Gabapentin Users = Weight Gain?

I would like to know how many Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin in U.S.) users have experienced significant weight gain. I have been on it for a relatively short period of time -- supposedly to help with pain and difficulty sleeping. I feel as though I could audition for the role of balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My eating habits have not changed and my options for exercise are limited. I don't feel I should have to work to eliminate the side effects of a medication that is providing minimal to 0 benefits anyway. This is not an excuse for weight gain. I have significant pitted edema. My physician has not been receptive to my requests to be taken off this medication.

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  • Hi, I take neurontin 300 mg twice daily at the start they worked to a degree but over the last 3-4 months I think they are not working at all. I have cut down my food intake but have significant weight gain and a I have problems with my back knee and feet my walking is getting worse and the weight gain isn't helping I am thinking of seeing the doctor to take me off of them as you have to do this slowly. Goodness knows what else i can take as cannot take anything that is opiate based.

  • Hello. Thank you for replying.

    Not to get too personal, but do you have a negative reaction to opiates or is the non-opiate approach simply the stance of the medical community in your area? They've really done very little to develop pain medications that aren't likely to cause dependency. In our area, there has been a strong movement against prescribing opiates due to heroin overdoses last summer. While I acknowledge the importance of the issue, I have never scored street drugs, etc. I do not currently use opiates, but I do object to the use of a drug in which the physical cost outweighs any benefit.

  • Hi, I have a strong negative reaction to opiates, I have been prescribed them in the past but end up with less pain but very poorly unable to go out and almost to the point of being unable to function. Definately not for me.

  • Thank you for being willing to disclose that. It sounds like an allergic reaction of sorts.

  • The more I hear about Gabapentin the less I like it! Used for epilepsy! Why would your doctor keep you on a drug that is not helping and giving you serious side effect of weight gain? that to has its risks diabetes etc? This is not the first time I've heard of weight gain with this drug. I would definitely ask for it to be withdrawn slowly. Surely in this day and age they can give you something that will relieve your pain that's just not fair. Nobody should be left in chronic pain without any relief. I am quite a strong person and where doctors are concerned they don't always know best you know your body. Twice my doc has tried to give me Gabapentin - I refused - they get so enthusiastic about a drug that isn't meant for chronic pain, like its some kind of wonder drug😡

    I hope you manage to sort something out be strong

    Jen x

  • But Jen, by definition, there can't be a drug to relieve chronic pain!! We can only be given combinations of medication that can go some way to alleviate the worst symptoms of the pain.

    The fact that drugs have side effects can and does benefit people; I'm obviously talking positive side effects here and a positive side effect of some of the anticonvulsants and antidepressants is nerve pain properties.

    If you think about it logically, there is no such thing as a pain killer; the drugs given in massive trauma cases only alter the mindto not bother so much about the pain or 'knock us out' so we don't remember the situation.

    Unfortunately, no pharmaceutical company has managed to make a drug that you're/we're looking for; if you want to start concocting something in your kitchen then feel free but if the huge companies can't do it, despite the guaranteed monetary return, you may be a while 😊

    We can only try meds in the hope they'll have an effect; the doctors have no idea of what willwork for some and not for others but if they didn't try, they'd be labelled disinterested so sometimes 'ya have to go wiv da flow' to try to find the best combo for you..........

    RJC x

  • There are most certainly medications that kill pain without knocking one out.

  • Which medications are they that don't knock you out but kill the pain.

  • Opiate-based pain medications do not have a knockout effect on me. However, they are becoming increasingly difficult to get in the U.S., especially where I live. Another problem is people tend to max out on them. Nerve-blocking is being used over here, but some physicians don't see that as being any better.

  • Yes there are drugs that help our pain you are right Flaminga I don't know where I would be without the Butrans patch I'd be back climbing the wall. I have pustular psoriasis inverse & Guttate psoriasis Psoriatic arthritis & OA in every joint. Spinal stenosis DDD L4L5 L4S1 neck C3 to C7 narrowing with facet joint arthritis.

    Oh and we mustn't forget Fibro I was diagnosed with that before anything else started.

    I suffer pain but at least I can function now, at times almost gone if I do not overdo it and get break through pain.

