Hair Loss on gabapentin: Brilliant! I... - Restless Legs Syn...

Restless Legs Syndrome

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Hair Loss on gabapentin

Joolsg profile image
101 Replies

Brilliant! I've been taking Gabapentin ( Neurontin ) for about 2 months and have noticed my hair has thinned considerably. So, not only will I look tired and exhausted from my legs dancing every night , but I'll also be bald at this rate. It's listed as a very rare side effect. Anyone else on this drug noticed this side effect?

Jools

101 Replies
Pippins2 profile image
Pippins2

Awww no! Not come across this side effect before but from what you say it's very rare. What are you going to do remain on Gabapentin or try a different med?

Pippsx

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Pippins2

I'd already decided to slowly come off it as the side effects are not brilliant. Hair loss, diarrhoea, double vision, tremor, etc. I suspect we won't be good friends!

I've been seeing a chiropractor who specialises in neurological problems and he's been brilliant. He's got me doing weird eye/head/arm/leg co-ordination exercises to make new nerve paths in the brain and what he says makes more sense than anything my GP or my MS neurologists have said.

Strangely enough, the left leg has eased up about 90% but the right leg is being more resistant. I think I'll try meds free for a month ( if I can last that long) as I get quite depressed when I read that most meds stop working after a year for severe RLS. Tramadol did nothing for me and Gabapentin's side effects are very unpleasant. The only drugs left are Targinact ( and methadone) and I think I'll wait to see Prof Choudhuri before I try that. NHS must be falling apart as his NHS waiting list is over a year and even though I decided to fork out to see him privately, I've been waiting more than 2.5 months and no hope of seeing him before Xmas.

Take care Pipps,

Jools xx

SAM48 profile image
SAM48 in reply to Joolsg

i allso never new they used Gab for RLS but do notice that when i skip a day or two my RLS is extremely bad i was put on the Gab for nerve damage from my spinal cord tumor that paralyzed me from the chest down for the last month of my pregancy and then spinal surgery iand im walking again but it took a good year and i still dont feel 100% but glad to still be around

SAM48 profile image
SAM48 in reply to SAM48

oh they have me on 600mg 3 times a day so 1800mg a day

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to SAM48

Dawn, you have really been through it. I really hope you get some relief from the pain and stress you've been through and with Twins as well, I don't know how you have coped. I'm full of admiration.

Gabapentin is used off licence for RLS but primarily for nerve pain which explains why you were given it. Any spinal surgery can cause RLS as well, which would appear to be the case with you.

love Jools x

BellaDonna68 profile image
BellaDonna68 in reply to Pippins2

Not rare...imI'm having the same problem along with left leg moving without any signal from me..

Sallymae profile image
Sallymae in reply to Pippins2

I've been on gabapentin for over a year for chronic nerve pain. weight gain, dizziness and hair thinning is what I experience.

Somebody mentioned folic acid helps with hair thinning.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Sallymae

I've been taking methyl folate & B12 400-800 mg a day and solgar gentle iron 28 mg and Philip Kingsley PK4 protein capsules. My hair is much thinner but I think the supplements have helped.

in reply to Sallymae

Hi SallyMae, can u lmk where I can get this folic acid? I've suffered from ALL the same things as you. Weight gain, hair loss, & dark spots on my face. Very uncommon. But, this drug has literally RUINED MY LIFE!!😬☹

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to

Are you in U.K.? You can buy folic acid from any chemist or health shop or online from any vitamin supplier like Natures Best or Bigvits. Try to get methyl folate and take 400 mg a day.

Try to avoid white carbohydrates ( bread, pasta, rice , cakes, biscuits etc) as the drug increased appetite and causes fluid retention.

What dose of gabapentin are you on and what do you take it for? There may be better alternatives if it really doesn't suit you.

lass profile image
lass

Hi Jools funny you say that I have been on Gabapentin for about a year now and iam finding the same thing happened to me my hair is thinning as well I have been trying shampoo and conditioner treatment for it and a product to make it thicker it seems to help but I am waiting for my Next appointment with my ms nurse and see what she can tell me cheers Gloria

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to lass

Thanks Gloria. Although it's listed as a rare side effect, loads of people have mentioned it on google searches. I'll bet your MS nurse says she hasn't heard of it. When I ask my MS nurse, she's great with symptom management, but not so great on drug interactions and side effects. BUT, do let me know what yours has to say.

