Pain Concern
23,229 members7,837 posts

Memory problems with Gabapentin

Hi folks, I have been on Gabapentin for some time now and am now really having problems with my short term memory. I often find I forget what I'm talking about mid sentence, thoughts come into my mind about things I need to do and then disappear immediately and I often do half a job and don't complete it because I've forgotten what I was doing. I cannot recall what I had for dinner yesterday and when I wake up in the morning, it takes me ages to remember what day it is.

I am taking 400mg four times a day so a total of 1600mg daily. I take it for sciatica and really don't know if it is helping me or not as I am also taking regular painkillers and having injections in my back at the pain clinic.

I have decided that I would like to start reducing my Gabapentin with a view to stopping it to see if this helps with my memory problems. I take my dose in capsules which cannot be split and take them morning, lunchtime, teatime and bedtime. Would it be OK to reduce it to three times a day instead, thereby making the overall daily amount 1200mg daily? This would mean reducing my daily intake by 400mg a day. Is this too much? I don't want to keep bothering my doctor and I find I get the most helpful information from my friends here who have been through it and understand.

Sorry to go on explaining myself forever - that's another side effect!

41 Replies
oldestnewest

We probably get more questions about Gabapentin and its sister pregabalin than anything else..

I call it the marmite drug. It either loves or hates you. No middle ground. If it loves you good...if it hates you then you will know. I think you are in the latter group.

I remember the nurse at pain clinic saying many years ago...you will forget where you live. You are experiencing that.

So...this drug is not for you.

As to coming off...you must come down very slowly. You should have started equally as slowly but that's past.

One tablet of 100 once a day. Leave a week then come down another one tablet. Leave longer in between if you can. If you start getting withdrawals then go back up to previous does and wait a bit longer.

People have done cold turkey and regretted it.

So...how does that sound?

Hope it helps.

You really should be under your GP for coming off any strong meds.

x

6 likes
Reply

Hi Bananas, many thanks for your prompt and helpful reply. I was hoping not to bother my GP as I always seem to be renewing prescriptions etc. I am on seven different meds now, three for my heart. I am having an ablation for atrial fibrillation on Tuesday. I'm only 58 and look fit and well! Anyway, I agree with you. I should involve my GP but think I'll wait until after my ablation and then ask to be put on a reducing dose. Thanks again. x

3 likes
Reply

My husband was taking 900gm a day for several months before his op and still takes 300g his memory is terrible now, didn’t realise there could be a connection as this was never said to him.

Interesting.

3 likes
Reply

Hi June, thanks for your reply. Brain fog is a well known side effect of

Gabapentin and it just seems to have crept up on me. Well, I think it's the pills! x

2 likes
Reply

Mmmm must admit I did wonder about him hopefully it is the pills !

Good luck with your pain relief x

1 like
Reply

Thanks June. x

Reply

Hi there, I take 300mg gabapentin as well and I have the same problem, but don’t know what to put it down too I also take co-codomal awell as other thing.

I recently had a 14 hour back and neck surgery to., could it be the anesthetiser.

But to say something about your question I have reduced my tablets to taking 1 or 2 a day sometimes and I was fine with that, but I do think it’s not helping with memory at all try and reduce them.

Any way good luck

Reply

Thanks Arsenal54!

Reply

Hi I'm the same with my memory except I take double the amount you are but having come of them before that was the way my doctor told me reduce them gradually x

Reply

Thanks for that Nerak! x

Reply

I take 300 mg 3x a day for Fibromyalgia with Chronic Fatigue. Fibro itself causes memory issues and my memory was non existent before I started Gaba. Funnily enough, my energy is greatly improved now and memory is A1 back to normal.

I really believe that poor memory is associated with fatigue. That could be why Gaba has improved my memory - but if your drugs are making you drowsy or tired, memory will be the first thing affected.

Sometimes it's just a case of hitting the right dose.

Reply

Thanks Grincho. My problem is I'm on so many I don't know where to start! Maybe it's the combination.

Reply

Yes..... me too. My memory over the years just got worse and worse... I eventually came of Gabapentine years ago..... and realised that also my eyesight came back.

I couldn't hardly read any text on the tv, i just thought it was an age thing.

As i came back off Gabapentine as I generally felt unwell, so groggy all the time.

I noticed my eyesight was starting to seem to get better...... but surely it couldnt be the gabapentine??

As i started Gabapentin again years later... my eyesight started to get worse.... and the general feeling of unwellness returned.

I again weaned myself off the Gabapentin over a few months.... my eyesight and wellbeing returned.

Years ago I was taking so many painkillers I just thought it was the numbing down of the senses from the painkillers that was making me feel unwell.