    Jen xx

  • Hi Jen, just been reading these posts from 4 months ago. I seem to have been on a similiar medication path as yourself in the past. I also like you have I found some relief with BuTrans. Over the past couple of months I have added Curcumin (Tumeric) liquid form 1:2 ratio 5 mls twice daily. It's a natural anti-inflammatory. I am getting a lot less pain now.

  • That sounds interesting as I have an inflammatory condition as well as the spinal stenosis.

    I'll take a look at it. Thank you very much

    Jen X

  • Flaminga, you're missing my point; there is no drug on the planet that 'kills' pain. If there was, we'd all be on it!!

    There are drugs that relieve acute pain to a point or for a short period of time but there isn't one that stops chronic pain yet!! The nature of it means that nothing, zero, nada, can overcome the misfiring of the nerves; it's a scientific conundrum!!

    My example of the massive trauma cases was to elaborate on the fact that those cases, where pain relief is paramount after the ABCs, are still yet to have drugs that can totally eliminate pain without the 'knockout'!!

    Opiates are a good resource in our arsenal to try to control our pain whilst still allowing us to function but they can't dispose of chronic pain!!

    If you're getting significant relief from a drug then it maybe suggests that there's something acute going on??

    I'm not wishing to argue with you but people shouldn't be under the illusion that pain killers formally exist. Yes it's used in the information you get with a drug or a doctor or nurse may use the term to soothe a patient but please don't expect there to be an comprehensive result!!

    Anyways, back to the Gabapentin discussion; sometimes a doctor has to prioritise which problem needs dealing with first & foremost; the side effects maybe collateral damage but still less than if the drug isn't prescribed at all. Your doctor may have decided that your chronic pain needs the initial attention and then any side effects can be dealt with later, so to speak.

    As I've already replied, I've put on massive amounts of weight with Pregabalin AND I'm on Mirtazapine for mental health issues whichis an appetite stimulant but my psychiatrist was more concerned about my mental health than weight so prescribed them!! 😩 The Mirtazapine has helped enormously BUT my weight has rocketed; very fine balancing act........

    RJC x

  • I think this may be a matter of semantics. The doctor who put me on the Gabapentin has been pushing me toward gastric bypass surgery from my very first appointment. So why put me on a medication that is causing weight gain for me?

    As for your psychiatrist being more concerned about your mental health than your weight, I'd have to ask how the weight gain is impacting your mental health. Society values appearances more than it does mental health and those attitudes themselves can affect one's sense of well being. For me, there are health concerns as well.

  • Are you not interested in bariatric surgery? It could be that your doctor felt that the surgery would be inevitable so prescribing a drug that can cause weight gain isn't an issue?? Just a thought......

    I'm just about to start along the road of bariatric surgery; 1st appointment next week!!

    My psychiatrist had to 'deal' with the circumstances in front of her at that particular moment in time hence the Mirtazapine; she had to prioritise the immediate threat with a view to dealing with the 'fall out' at a later date. It just so happens that I've instigated the bariatric surgery already so she's helping through it as an adjunct to the support I'll get with the pre-surgery interventions.

    I hope you find a solution that pleases both you & your doctor; it's rare that that actually ever happens but there's always a reason to think positive (apparently!!)......

    RJC x

  • Understand where you are coming from but when a doctor is disinterested about Weight gain a known side effect from a drug that is doing absolutely nothing for the patients complaint. That is a lack of duty/care for that patient whom is already worried about her weight before she started the drug. The possibillty is then she can be at risk from other serious complaints. Most definitely a lot of GP's are disinterested they dish the meds where the money is and often the cheapest medication when there is better on offer. A true interested doctor should listen to his/her patient's concerns and try to help them with the best medical care. So now it becomes political because the Gp's have been told to dish out those medications because both they are cheap and even to hold off referring patients to consultants.

    So no I don't think it right that they should give medication that is meant for depression to try and help you sleep. And like a lot of medications when the lower dose doesn't work just keep upping the dose. This is in fact worse than putting the patient on a sleeping tablets to help them sleep.(which they are meant for) They all have the problem of withdrawal just like opiates. So for me those drugs serve no purpose unless they are for the intended use and of course if they agree with you. Fortunately I could not get on with neither drug and in many cases I am intolerant to all types of opiates. Thinking on that I am intolerant of many drugs just the other day I was given a drug for my frequent bathroom visits and promptly started vomiting. Started on the cheapest drug!!

