Gabapentin side effects?

Hiya guys,

I've been prescribed Gabapentin 300mg for my chronic pain. I started a couple of weeks ago on one 300mg tablet x3 a day. My GP now has asked me to titrate up to 2x 300mg in the morning and at night. S

I told her about the really bad drowsiness I'm getting , she said that that was very common and it can take a while for the side effects to pass. Now I'm in the higher dose at night, I'm like a zombie! I haven't even started taking the extra tablet in the morning yet as I'm so zonked out. I feel like I've got really bad flu and also got very jerky hands?

My question is......how long does it take for the side effects to wear off? As I told the GP, she said that I should 'power through' until it gets to a therapeutic level.

I'm really interested in anyone else has had the same thing and can give me some advice?

Thanks a lot

Lynley

30 Replies

oldestnewest
  • We probably get more questions here on Gabapentin and Preganalin than any pther meds.

    The rule is and there is only one....start slowly and increase and decrrease at the same rate.

    GPs seem all to often just to zap you on a dose with no hought of side effects. They are evil especially if you come off too quickly.

    So having started slowly which he didn't do ie...

    You should start low wg ix100 3 times a day and build up slpwly to 3 x 300 per day.

    There could be a week between each increase of tabs. Now carry on increasing one tablet in the moring for a few days or even a week. hen introduce another leaving plenty of time for your body to adjust.

    There is also the worry that you may not be able to go any higher without side effects.

    Some people get toaround the dose you are on and then it hits. I remember the nurse telling David once you will forget wherre you live. He did and was like a zombie.

    They are the Marmite drug. Love or loathe.

    If you have reached that point of not being able to tolerate them PLEASE do not stop taking suddenly.

    Reduce by 1 x 100 at night and see if you feel any better.

    And speak with your GP. Tell hi

    Sorry for speling and grammar. Bit tired.m

    Pat x

  • I had the exact same thing as Paton. My GP started me on a single tab and increased by one tab each week until I reached the target dose. She said that this approach lessened the probability of side effects. I must say that it does seem to work. Now on the target dose and no side effects. Perhaps talk to your doctor about easing off and have a slow increase back on!

  • I personally wouldn't keep on increasing while you are suffering side effects. Even if it takes a lot longer, I'd be more inclined to wait until I got used to each dose level before increasing to the next. Also be aware that the bad flu feeling can actually be a sign of a hypersensitivity reaction - if you don't shake that feeling soon, then I'd really wonder if you were reacting badly to the meds. Thats another reason to slow down the increase.

  • In years gone by there was a leaflet with dose and days marked on it. It was quite clear how to increase, and even more important, decrease if needed.

    Unfortunately these leaflets have long since disappeared. Yet....Gabapentin and its sister Pregabalin cause more problems than almost any other drug.

    Having said all that - if you do have an intolerance to either you will know very quickly.

    Many people don't know that it is still used for its original purpose...Epilepsy control

    x

  • Hi Lynley

    I have had Fibro for 3 years and had recently had shoulder surgery.

    I was given Gabapentin for pain and in the short term it was great.

    After 3 days I was having murderous and suicidal thoughts, I contacted my GP and was told to stop immediately, I was then given Pregabalin with the same result.

    Be very careful of any side effects and read the insert that comes with the medication.

    Other medication is available for you.

    Good luck

    Mike W

  • I too had a bad reaction to both gabapentin and pregabalin, they caused me to try and cmmit suicide. I had to come off them immediately with no reducing program, which was awful.

  • Wowzerz, that's a huge dose to start on!!

    Like Paton has already said, the key is to go up and down slowly.

    As you're already getting side effects, can you phone your GP and ask her if you can actually start reducing the dose to then start to build it up again?

    Some people get an effect from a much lower dose than your starting dose so until you know if it's actually giving you any relief, there's no point suffering from a side effect that just adds to your pain!

    I'm on Pregabalin which is pretty much it's twin and I started on 50mg twice a day, then onto 100mg twice a day after four weeks, then 200mg twice a day after four weeks and so on.

    I felt that way I could weigh up the relief compared to the side effects - I'm controlling it. My GP knows that I know my pain and him trying to tell me how much to take is pointless! He's pretty much given me free rein so I call him to say I'm ready for the next prescription to be higher.

    I too get the twitchy hands and have days of feeling like a wet rag but they're interspersed with days of feeling ok so I'm getting there.

    Don't just stop the Gabapentin because of the side effects - you'll feel awful and get horrendous withdrawal which can frightening and sometimes dangerous.

    It's definitely worth talking to your GP tosay you want to control this drug please!!

