentin can help increase slow-wave sleep.

I'm very willing to go with the idea of improving sleep, but, given its possible side effects, I wonder if gabapentin is the best way to go about it x

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It may make you feel drowsy, but that's only to start with until you get used to it.

I have checked the leaflet and it says that it treats epilepsy and pain.

Heavy weight gain the worst side effect of Gabapentin along with the other ones.

Lu xx

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Gabapetin/Neurontin also causes severe depression .

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Hi whisperit Welcome to our wonderful forum, I'm sure you will love it and find it invaluable chatting to others who are going through the same as you, at different stages of their lives with fibromyalgia. I see our lovely BlueMermaid3 has given you lots of info so I'll just say, Hi & i look forward to chatting with on on the forum.

Peace, luv n light

Jan xx

Ps. It's a good idea to lock your posts to the community, so it's not open to the internet. If you look to right of screen you will see under "Pinned Posts" a link to simple instructions on how to lock it. "If on phone Scroll Down".

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Hi there whisperit, a big welcome to the forum!

As Lu has already mentioned, it is mostly prescribed to fibros for pain. But as you have stated, you do not ha e any pain symptoms.

Gabapentin was originally designed for antiepileptic therapy; however, some studies reported that its use increases slow-wave sleep in healthy volunteers or patients.

Of course I am not a medical professional, just to be clear.

But, it is also used to treat anxiety, so this means that it can have sedation effects in patients, so theoretically could also help you to fall and stay asleep. It can be used off label to treat insomnia, but then again we all act differently to different medications.

You may find that it works for you, so no harm in trying it since your doctor is prescribing it 😊

Best wishes

Harper xx

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Thanks Harper,

I am willing to accept the idea that lack of slow wave sleep may be the main issue. Over Xmas I had a dreadful time, and was managing only 2 hours or so a night. Since taking amitriptyline, both the quantity of sleep and my daytime fatigue have improved somewhat. On a good night, I will now get 4-5 hours - but it is always frequently interrupted, with lots of dreams and sleep paralysis.

On the other hand, my mood is very good, and I don't suffer with anxiety.

So I am just wondering if there are any other ways of improving slow wave/sustained sleep aside from the slightly scary prospect of a gabapentin! x

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Ah the weird dreams. I seem to get them with any antidepressant I try! Some of them are downright confusing.

I hope Gabapentin works for you though, it is off label use though so of course there isn't too much info readily available on it regarding treating insomnia. But hey, it's worth a go! xx

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Also, sorry brain fog lol, are you still taking the ami? Gabapentin may not do too much on it's own, but it could perhaps enhance the effect of the ami to help you sleep better. Again, I am clearly no medical professional lol. There are only a few available studies on the use of Gabapentin alone for insomnia xx

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I find Amitriptyline helps in partnership with others! I suppose at the end of the day the only one who can really advise is the Dr. Too complicated for us mere mortals! :) I wish you well! :) Xx

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Thanks tulips123,

Yes, there comes a point when you just have to close your eyes and jump! x

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I think the best option is to speak to our Drs. I do hope it all works out. xx

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Good morning Harper. How are you? I take Gabapentin. It's use is for treating Fibro symptoms only, for this type of pain and the fatigue that goes with it. I do find that it has a slight sedating effect too, There are many options available for insomnia, but this on it's own will not help. My GP finds I need a full explanation if I'm to agree to take them lol).

Lovely sunshine here! What;s going on where you are? XXX :)

p.s. my mistake lol, not morning! not up long xx :)

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hi yes the gabapentin really helps with sleep I take 50 mg of amitriptyline at night also 300 gabapentin at night it does help without it I would not be able to cope at all hope this helps xx

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yes indeed - as you can see, most of my replies so far have been rather discouraging. So thank you!

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