Gabapentin just doesn't agree with me at all.

God knows how older people go on when they are fed all these concoctions of various pills ..... They probably just think the feelings they are getting are just down to old age.

Reply

Hi Steve, I know, it's very difficult to sort out what's causing what. Did you come off Gabapentin very slowly?

Reply

Yes.... i learned years ago about the effects of coming off one painkiller etc onto another.... i also had a terrible time with Tramadol.

The thing is you start taking the tablets and even months in there are or seem to be no side effects... and any odd feelings you just put it down to your on going pain.

Yes i weaned myself off Gabapentin very slowly but i still had a few really sweaty days....

Reply

OK, thanks Steve.

Reply

Hi Teddy Bear,

I have taken Gabapentin and its cousin Lyrica in the past for nerve pain due to a failed back surgery (which is topic for another day), and it does cause memory loss, confusion, and grogginess. These side effects diminish over time for some people side effects will most likely remain. I no longer take Lyrica, and weaned myself off over a year ago. It was a slow wean which I self-administered. With regards to capsules, you can purchase a small analytical scale, open the capsules, and remove the beads to get to your desired dosage weight. I found that Lyrica did not help me at all with my nerve pain which is essentially sciatica. I have burning pain from the sole of my left foot, and my left outer thigh. Some days it is worse, and some days better. The pain depends on my activity level, the weather, my diet and so many other things it is hard to predict whether I have a "good" or "bad" day. But my "good" days are not pain free. I take duloxetine 20 mg daily and Oxy 10 mg 4x a day which is a godsend for my pain. After stopping the Lyrica, I felt better, and would never take it again. I think Lyrica may work better for people with diabetic neuropathy but for those with back related nerve pain, it does not seem to be as effective. Good luck, and hope you get some relief.

JT

Reply

Thanks for that JT. It's really helpful. I had three operations 14 years ago, two discectomies and then a fusion of L4-5. Everything was great until 12 months ago when it all returned to haunt me. My main problem is sciatica, usually in my ankle and outer calf but sometimes in my thigh and buttock. I'm not sure if Gabapentin is helping as I also take Co-codamol and I have six monthly injections at the pain clinic. I think I'll just have to start reducing it and see how I go on. Thanks for your advice.

Reply

Hi TennysonBear, I was on gabapentin but switched to pregabalin due to issues. I am on 600 to 700 mg a day which seems to be the equivalent of around 2000 mg of gaba. It’s for horrendous sciatica. I am suffering with my short term memory, the worst being not being able to think of the word I want to express myself with. It is definitely due to the meds. I have weaned myself down to 500 a day. I am going for an operation shortly and hope to be rid of the pain. It’s s second time round and am hoping for a more permanent solution.

Weaning of just needs to be done sensible and in slow steps. I did it without my GP but it’s up to how you feel about that. Good luck

Reply

Thanks for that Emma and for your advice. Hope your surgery goes well - please let us know how you get on. x

Reply

Hi there! I was also on Gabapentin 800 mg., 3 times per day. My memory was so bad! I couldn’t reach for words in a conversation or spell the simplest words. I am a degreed Accountant trying to go back to work after having cancer and now terrified that my memory is shot. You’re right to think it’s the Gabapentin. I have done tons of research on it. It stops your brain synapses. It doesn’t just block pain receptors. Doctors arn’t giving us the full picture before they prescribe this medicine to us. It can slowly put you into dementia. I have finally weened myself off this terrible drug but I did try to go off too fast at first and got very very sick. I was having hot and cold flashes and thought I was going to pass out. I went though crazy crying spells for no reason too. I’ve always been able to cold turkey the strongest meds but not this one. So, then I had to go very slowly. Yes, I think if you just drop one pill it should be fine. Once you get off the Gabapentin your memory does get much better. I also had sciatica really bad and I found my only solution now to be the ketogenic diet and just getting the weight off and stopping the pills. It’s much better now that I’ve dropped 20 pounds. I’ve made it a lifestyle now and feel if I keep losing weight it can only get better. The more you lose, the more you feel like moving more. I really hope this helps. I know how hard this is. It was terrifying for me and I’m still working on a lot of it. I wish you the best of luck.❤️

Reply

Thanks Bahamas! It seems it's not just me then. I think when I request my repeat prescription I'll ask for 300mg capsules instead of 400mg and start reducing them. As regards the weight loss, I always try to keep my weight on the low side as I'm sure this helps too. I'm 5ft 6 and weigh 8st 7 and I intend to keep it that way. I'll let you know how I get on. Good luck. x