    Maybe I'm better off with my intolerance. I have a small amount i can take and suffer the least side effects?

    Jen xx

  • I view the doctor/patient relationship as one of collaboration, but doctors seem to be returning to the model where doctors are regarded as deities.

  • Hi Jen, I am on this drug but after hearing about the weight gain I will def come of this drug,I am on a diet at the moment and I have lost over 2 stone I was at the pain clinic over 2 month ago and the pain quack excuse me but that is what he is he couldn't even remember my name lol,,,Thats another story,He told me 2 month ago to lose some weight and that shall help with the pain....!!! WHY is he prescribed me meds that make me put on weight?? The mind boggles...

  • Fortunately I've never had to suffer those drugs and my weight has stayed steady all my life. I feel for people like yourself that are given those drugs knowing the possible side effect is weight gain and also knowing that the drug is used for epilepsy. Also knowing that the drug Is as bad as some opiates if not worse to get off so it's slowly does it. It also beggar's belief that the so called 'professional has said that to you re to lose weight😡 I also get annoyed when they try to pedal those drugs, my doctor telling me to get off the sleeping tablet and have some Gabapentin it's a 'Grand' drug!!! Anyway, I slowly came off my sleeping tablet with no help from Gabapentin. This is what docs have been told to do get people off the sleeping tablets give them gabapentin or Amitriptyline. My doctor told me this he also said not in the to distant future there will be a 2 tier system those that can afford etc. This government has a lot to answer for the amount of people who have been taken off drugs that they are happy with for years is unbelievable I despair. They are also told go down every avenue before a referral 😡

    I used to have faith in my old doctor he retired four months ago purely for all the reasons I have stated. He was t doing his job how he wanted to. I feel so very sad now he has gone.

    I'm very sceptical about any drug a doctor gives me now I will thoroughly research it. After all my hubs who has RA was given the wonder drug Opren didn't question it until it killed people and kept people in their houses for the rest of their lives because they couldn't stand sunlight. Fortunately hubs got it to a minor degree and now is free of the itchy skin when outside! Oh and I mustn't forget the steroids they gave him diabetes yes he put on weight!! He weened himself off those and then we tackled the diabetes he is now free of diabetes after proper diet and weight loss.

    Yes I am a sceptical lady when it comes to some medical doctors/drugs.

    Keep well and pain free my friends as much as possible

    Jenxx

  • Just as a little side note Joan Zoe Your pain is probably no greater than mine cause of your weight. I have severe chronic pain and I weigh 7st 4lb! I might add that if I was terribly overweight with the widespread arthritis I would be in a wheelchair permanent. Even now I still use a mobility scooter!

    Jen xx

  • Because weight gain isn't guaranteed? Why don't you wait and see if it does cause weight gain for you before deciding that it won't work? It may be that you don't put on weight but get benefit from the neuropathic pain relieving properties of the drug.

    Just a thought.

    Edit: sorry that's a reply to joanzoe but it looks like a reply to Jen

  • I agree with you totally about the weight gain,but as we all suffer with various pain,I've been on pre gabalin on unfortunately I to have piled the pounds on,and I also take mitrazapine a night time,I also read the side effects, but these medication's tend to be the treatment which our illnesses have little hope of being cured,however I stand by the mirtrazapine even though it's main treatment is for people with depression, these medication's can be used to trick the brain and if the the side effects are minimal it's not detrimental to your health I would recommend the tablets over pain,however I think I am depressed now because of the weight gain,I wonder now if my GP will double my dosecond of mitrazapine lol

  • Hi CB as you know I do not take those meds so do not worry about weight gain. Your post has me puzzled I used to take Nitrazepam it a sleeping tablet 1 a night. If you are talking about that then that medication is meant for sleeping. However, if you are getting confused with Amitriptyline then that is the drug that is meant for depression. Are you taking that? It's fine if it agrees with you.