Take care,

Jools

lass profile image
lass in reply to Joolsg

Hi Joolsg I will let you know not sure when I will be seeing her but I have said to my doctor and he is going to look into it for me as well I will keep you posted .HE has me on Adartrel tablets 500 micro grams 1 at lunch time 2at dinner and 1 2mgs at bedtime I find them great for the legs and arms.Ms nurse but me on 10mg baclofen and 600mg Gabapentin as well for my arms are really bad maybe worse than the legs .It really is a awful thing to have and only ourselves can know what it is like good luck anyway we can keep in touch cheers Gloria

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to lass

I was on Ropinirole ( same as Adartrel) which worked brilliantly for years until I developed augmentation which was horrible so had to go through withdrawal ( not a pretty experience) and so tried tramadol which did nothing and then gabapentin 1200mg which helps with the RLS but I don't think I like the side effects.

Let's trade info,

Take care,

Jools

lass profile image
lass in reply to Joolsg

Will do good luck Glo

wcp2008 profile image
wcp2008 in reply to lass

What are you using to thicken your hair?

Chigrl profile image
Chigrl

I was on a medication that caused hair loss. My Rheumatologist have me a script for Folic Acid. It worked great....no more hair loss. I believe you can also buy it over the counter. Also, my hair seemed to thicken back up.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Chigrl

I'll try anything. I'll pop down to Boots later today and buy some. Thanks Chigrl.

SAM48 profile image
SAM48 in reply to Chigrl

good to know how much do you take of the folic acid?

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to SAM48

seems 800 micrograms is recommended for hair thinning.

Chigrl profile image
Chigrl in reply to SAM48

I took two a day. Can't remember how much that was. I hope this works for you. I think someone else also responded with 800 something.

SherrieMaui profile image
SherrieMaui in reply to Chigrl

If you took a prescription then it would be at a much greater dose then you could get over the counter and probably different quality to. From what I've read folic acid is synthetically made and your body has to try to convert it to folate. It's much harder to find the real vitamin and I think it's always a better idea to take the real thing then synthetic. I find it on Amazon and it's made by a company called LifeExtension.

Winniethesue profile image
Winniethesue in reply to Chigrl

I'm trying nature folic acid in hopes it will work! Thinning up front something awful! How long did it take to get hair growth back?

Smiler53 profile image
Smiler53

Hi, My hair is thinning too! My dosage is 900 mg x 1 day and 1200 mg x 2 day. The higher dose has really helped the RLS (I think) I was on Ropinirole for a few years but got Augmentation. So what to do is the question? I already take Folic Acid for RA plus all the other meds that go with that too. At least I know it's not just me. Thanks for posting. I will be following this thread. x

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Smiler53

Bloody typical isn't it? You find something that works but the side effects are horrible. I'm not sure really what I'll do as I am terrified to go completely med free in case I get no sleep. Like you I was on Ropinirole for years until severe augmentation. I went through withdrawal in July and August and still have the heebie geebies just thinking about it.

jools

BethesdaBeck profile image
BethesdaBeck

I just started gabapentin in order to get off methadone - because of the methadone's side effects. My doctor told me that the only side effects I MIGHT have from the gabapentin would be drowsiness. My hair is already thinning, from aging I suspect (I just turned 68), so reading that it is causing hair loss is concerning. May I ask if you are sure it is the gabapentin and not something else?

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to BethesdaBeck

The only other possible explanation is severe stress caused by severe augmentation and then the hell of withdrawal from dopamine agonists in August. However, hair loss is noted on the list of side effects with the medication & someone else has mentioned they've noticed it on this thread. Also, if you Google it, quite a few people are mentioning it.

There are lots of side effects with gabapentin so not sure why your doctor says the only one is drowsiness. I have severe double vision, diarrhoea and dizziness, all listed as very common side effects. You may have no side effects , as everyone is different.