Reply

Oh, wow! You’re very small. I guess I tend to assume that most people with sciatica are over weight. Maybe that’s just what caused mine. I was in bed too long with cancer and had put weight on because of sleeping on pain killers and no movement. And, most people that I know that have sciatica are over weight but I guess that’s not everyone. Sorry, I didn’t mean to insinuate that you were too. Yes, please let me know how you are doing with the Gabapentin.😊

Reply

Don't worry! I used to be a nurse - that's what caused my back problems. I'll certainly let you know on here how I get on with the Gabapentin, if I remember, ha ha! x

Reply

I was on the same dose as you and have exactly the same memory problems you mentioned.I had a dementure test because i was convinced i had dementia.The whole memory thing is so frustrating.I passed the denentia test,so ive put it down to the gabapentin.I reduced mine to 3x a day instead of 4..I do believe the gabapentin does help me but i will try to get it down to 2x daily.I had no.problems when i reduced it myself.I understand everrything you are saying and i hope you can reduce like i did with no problems,all the best Manditts.

Reply

Hi Manditts, many thanks for your encouraging reply. I think that would be the easiest way to do it, just cut down from four tablets to three. Good luck with yours too!

Reply

Hope all is going as well as can be for you.I have dropped another 300mg and i'm tolerating this with no problems so far,on day 2.In the last few weeks i've gone from 2400mg to 1500mg.My pain level has stayed the same,but i'ts early days so il keep my fingers crossed and pray like mad.Stay safe and look after urself.😉

Reply

Hi Manditts, you seem to be doing well with this. I have decided for the time being to leave things as they are as I worry about my pain worsening again. Thanks for your reply and good luck. I shall follow you with interest!

Reply

All the best i hope you are able to find something that helps with little or no side affects.Stay safe and look after you'rself.😋😊

Reply

Thanks, and you take care as well.

Reply

Hi there,

I used to take gaba for many of the reasons you listed. From experience, please DO NOT change your dose without help from you doctor. Gabapentin is a med that can cause serious issues if stopped completely; or changes are made in dosage.

Please speak with your doctor !! Take care.

Reply

Hi, many thanks for your reply. Everyone seems to have different ways of reducing this drug. I've got a medication review coming up so I'll discuss it then. Thanks for the advice.

1 like
Reply

You’re most welcome.

Reply

Wow, a few of us on large doses, i take 900 x 4 times daily ie 3600, every 6 hours, i set alarm to take at 0500, if not i lose the effect of them taking the edge off my neuro pain, i need trams and paras 8 a day of each to help me too, been like this for 18 years, short term memory is crap, i've even double dosed my meds occasionally, not good!!, and losing my words is regular!!!

Reply

You are on a massive dose! I've actually just had a few days where my memory has been fine and my pain has been less. Hard to know what to do really. After reading your post I'm inclined to carry on. Thanks for your reply.

Reply

Pleasure to help, i can tell the time often by the effect of needing my 6 hourly gaba's, i was told by the chemist that it is a relatively safe drug, it seems to suit me and combined with PKs, i find i can handle life, tho, still with restrictive movement in my back and the pain will over ride all my meds if i push past my normal daily movements, without gaba i was literally in a world of pain and did not want to live.

Reply

I have decided to stay on my current dose. They definitely help and the benefits outway the side effects. Thanks for your reply.

Reply

This is interesting news. I'm on morphine 20mg, gabapentin 1800, amlodipine 10mg, amitriptyline 20mg, naproxen 500mg and 10mg omnepraxole every day due to sciatica and damaged spinal cord- arms and legs permanently on fire. Just started having seizures and memory loss. Oh yes also have Non Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease due to the fact i was taking 1000mg naproxen everyday and im now reducing that by half and then quarter and then nil. Hopefully that will ease and "cure" my NAFLD. Didn't know that gabapentin causes memory loss. I was increasing the dosage of that so that i could reduce the morphine( was on oramorph as well) . Hope it goes ok with coming off the gabapentin, I'm waiting on a neurology reveiw before i touch mine.

Reply

Sounds like you're on a proper cocktail too! It's a wonder any of us can remember anything! Thanks for your reply and good luck.

Reply

I’ve been taking 300x2 - 3 times a day for about 7 years + Zomorph ( I’ve reduced that from 120mg a day to 35 mg very slowly) . I thought it was Zomorph giving me brain fog- now I am not so sure?? Certainly will try to reduce gabapentin slowly now!! Can’t even remember things without writing down!! I’ve noticed that my sight changes too.

I’ll wish you good luck

Reply

Hi Anni, there's been a lot of replies to my post from people all having the same symptoms. It's definitely worth thinking about reducing Gabapentin. Thanks for your reply and good luck.

Reply

You may also like...