    Jen x

  • Thank you. It is even higher risk for me because obesity is already an issue. Why would someone who already struggles with her weight want to take a medication that causes weight gain? As many other persons who've posted on this issue have noted, I was not warned of this potential side effect. I also don't understand why doctors are prescribing so many medications for off-list applications. I am not one of those people who believes that doctors know everything. However, one of my challenges is dealing with a relatively new doctor when the doctor I had for 25 years suddenly retired. It really left me in the lurch. Further, I feel that many decisions are being driven by the political climate in this area. There's a strong anti-opiate mentality that seems to be extending to ANY habit-forming medications. It could be argued that Diabetes medications are habit-forming, but you don't see people being taken off those arbitrarily. That's because they assist in a process the body requires. Sleep is also a process the body requires and if I'm willing to risk the possible side effects of a medication INTENDED for sleep, then I think that decision should be respected -- instead of being given a prescription for a medication that MIGHT have drowsiness as a side effect.

  • Haven't taken gabapentin but I am on another similar type of drug, Pregabalin aka Lyrica. This is also prescribed off list, and if you google 'Lyrica US class action' you may well ask why these drugs are prescribed 'off list' so frequently.

    For me the effects of accidentally missing a dose of Pregabalin are almost unbelievable. I just can't get out of bed, horrible flu-like symptoms and sweats. Took me a long time to figure out it was my forgetfulness causing me so many problems. I haven't forgotten since.

    Like you I'm not even sure it actually does anything, for me at least.

    For what it's worth weight gain hasn't been an issue for me, quite the opposite. Although I have seen people talking about weight gain on Pregabalin.

    All the best.

    Ade

  • I think it varies with the individual, but for those of us who do experience weight gain, it can lead to a host of problems,

  • Absolutely, and I guess we should take into account how difficult it is for doctors. They know that all drugs have side-effects, but they can't predict who will suffer from them. I get on well with my GPs (there are 4 at the practise) and I know they wouldn't have prescribed something that was going to make me so ill knowingly.

    In fact nobody had a clue what was causing it, I had numerous blood tests but nothing untoward there. It was me that figured it out from reading something a woman had written online about discontinuing Pregabalin and how bad she felt, it was as if I'd written it she described it so accurately. But none of the GPs or my rheumatologist had even heard of this effect.

    They have now!

    They have to try and weigh up the potential for benefits against the potential for negatives and make a decision.

    The situation in the US (and by extension the rest of the western world) does seem to be becoming more and more politicised though. Opiates are seen as the work of the devil, but there just aren't any good alternatives.

    Good luck!

  • It would be less difficult for doctors if they were more willing to take patient input into account.

  • Maybe, but unfortunately a lot of patients don't know what they need either. I do agree that it should be a collaboration by the way, just saying it's not easy for doctors.

    I have no experience of doctors in the US, but in the UK my personal experience has been largely positive, and I've seen my fair share over the years.

    I have never been told I must do something or take something. I'm always told what the (common) risks are and the potential benefits and it's up to me what I put in my body.

  • Some doctors here operate more in the way you're describing -- the one I had who retired in September operated more like that. But then she passed most of her patients on to someone who says things like, "I'm the one with the prescription pad." Also, at my age, I do think I have a pretty good idea of what I need to function.

    I need to be able to get a decent amount of sleep; I need my pain managed -- not by medications that "might" be helpful; and I'd like to be able to get regular exercise. I can't do that now because I need two knee replacements. And I can't get those because I need to lose a significant amount of weight. That being the case, it makes absolutely no sense to prescribe me a drug that has the potential to cause significant weight gain. If informed, I never would have agreed to it. I'm not sure the doctor even knew.

  • I agree with you. I first started on opiates (dihydrocodeine) when I needed a knee replacement and had to wait 'as I was too young' and had small children to look after. I wouldn't have been able to do it without adequate pain relief.

    I understand what you are saying totally. Are you not able to just wean yourself off them and go back to your doctor describing the side effects? Just tell them you are not prepared to put up with the side effects for minimal benefit. Or is that not an option? Surely they can't insist you take something - and how would they know anyway....