Jools

SAM48 profile image
SAM48 in reply to Joolsg

i also get dizzy and double vision as well i do have a lot of stress as well

dawn

SAM48 profile image
SAM48 in reply to Joolsg

heck my doctors never tell me about side affects i feel very stupid for not even thinking to ask

Kaarina profile image
KaarinaAdministrator in reply to SAM48

Sam, unfortunately we have to look up the side effects of meds ourselves and find out information about our diagnosis and join a relevant forum. The doctor should mention the side effects of medication but often does not have time or may not even know. Not a good situation but that is how it appears to be. I do my research now. Knowledge is power.

Find out all you can about gabapentin. Look after yourself. :)

Lydnoah2008 profile image
Lydnoah2008 in reply to Kaarina

This drug is next on the list of a narcotic controlled substance bc ALL Dr are going this route vs opiates for pain severe enough for one.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to SAM48

To be fair, not everyone will suffer side effects ( lucky them) but double vision and dizziness are listed as very common side effects ( more than 10% will have them).

234Anonimity profile image
234Anonimity in reply to SAM48

I know what you mean. I forgot to read about the side effects and am paying the price.I have thinning hair in places.

Chigrl profile image
Chigrl in reply to BethesdaBeck

I would try the Folic Acid....it can't hurt and maybe it might help. It helped me a lot.

BethesdaBeck profile image
BethesdaBeck in reply to Chigrl

Thanks. I've been taking folic acid for YEARS

SherrieMaui profile image
SherrieMaui in reply to Chigrl

LifeExtention-high potency optimized Folate (L-Methylfolate) must be at a dose of 5000 mcg. Take one per day with food. You can only find this high dose with either LifeExtension tablets or it is also found in a flavored sublingual at this high dosage.

lsd245 profile image
lsd245 in reply to BethesdaBeck

NO it is the gabapentin! I had beautiful hair until I started that damn stuff for severe RLS. Within two months my hair was coming out in multiple strands all over my clothes without even combing it! It is an awful medication!! My scalp is now showing!!!

tupper profile image
tupper

What is EPIT?

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to tupper

No idea. Where did you read about EPIT?

SAM48 profile image
SAM48

OMG! ive been on it for 4 1/2 yrs and i had long thick blond hair and now its short and very thin ive spent at least a couple thousands of $ on top hair extensions. at first i just assumed it was having my twins 20 min before have. a 12 hour spinal cord surgery it took about a year and a half before i really noticed do to women loose some hair after having a baby and i had two and all the medical stuff then i started useing win hair products my hair loved it untill i for some reason really noticed my hair was getting thinner and thinner. im so mad/sad is their any thing else we can take i just wing myself off all of my pain meds they had me on for 4 years but might need to ask for some thing for my neck i have a bad bulging disk and the worst head ach ever i cant sleep sit up lay down it hurts bad.im going to read up on the gabapentin

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to SAM48

It seems quite a lot of people are noticing the link with hair loss and gabapentin. Definitely think it's a more common side effect as not so many people are reporting it to the drug companies. Hope you can sort your neck pain,

take care,

jools

martino profile image
martino in reply to Joolsg

I think I have been fortunate. I have been on 1800mg for about 6 months and have not experienced any side effects- perhaps not having much hair at the start helped! I am adding 1mg of Rotigotine today so I hope the absence of side effects continues!!!

AnneJende profile image
AnneJende in reply to martino

Agree! I've been on gabapentin for over 20 years for epilepsy initially and have never had hair loss. Oh and I have lots of hair! 😉

Smiler53 profile image
Smiler53

Does anyone know if you come off it, does your hair grow back?

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Smiler53

I hope so. Mind you, I have to find another med that will control my RLS first. It's a question of either I get a little sleep or lose some hair and at the moment sleep is winning. Might check out some fetching wigs. Fancy a nice blunt bob!

Smiler53 profile image
Smiler53

Yes, you are right. I'm now on 1200mg 3 times a day. I'm sleeping a lot better now. if this fails mei have to go onto an opiate according to my neurologist eek! I also have to go to a sleep clinic due to my sudden sleep walking and moving things around the house and have no recollection of it. Trashed the kitchen twice - scary!

