GABAPENTIN Advice Please

Hello All

I've just been prescribed GABAPENTIN for intercostal neuralgia and have frightened myself to death by reading the patient information leaflet (how can you not read it!)

It looks to me like this is a very powerful drug with some potentially nasty side effects. 

Please could I ask a few questions?

Has anybody out there taken this?

Did it work for you?

Is this something that I can take short term and then stop?

Some of the side effects listed are symptoms I already have - will they potentially make me worse or mask any potential signs of recovery?

If I could go back to school I think I'd become a research chemist! Or a doctor! 

Thanks all.

30 Replies

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  • Hi Foggyme,

    I am a member of the RLS (restless leg syndrome) within HU as I suffer from this rotten illness since my 1st pregnancy . 

    Many members take Gabapentin. If you go to the little search button at the top of the page and type in Gab...... All the post should come up for you to read.

    Hope this helps.

    J

  • Thanks Jose. I'll have a search and see what I can find.

  • I have been on geberpentin for some time for neuropathy - pains/numb/ in feet and legs.  quite successful = but just  been moved onto pregaberlin....  my mum (100) has been on geberpentin for years - no side effects.  hope this helps....

  • Thanks jillc39.  Very reassuring 

  • I've been taking Gabapentin for several months and I think it's wonderful. I can soon tell if I miss a dose as the pains in my feet and fingers get much, much worse. The only side effect I've had is slightly more vivid dreams. And I much prefer that to having very little sleep. 

  • Thanks fbirder.  As one who sleeps very little and never dreams, that would be an almost welcome side effect! 

  • Tell me about it! I'd been having terrible trouble sleeping. Some rotten little demon would creep up in the middle of the night and stab one of my toes with a great long needle. And the pain would wake me up. Normally I'd just about be ready to drop off (despite the twitchy legs) and the little git would do it again.

    The first night on gabapentin I slept straight through for nine hours. 

  • Wow. That sounds like nothing short of a miracle! Sleeping for 9 hours is a long distant memory for me. And I know what you mean about the little gifts with needles! Sometimes mine have hammers too! Long may you sleep and dream in comfort.

  • I started taking gaberpentin 4 weeks ago for severe muscle pain. It should be titrated slowly. I have had one 100 mg once a day for 2 weeks then twice a day for 2 weeks and I am about to go onto 3 times a day. My dose is very low at the moment but it doesn't take the pain away much yet. Best thing is better sleep. Worst thing is making me sleepy during the day. I was absolutely desperate for pain relief which is why I agreed to it.

  • Thanks sweetness and light. Looks like it's worth me giving a go then. Hope the pain relief effect kicks in soon for you.

  • Gabapentin can interfere with the absorption of B12 but if you have already been diagnosed with a B12 absorption problem and are being treated with that it isn't going to make any difference to your B12 levels.

    It is not recommended for children between 3 and 12 - in the US at least - you mention school so don't know if that is relevant.

    Most medicines have side effects but the really serious ones are very rare - or they wouldn't be licensed for use.  The leaflet should give an indication of how many people get the side-effect.  the thing to do is be aware of what they are but not panic about them (I know, easier said that done :) - if you feel that you have any of them then you should contact your doctor or the pharmacist who issued them to you.  Even if you don't have the symptoms but are worried you can always ask the pharmacist or the doctor to go through them with you.

  • Thanks gambit. Good advice about the pharmacist. She's much more approachable and helpful than my GP.

    Ŵith respect to school - I was just wishing that I could go back and train to be something different. Something that could make a difference to the many people like us!

    Thanks again.

  • thanks - looked back through your posts and realised that you couldn't possibly still be at school.

    there are always options like the Open University if you do feel like starting again - never too late to start learning about something new.

  • I couldn't agree more about the OU. A the age of 31 I got my degree with them  (I'd failed A-levels thanks to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll) then I tutored the foundation science course for 13 years.

    I had a choice between doing a PhD (paid for by my company) or tutoring. I decided I really needed to pay back the OU for the massive change they made to my life.

  • I went to Uni late also. Just wish I'd done sex, drugs and rock and roll as well! Good for you fbirder.

  • Couldn't agree more. I went to University at the age of 35 and came out with a first class honours degree (much to my utter amazement as I failed my 11plus, in the days when they had such things). If I can  just get some health back, or at least get rid of some fog, I might even do it!