  • Goodmorning Flaminga: I have been on Gabapentin for years and yup I have gained weight from being on it. Have to love the side effects of some of the drugs we have to take to help with the pain we experience . I am having Facet joint injections on the 31st to help with the nerve pain I have because of the 2 cysts I have. My gp and I hope that I can gradually decrease the dosage of Gabapentin over time. I am on Amitriptaline for the nerve pain have you tried that yet ? Hope you can find something that works for you.

    Have a good day :-) Janice

  • I am on the sister drug Pregablin. I have put on about three pounds but put that down to being very inactive to how I was before I became ill. I have developed a sweet tooth rather than the savoury tooth I had before. Quite a few people on the other site I frequent have had massive weight gains with both drugs e en though hey report they have actually cut food down. Difficult quandary to be in as weight gain puts more stress and strain on already aching muscles and joints. PersonallyI wouldn't be without it as before the burning, shooting, neuropathic pain I had made life unbearable.z

  • I take Pregabalin which is Gabapentin's sister and yes, massive weight gain but as I've increased the dose, we're now at a therapeutic dosage; for now!! 😖

    RJC x

  • I take Lyrica same thing for nerve pain. As I get older I put more weight on from it. I would say I have gained almost 20 lbs. now I have to buy some new clothes or stop eating. Thing is my diet is so restricted because I have IC that I eat a lot of foods that add to the weight gain. Hopefully can start walking again soon cannot now because of pain.

  • I was prescribed Gabapentin twice by different doctors, for nerve,muscle pain. Had the most horrendous headaches each time and thought would have a stroke. I will never use Gabapentin as side effect to worrying for me. I have used Amitriptlyn for about 20 years now, low dose taken at night for muscle relaxation. It doesn't take away the pain but does relax muscles allowing sleep and presumably allowing the body to heal short Ger. I put on 2 stone with just the small dosage of this drug. Information leaflet says 'may cause the body to store fat in a different way'. I would say that was very understandable when factor in the drug is given to anorexic patients to increase appetite and store fat lol. I think the information leaflet that comes with the drug is very informative and should be read before deciding on keeping or coming off a drug. Gabapentine was designed for epilepsy and like so many drugs does work on other conditions. I think personal knowledge and awareness is essential to enable an informed decision to be made and not to just take a prescription given by a doctor. Everyone is unique and what works for one may cause havoc in the makeup of someone else's body. My opinion, of course, but doctors need to have feedback on whether a drug works for a patient or not. In UK they are suppose to fill in a yellow feedback form for NICE if a patient has a bad reaction etc. I don't know if they do but they are suppose to. I hope this may be of some help. Also, I continue to decline Statins although my surgery continue to push them whenever I visit. Its an informed choice via my own research and the side effects for me would far outweigh the positives, if there are any. Pharmaceutical companies pay GPs money for every new patient they put on statins. It can no longer be trusted that a doctor prescribes drugs for the benefit to the patient rather than necessary income to the Practice. In this day and age we need to research and make up our own minds as to what will benefit us and what will not.

  • Although I have not need measuring my weight I can understand your concerns. I take 1 x 300mg tablet 4 times a day. The main side effect is the dehydration especially during the night.

    Since starting to take this medication. I have stopped eating fast food. Most dinners are half a plate of salad. Lunch is mainly fruit with a healthy breakfast.

    Since last year I am now wheelchair dependant so I have been putting it all down to that. So I started at the gym 4 weeks ago to fight back and get stronger. Still my weight remains the same or from my point of view looks the same.

    If this is a common side effect then are there alternatives that other people have tried?

  • But it sounds like your entire life is centered around being able to take this medication. Are you deriving sufficient benefit from it to warrant this? It's great to adopt healthier eating habits, but it sounds as though you're barely eating enough to subsist on.

  • hi Flamenga. Yes I put nearly 2 stone on and with the weight gain came the added problems. If you come off them do it very, very slowly. Good luck.

    Nod

  • Thank you. I can never recall what the equivalent of two sone is in terms of U.S. Measuring systems.

  • 28lbs 😊

    X

  • I have been taking Gabapentin (in very high doses) for a number of years so it's hard for me to remember immediate effects but I don't recall gaining much weight. It could be an immediate reaction that will slow with time once your body is used to it. How long have you been on it?