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg

Smiler, I hope you sort out the sleep walking. Take care,

Jools x

gcarpenter profile image
gcarpenter

I've been on Gabapentin for at least a year and have lost at least 50% of my hair volume and a noticeably receding hair line. I have to get an alternate med.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg

It'a a bummer isn't it? I followed the advice of the good people on here and bought some folic acid and some Philip Kingsley soya protein pills for hair loss and they improved the hair thinning immensely.

I'm now off the gaba ( it didn't seem to be working) and on oxycontin 10mg twice a day but suspect I'll have to stop them as well as the side effects of panic attacks and wakefulness at night are unbearable.

Back to the drawing board.

Jools

Smiler53 profile image
Smiler53 in reply to Joolsg

Hi Jools, I was just going to post about Oxycontin. I had a knee replaced just before Christmas and was given Oxycontin as pain relief (same dose as you) along with my other meds and Hey Presto - no RLS all the time I was on them and slept like a baby. No night sleep/wake walking and trashing the kitchen etc. Such a relief, not just for me but my husband as well.

I stopped taking them a few weeks back and have started getting up again with dancing legs and falling into everything and doing strange things around the house again! Only last night (plus 2 nights previously 3 days 3 1/2 hrs sleep - exhausting) I found my hands covered in Piz Buin Suntan cream which was difficult to have got out of the cupboard in the first place without having other stuff all fall out. Pouring water into the toaster, plus lots of other stuff around the house. So I'm going to see the doc next week and see if I can take Oxycontin as my new RLS meds and hopefully come off the Gabapentin (hair still thinning)

Also I have just started having something else odd happening. Just like a hot flush coming which you are aware of before it happens. Starting from my ankles and working all the way up through my body past my armpits. It's like bubbles bursting or pins and needles, real heavy painful ones lasting about 11/2 - 2 minutes - do you ever have this happen to you?

Hoping for a peaceful night - yeah right, in my dreams!!

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg

Hi Smiler,

If the oxy worked for your RLS at that dose and without side effects, it sounds like the way forward. Definitely talk it through with your doctor as it sounds as if the gabapentin side effects are really bad for you. That is a rally high dose of Gaba for RLS though -1200 3 times a day is 3600mg. The usual dose for RLS is 900mg. Maybe also talk with GP about a lower dose of gabapentin alongside a low dose of maybe codeine.

A lot of people on this site say 2 meds at lower doses are more effective than one med at a high dose. Really hope that works.

I haven't had the fizzing flush symptoms you mention but I'm no longer on gabapentin.

I hope you get a calmer night.

Take care,

jools

FoxyLocks profile image
FoxyLocks

Hi Jools,

I just started reading about all you guys with RLS and taking gabapentin for whatever reasons, and BOY was I glad to find out I was not alone! I have done well with ropinerole for my RLS, but was started on gabapentin in fall of 2016 for a degenerated disk.

I have been trying to figure out what was causing my hair to thin for several months now, and when my daughter said one of her patients complained of hair loss with gabapentin, I immediately googled it and found this blog.

I was especially desperate after I saw my hair lighted from the side for the first time two nights ago. When I saw how much hair was missing, I boo hooed like a baby! I originally thought that jardiance (for blood sugar) was the culprit, so my endo took me off for a month, but the shedding only increased. All the while I never thought gaba might be a problem because, again, only 10% of people have that reaction. It probably didn't help that I was taking (900mg 2-3x day) when I was prescribed only 300mg 3x day. I took more because 300 didn't really work. I've also been taking a hair vite with 5000mcg biotin which worked very well until I took so much gaba. My hair was almost waist length, the longest and thickest it had ever been in my 59.8 years, until a few months ago. But now half of the thickness is gone.

My very next step is to get something else for my bad disk, and I know lyrica is NOT it because that stuff made me batty! But I'm so glad to hear of everyone's experiences and solutions. Thanks for helping a weeping willow have some hope.

Sincerely,

(Going to be) FoxyLox again

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to FoxyLocks

Hi FoxyLox,

It is really horrible to have hair loss, especially when you are feeling tired and fragile because of the RLS and, in your case pain.