    RAYJAYC

  • I was perscribed gaba for nerve pain in my legs due to unstable vertabrae and a severely herniated disc at my L5-S1. I was put on the same dosage as you to start. After a month of being on it I noticed the zombie like state you are talking about and it also made my emotions go crazy. I would cry more than usual and for no reason and I was constantly on edge. My Dr told me the same thing to 'power through' it but after being on it for almost two months I had enough and got off it as soon as I could. Being zombie like daily was not for me and it didn't help much for me pain wise.

    My Dr then put me on nortriptyline which is kind of like gaba but it is only taken at night as it makes you sleep (which I wasn't getting much of due to my pain). I had NO side effects from the nortriptyline. My Dr started me on 25mg a night which in the beginning was to much I'd wake up drowsy so I went down to 10mg and after about two weeks once my body was used to the nortriptyline I went back up to the 25mg a night. I have been on it for 6 months and it has decreased my nerve pain by about 40% and I am not haveing any side effects.

    I did not like gaba one bit but there are more than one type of nerve block meds out there.

    Good luck

  • Hi Lynley

    You have received some really good advice on these tablets.

    I was on Gabapentin for 10 months and did have times when you did not feel in control. You would have times when you felt you weren't there. I did not drive during this time. I am on Pregablin twice a day, just about to go on the lower dose and see how I go.

    Good luck.

  • Hi,

    Gabapentin 'normal' dose according to 'I don't know who!' Is 1800mg daily. I personally have a low tolerance for many drugs. So after a discussion with my GP, I have 100mg tablets.

    I normally take 200mg every night. But because it's such a low dose, I can increase if I need to. I can't say that this would work for anyone else. But I don't have any side effects. I must point out though that I also take 150mg of Diclofenac daily.

    Don't know if this helps or not. Wish you luck in finding what works best for you. It's a difficult balance to achieve.

    Cheers, Catherine.

  • Thanks guys, very good advice as usual! Feel even worse today, now got rampant diarrhoea too so that's just great.....! 😳

  • Take Loperamide ( imodium). Stop it in its tracks

    And plenty of fluids.

    gentle hugs

    x

  • I'm currently in the process of coming off of gabapentin, less because of side effects and more because it didn't do much. I was up to 900mgs 3 times a day and the only thing that happened was that I got very twitchy! My left eye in particular twitched all the time a bit like when you get tired sometimes. No real change in pain relief. I didn't find it particularly made me tired either, whereas pregablin knocked me out for large parts of the day, zombie like. As I think others have said, different drugs work for different people. I would give the drug a couple of weeks though as often side effects can subside over time (perhaps discuss with your gp if you're concerned). I felt nausea whilst increasing my gabapentin dose which went away quite quickly. I hope you find something that gives you some relief without debilitating side effects soon xx

  • Hi. No side affects at all with this drug. Surprisingly, as I'm so intolerant to most drugs! But, always start off on lowest dose, then work up..I had it for Sciatica, which actually helped, so stayed on it for fibro, but no change so I'm off it now. X

  • Hi Toplady I'm on them just start a litte at time . And the affects Will go Hun so not worry . Ok I went Thor. Samthing . But go litter at time X

  • I have gone up to 400mg three times a day for neuropathic pain and the drowsiness side effects do wear off after time. Persevere and take the dose up slowly as your GP advises. Some medication suits and others don't so my advice is to keep a daily diary that you can take with you to your GP if you decide it doesn't work for you. I had a bad reaction to Carbamazepine and so reverted back to Gabapentin as it suited me better. The diary helped me to explain why the Carbamazepine wasn't working for me.

    Take care

  • Hi simply go to your gp and ask for pregablin there much cleaner drug and less side effects since I came off gabapentin my head is much clearer no foggyness and I'm more able to deal with my day take care Elvis67

  • I am on similar dose and I vividly remember I basically went to bed for two weeks ...would fall asleep with cigarette in my hand, burned holes in every bed linen set....but eventually it gets better and now I'm weak coz of other conditions etc, but Gabapentin probs settled down completely or so I found, just takes about a month....good luck....

  • I'm having real bad fatigue issues with either morphine or gabapentin, horrendous eye fatigue and been having this issue now for six or seven months. If I had known I would be suffering this much I would never have touched either gabapentin or duloxatin I would have shot myself as I would not have suffered as much as I am now. My doctor told me he ghad given this med to 20,000 people. Bet he hasn't helped twenty thousand people get of it. Don't take it unless you have a month to live and be in bed.amytryptylene, nortryptylene might be a better bet ask your gp.