  • I was started on 100 mgs three times a day six weeks ago and over the six weeks it has increased to 300 mgs three times a day. Pain still present but much better. Saw GP yesterday and now increasing to 600 mgs three times a day. Apparently this is only about half way up the scale to what you can actually take. I was terrified after looking at the side effects but haven't had any. One of them is weight gain and I've actually lost a bit of weight!  Go for it - it is worth it

  • Thanks nikkikent. It's good to hear that it's making a difference. It's also good to hear that someone else was 'terrified'. Makes me feel less of a wuss!  Looks like this is the way for me to go.

  • I'm under the care of a pain management doctor, and he put me on Gabapentin. I have been taking it for a year. It works very well for my extensive nerve pain. As others have mentioned, it needs to be started at a low dose and slowly build up to your optimal therapeutic dose. I started on the 100mg, and was soon on the 300mg a day. That helped a bit. I am now on 900mg, spread out over 3x a day. 

    I also was disturbed when I read the side effect info., and titrated up in dose slowly. Reading the side effects from Tylenol is alarming!  Sorry so long, and hope this helps you make a decision. I say to to go for it as well. I haven't gained weight either.  Oh, and if you're supplementing with B12, you will be fine. 

    You can take this short term, but if it helps you I would stick with it. Make sure you check with your doctor if stopping it. He can direct you if you need to be weaned off.  

  • Thanks annualised.  Good advice and it's nice to hear that it works! Think I'll do what you did and try and find the lowest dose that works for me. I'll probably take it for a while then wean off to see if I still need it. I can always start it again, if still needed.

    Long replies are always good! I've been wallowing in the dark for so long it really gives me a lift when people respond so generously with advice and help.

    Thanks again.

  • Hi Foggyme, I was prescribed  Gabapentin with Amitriptalyn by a pain clinic for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type 1 following a broken wrist. It was only short term and it was before I was diagnosed B12d. I didn't experience any side effects and found it effective. I also had  around 10 sessions of acupuncture.

    I hope Gabapentin works for you .

    x

  • Thanks callo.  All the positive replies have help me to decid. I'm going to give it a try!  

  • I take gabapentin as I have fibrous dysplasia of the ribs,it is a powerful drug used alongside intercostal nerve pain killing injections and to ease pain for damaged nerve endings,I also have degenerative disc disease on l2,l3,l4 that without gabapentin and other pain relief would make my life unbearable,it is safe as long as it's used correctly and sensibly alongside other prescription drugs,I don't think it has any effect regarding my b12 def and p.a but I do regularly ask my doctors about the need to still keep taking gabapentin long term but due to my illnesses I do have to carry on taking it,along with all my other meds I'd prefer not to take any of them,but unfortunately I have to,it can be a factor when being used as part of pain relief that constipation becomes a problem,sometimes chronically,this I don't like about it,just keep asking your medical people quite often about the need to be on gabapentin especially long term and they may reduce it gradually so eventually you're taking the lowest dose possible or off it completely,it depends on the severity of your illnesses and how it effects you daily,I've no choice in the matter and I take 600g,3 Times daily,hope this may be helpful for you if only in a small way,all the best to you..fenty.

  • Thanks fenty.  I know what you mean about not liking to take all these drugs!  I'm going to give it a try and will do as you suggest - try and find the lowest dose that works for me.

  • I was on this for many years for neuropathy in my feet and it worked pretty well but I was on a very big dose and it really made me out of it!  I switched to pregabalin which is pretty much the same drug but it is effective at a lower dose so that you don't have to take as much to get the same medicinal effect.  Because of this the side effects are usually less severe.  I felt like I was coming out of a fog on the day I switched from one to the other!!  You might ask if you can use pregabalin instead!

  • Thanks ChrisVic.  I live life in the fog so more fog is something I definitely do not need! So...good advice. I'll discuss this with the doctors next time I go.

    Thanks again.

  • Hi i take Gabapentin for my fibromyalgia symptoms works well for me. If you read most side effects leaflets would would never take anything Good luck.

  • Thanks steps.  Good to hear it works for you.  I've decided to give it a try. Nothing to loose and a lot to gain.

  • I was on Gabapentin then switched to Pregablin when I complained about the side effects. Gp said they try people on Gabapentin first as it's cheaper but Pregablin is a better drug no idea if any of that is true. In my case neither helped my neurological pain but I experienced fewer side effects whilst on Pregablin.

  • Thanks Rachael. Guess it's going to have to be trial and error! Hope you find something that works for you. 

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