I have had to add pregabalin ( same as lyrica) to the oxycontin as my RLS kept breaking through in the early hours. I hope it doesn't make me feel batty as it's helping calm down the legs. It's 6.30am here in London and I've been awake since 4.30am with mild twinges in my back and legs.

I am hoping that I will not have more hair loss on this drug (keeping the dose as low as I can) and I am going to keep taking the folic acid and Philip Kingsley protein pills.

Keep taking the biotin and hair vitamins- they will hopefully stop any further hair thinning.

Hope you get some relief for your back pain and that your hair thickens up in the not too distant future.

take care,

Jools

234Anonimity profile image
234Anonimity in reply to FoxyLocks

I know what you mean. the sides of my hair have shrunk so to speak and have thinned.

BellaDonna68 profile image
BellaDonna68

Im having the same side effect and I'm angry.. restless leg syndrome freaking me out...yikes!

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to BellaDonna68

I know, it's horrible. I definitely have noticed an improvement in hair from taking the Phillip Kingsley protein pills and the folic acid so give them a try. So far, the pregabalin has not seemed to have caused hair loss but it's caused my ankles and feet to swell slightly. You can't seem to win with any of the drugs that help RLS. They might help the RLS but they cause other horrible side effects.

Chrissieann profile image
Chrissieann

Hi I've been taking Gabapentin for about a year now. I had no side effects til my feet and lower legs swelled up that much I had to wear bigger slippers I stopped the drug with Docs approval for about 3 months without any side effects and my legs reduced to near normal . Over the 3 months I have had a gradual increase with sciatica and being unable to walk very far or lift plates .........So now after 3 months I've decided to go back on them and after 3 days I feel like a new person and people are noticing the difference to, so at the moment it's s brilliant drug for targeting the Nervous System.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Chrissieann

Really pleased it's helping. It's good to hear positive effects as well as the negative.

Jools, I left u a message. But, I guess I sent to wrong person. But, I found a product (I can't say it's food, bcz, idk. I'll find it & get back to you. It's to help ppl relax. & it helps w sleep. I'm goin to try n get my hands on it. At any rate. I'm going to revisit this forum 2maro abt this same time. Rt now, it's 1:36am. What time is it where u are? If u don't mind. Where are u? Maybe u can get better rest. DONT LOSE HOPE! & NEVER GIVE UP! Ik all things can be overcome with effort! So, good blessingsto u! ❤

I start my therapy 2maro (well, 2day) we get 15 visits with our plan. So, I'll space them out. Thanks for yr info! 💪stay strong!

~Tiffany😏☄

(Its night time here)°If I sleep unsure°°° Oh, yes, also. Hv yr doc send u to a Dermatologist. I just got my referral 4one. I'll luk how tht goes! If they can get my hair 2grow back or not! I've had this goin on 4almost a year! So, get 2a dermatologist asap. Ok. Ttyl8r. Well, 2maro morning. My time. 1:45am. Or before. (What time do u hv? I'm in Arizona)

Blondie503 profile image
Blondie503

Hi everyone, my hair started falling out within 4 weeks of taking Gabapentin. I was having a bad reaction to the drug. It was breaking my muscles down. I understand with this reaction, my hair will fall out for 3 months, then 1 month of no growth then it will grow back. I've lost well over half already. My GP has said take iron for it, which I do, along with vitamin C.

lsd245 profile image
lsd245 in reply to Blondie503

I am taking iron with the gaba, for about 3 months now, (and the gaba for a year) but so far the iron doesn't seem to have stopped the thinning. I am getting off the damned gaba as my scalp is starting to show. Took ropinirole but had to keep taking larger doses. Don't know where to go from here. Lynn

Nataliemerkt profile image
Nataliemerkt in reply to lsd245

Hi there I am so sorry that you are going threw all of this... I know this is an old post but I came across it when I was researching gabapentin and hair loss... I've been on gabapentin for over a year now and have lost so much hair my scalp is starting to show I'm freaking out... I'm going to get off of it imeidietly ... did you hair grow back once you got off IT??? I'm freaking out...

I hope everything is going well for you ❤

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Nataliemerkt

Hi Natalie,

I was only on Gabapentin for about 2 months. I switched to a similar drug, pregabalin, and the worst of the side effects disappeared. My hair settled once I added folic acid and B12 my diet. My hair is definitely a lot thinner than it was before starting Gabapentin but it’s ok.