    Kez x

  • A few months, but the weight increase is so substantial that waiting for it to slow down could cause too much damage.

  • I gained 4 stone in as many months on Gabapentin. My doctor was happy to take me off it and I lost 10lbs within a week or two. I have put a few pounds on again and am finding it difficult to lose but I know I gained it due to Gabapentin. Difference with me is that it was a miracle drug in terms of my pain. My pain nurse always says you have to weigh up benefits vs side effects. If it's not helping your doctor should be responsive to your request to come off so that's frustrating for you.

  • I'm on Gabapetin and have been trying to loose weight but I have put on a little weight and bloody awful in the meantime, lack of sleep then sleeping to much feeling sick and the pain is still there, some days it's bad.

  • I have been on Gabapentin for 3 years now for neuropathy pain and I have gained 3 stone on it. It does take the edge off the pain for me but I have asked my doctor at the pain clinic if I can come off it cuz of the weight gain. She is going to put me on Amitriptyline instead. I am a little wary though to change it as it does do well for my pain.

  • Hi I have been on medication for over 3yrs and my mobility is limited but I have to say my eating habits have not changed and I've been on morphine patches , pregabilin which I piled Weight on and now on gabapentin and I am getting bigger . I feel for everybody that is in this situation as sometimes I feel I'd rather suffer with the pain but be lighter as the medication doesn't solve it or take it away completely.

  • Plus weight gain can exacerbate many forms of pain and for those of us with mobility issues, make movement even more difficult.

  • Fortunately no doctor is legally allowed to prescribe any drug for an ailment /condition that it hasn't been approved for by the applicable regulatory agency. There are rigorous tests to ensure efficacy and safety in the target group for the new use.

    The aim of any pain medication is to control the pain sufficiently for the individual to function and remedy the cause of the pain. As the human body is so very unpredictable at times and there may be other conditions worsening the situation, this isn't always easy or fully possible.

  • Is this true? There have been numerous incidents of off-list prescriptions/applications.

  • Did you feel as though it provided any pain relief at all?

  • Flaminga, No it caused me more pain sorry

  • Don't be sorry. I think the weight it has caused me to gain has caused me more pain, too..

  • It put 20 lbs of fluid on my body, I got where I couldn't walk I had to stop taking it.

  • Sorry, posted my response to your post above.

  • I put on a stone a month with gabapentin and it took a while to come off the meds and even longer to get the gain off. I'm now on pre gablin and due to other issues I've lost 3 stone recently.

    I notice horrid reactions if I forget a dose. It feels like my whole body is vibrating and I feel like I have caught flu.

    Due to a recent diagnosis of neuropathic facial pain my neurologist suggested a change to carbamazepine but I'm going to really investigate before I change.

  • Same here with Pregabalin if I forget a dose. I literally can't get out of bed.

    I've been reducing the dose as slowly as I can for nearly a year now to get off it without feeling dreadful. Am down to 75mg morning and 50mg evening from 300mg X 2.

    I will never take it again when I eventually get off it.

  • I take 100mg morning and night at the moment . I was devastated when I was told the pain in my face was neuropathic facial pain, I'm already on meds for neuropathic pain and this thing still jumps up and kicks my ass.

    Hey ho, onward and upward

  • Hi Danslatete, I feel for you as someone who has bilateral peripheral neuropathy all over except my face. I know the pain. I pray I don't get it in my face. You know they say you get this due to diabetes. I have borderline diabetes, never taken insulin. Was wondering if you have diabetes and what type? I believe nerve pain is one of the worst type of pain. I've been doing research on a nerve block that help with neuropathy. I'm going to try and find a Dr. and make appointment and see what they say. There is also a 5 day coma they can do that helps rebuild the damaged nerves.

  • Five-dy coma? I'd like to know more about that.

  • I made note of this on my phone lol. it's called Ketamine Coma they do 10 days over seas but only 5 days in the states. My neurologist left his practice so im without one right now or I would of already talked to him about this.. My kids thinks this is drastic but I told them when they walk one day in my shoes an pain then you can judge what is to drastic.

  • Yes have put a shed load on! Not good!! Have now gone onto Pregabalin.

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