  • I wont befin to describe the state of my granddaughter on either of those

    suffice it to say the side effects can be worse than the condition its supposed to treat and do not leave knives around when on Gabapentin or you might be tempted to end it .....read the patient leaflet very very carefully indeed

  • Hi Ms. Lynley,

    I am also on Gabapentin 900 for nerve pain post spinal fusion. All i can say is that everyone is different, i had bad side effects like the shaky hands and flu like symptoms and would sleep like a log. After 2 weeks of being on Gabby the side effects went away and i got my life back with no nerve pain. So i will be praying for you Ms. Lynley that joy will be restored.

    Kevin

  • Sounds like I'm the lucky one! I'm taking 500mg Gabapentin, 1000mg Naproxen, 10mg, Omnipraxole, 20mg Amytryptyline,20mg Zomorph (morphine sulfate) and 10mg Amlodipine to treat sciatica, and herniated discs at L5/S1 and C8/T1 . Apart from permanent fatigue , I'm alright with them all , apart from bouts of constipation !

    At first there are , as others have rightly said, side effects that some people go through, I was so tired that I would fall asleep during conversations. After a couple of months like that my GP substituted the 200mg Tramadol with the morphine I'm on now.

    Due to my type of work I haven't been allowed back for the last six months whilst they make up their minds which long term treatment to carry out.

    My question is how do you cope when you can't work ? I've suffered with this for the last 20years after a car accident and its only this last year has the pain become too much to cope with and work as well.

  • Thanks for your help jesr45, I've recently had to finish work as a secondary school teacher so it's been really tough. Money is very tight but we've claimed all the benefits I'm entitled to so that helps a bit. Only time will tell if we get through it but am trying to stay positive as best I can. It's very had hard though to accept that for the foreseeable future, for others forever, I'm not physically capable of doing the job I love or anything else.

    Hope your journey treads a different path. ☺

  • Forgot to mention that I'm also on 10mg Oramorph every four hours as well😀 It's no wonder that I get bouts of constipation! To be honest that is more of a bugbear than the fluffy head and pain !

    But, like everyone else, I've adjusted my meds to cope with the pain and that is the minimum that I can get away with ☹

  • Thought I'd add to the gabapentin comments although I'm a newbie - only had sciatica for 2 months. I'm on 3 doses a day, plus 2 naproxen, down to 4 tramadol and 6 to 8 paracetemol. Plus 2 omeprazole and constipation meds. (Greatest fear is the constipation!) Only 17 tabs a day.  I found gaba to be fab, the only thing that beat the nerve pain, despite having oromorph and diazepan to start with. But now I'm wondering about side effects ... getting bad headaches, eyes focusing can be variable, nausea, suspect hot flushes. Could be menopausal as well of course :) (I'm 51). Luckily not sleep or suicidal but low on energy and can't walk properly.

    I saw the consultant on Fri, he said prolapsed disc at L5 - S1 and I'm having a caudal epidural next week and then an MRI in a few weeks. Physio on Mon, it's all happening!

    I'm curious to know if having an epidural means I will be able to get off all the meds, or will I still need some? Eg, gaba to block nerve pain. Any thoughts?

    PS I'm a middle school teacher, going back after Easter, and pretty  worried about my stamina - it's not a job for being only 70% at best!

  • Sounds like you've got a lot going on on at the moment JulesFB! We're all taking massive amounts of drugs, none of which seems to cure the pain 😢I have a question though, what is a caudal epidural? I've had x2 steroid injections but they haven't helped much at all. No idea if you'll still need meds after it, anyone else been able to help you yet? 

  • Hi, a caudal epidural is an injection into the spinal canal, below the vertebrae (according to the paperwork!). It's a steroid, supposed to give considerable pain relief for 3 months or maybe more. Sounds fun!

    Thanks for replying, you're my first. :)

  • I had zombie results too and stopped. Lyrica was really bad and sent me to ER. Just pay close attention, they can and do help people, but side effects can be bad.

  • I am on Same dose as you and when first put on it by pain specialist....I went to bed and basically slept for two weeks.....but after that I became used to them and have been on same dose for about 5 yrs.....one thing I found out the hard way by running out, is don't stop taking them without a supervised plan😰😰😰 Can be really horrid....but the benefits are great once you get used to them.  Good luck 😄😄

  • Thanks guys for all your replies. I stayed on them for a couple of weeks but couldn't shake the side effects. GP said to slowly come off them to see if they were having any effect,I've been off them now for two weeks and can't see much difference so we decided not to go back on them. Pain specialist prescribed Nortryptaline at night which has helped me sleep better so am staying on that. Am currently on Butrans patches 10mg, Cocodamol and Naproxen and going back to review with pain clinic in a month or two so we'll see how I am in the next couple of weeks. 

    Thanks again for the comments, really appreciate it 😊

You may also like...