I think it’s also linked to dose. I was on 900mg of Gabapentin for 2 months and I’m now on 75mg pregabalin. You can take smaller doses of pregabalin as it’s absorbed more easily.

Make sure your serum ferritin and serum iron levels are above 100 & 60 and take folic acid and B12. It should slowly improve hair thickness.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Nataliemerkt

Also, reduce Gabapentin very slowly- it can cause nasty side effects if you stop it too suddenly.

Nataliemerkt profile image
Nataliemerkt in reply to Joolsg

Thank you so much... ya my hair has thinned so so much ... I was on 1200 mlgs of gabapentin I've dropped myself down to 600mlgs and ya wow the withdrawl is horrific I had to bring myself up a little bit because it was to much and I am now doing a slower taper...

Thank you so much for your advice...

Smiler53 profile image
Smiler53

Sorry to say my hair hasn't returned to what it was like pre Gabapentin. Been off it now for 5-6 months. But the one good thing was all the swelling around my feet, ankles etc went, actually lost 1 stone 8lbs and can now fit back into my clothes; so glad that I didn't send them to the charity shop! Hope the iron works for you. Good luck. X

Kburrows1971 profile image
Kburrows1971

I just noticed my hair is thinning badly in the front and top. I have been on it for a year but can't stand the side effects. I'm starting to taper down.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Kburrows1971

Do it slowly and let your doctor know. Good luck.

Ikeeptrying profile image
Ikeeptrying

Hi Joolsg, I'm on gabapentin too and have noticed my hair thinning. But I'm more concerned about the blurry/double vision. Did you have this and did it go away once you got off the gaba? Hate that my hair's thin but hate not being able to see as well as I used to even more. I also have horrible itching, not sure if the gaba eases that as well. I'm a mess...

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg

My reply to you has just disappeared from my timeline so I'll try again.

I helped reverse the hair loss by taking folic acid/ferrous bisglycinate and vitamin B complex tablets.

I switched to pregabalin ( an alpha 2 Delta Ligand like gabapentin but with fewer side effects) and the double vision is still there slightly in the morning but not as bad as on gabapentin.

I only take it at night just before bed so by the time it's morning, most of the drug is out of my system so the side effects won't be as pronounced as for someone taking them in the day as well.

Do you still take sinemet? Is the gabapentin for your RLS or MS? If you could switch to pregabalin and only take it at night, I think you'd see an improvement in the side effects.

Take care,

Jools

Lydnoah2008 profile image
Lydnoah2008

I have also been experiencing very strange hair loss as I'm a cosmetologist and color cut my hair often after maybe 2 weeks my tub would fill up with stray hair as soon as I'd rinse my hair GP claims to know nothing about a side effect like this so she increased my dose again. Bleach typically makes my hair manage better so I highlighted last week but my hair is still coming out. Ugh anyone else having this? Also bruising easily but helps my legs since I'm seeing surgeon for low back issues

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Lydnoah2008

Are you on Gabapentin? Hair loss is listed as a side effect. It’s in the leaflets. However, doctors don’t know the rarer side effects of most meds ( but it only takes a minute to google.) Why did doctor increase your dose?

Jools

ciaranxena profile image
ciaranxena

I realize this is an old post. I am new the forum. I've been taking Gabapentin for a few years. I have lost an amazing amount of hair. It comes out by the handfuls and clogs my drains. It's sad. I've tried to get off of it, but the symptoms are too horrific.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to ciaranxena

If you want to get off gabapentin, you could try switching to pregabalin ( another alpha 2 delta ligand which is better absorbed and has fewer side effects). Speak to your doctor about it and try slowly reducing gabapentin at the same time as you slowly substitute pregabalin.

Also, try folic acid, gentle iron and B12 for the hair loss.

2048artist profile image
2048artist in reply to ciaranxena

Oh yes! Bruises &hair loss&blurred vision

2048artist profile image
2048artist

Oh Lordie! I went back on gabapentin 3 yrs,ago. My hair was already thinner due to chemotherapy 15 yrs ago. Now it's so much worse & very dry on top of it.Hardly any eyelashes or brows. I take thyroid &allthe,supplements for hair&nails but nothing! I really dislike this med

I think it has also caused blurred vision. I'm tapering down till I'm off. Doesn't seem to be working so great either.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to 2048artist

I really didn’t like Gabapentin- but Pregabalin (Lyrica) has fewer side effects so maybe try that instead.

2048artist profile image
2048artist in reply to Joolsg

I took Lyrica about 15 yrs ago. I also took Cymbalta but after a few yrs on it ,it turned on me &I had extremely high blood pressure &terrible ear/ head zaps. Still have the ear buzzing but I saw my neurologist yesterday & told him about the hair loss &blurry vision and he said it's also the 'Elavil or amitriptyline. I'm slowlytapering down from the Gabapentin & Elavil. Subutex has been my saving grace. I just don't understand why more Drs don't prescript it. I've also started Celexa. I just pray I can sleep without the Elavil. Thanks Joosg. I'm glad that Lyrica is helping you!

cnote1213 profile image
cnote1213

I have taken Finasteride for years now to help with hair loss. It was a miracle drug for me. Completely stopped my hair loss. I just started on Gabapentin as I am trying to wean off Ropinirole. Just saw this chain of posts and am now worried about hair loss again. Has anyone experienced the hair loss side effect on Lyrica?

2048artist profile image
2048artist in reply to cnote1213

No Lyrica never caused any hair loss on me.

2048artist profile image
2048artist in reply to cnote1213

Thank you for the Too! I'm going to ask my neurologist about it.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg

Good luck getting off Ropinirole. I did it in 2016. Lyrica won’t help RLS during withdrawal but it will start to help around 2/3 weeks after the last dose of Ropinirole.

I didn’t find I had much hair loss with Lyrica so you should be okat.

lsd245 profile image
lsd245

Yes absolutely! I had lovely thick silver hair (am in my 70's, very active, and was OK on this drug for RLS for a little while but then my hair started to shed bit by bit and gradually increased to large amounts. I didn't get the connection at all, putting it all to the fact that I am dieting, until I went on line and saw that gabapentin CAN cause hair loss! You bet your booty I am seeing my doctor and getting off this drug ASAP! I want my lovely hair back! Right now my scalp is showing!! No thank you!!!

Zbirth1 profile image
Zbirth1

Once again We are kindred spirits in this crazy thing called life. I’ve Probably lost 70% of my hair over 4 yrs. I just talked about it on someone’s post. If we weren’t so far apart we could go wig shopping! Actually I haven’t decided how I’m going to handle it yet. Right now I’m wearing bandannas but they won’t cover for much longer. I’m not sure I want a wig. they seem like they’d be itchy, hot & a pain in the butt Other times I just want to say screw it and let it be other peoples issues and not wear anything. I’d really like to get a big tattoo on my scalp but that would freak every single one of my doctors out LOL

bill54321 profile image
bill54321

Neurotine gabapintine or 300 mg capsules are for nerve repair and anti-seizure. It ia NOT approved for RLS. Horizant Gabipintine in 600 mg pills up to 1800 mg is approved for RLS. Another brand is approved for Shingles.It is different in the UK. Some physicians, sadly, are not familiar and leave it to the pharmacist. in USA Check first of all with your physician and ask to see a movement neurologist. You are not alone!!

KarlyC profile image
KarlyC

Yes. I'm on Horizant for sciatica. Its sort of a buffered gabapentin. $1000 US a month, without insurance, $150 with insurance. I did take generic gabapentin for a month but it inconsistently put me to sleep in the daytime! It helps pain and helps me sleep, but I have a somewhat numb leg and foot. Also my hair has thinned by about 65%! I had major surgery 6 months ago and there are a number of factors contributing to my hair loss. I feel your pain, and now that I've discovered that Horizant can be contributing to my significant hIr loss, I'm going to try some other way to deal with my sciatica. Thanks for your post!

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to KarlyC

Hi Karly,

I posted this over 3 years ago and still get the odd response. How appalling that this drug is so expensive for people - here in the UK we pay for universal healthcare through higher taxes and national insurance. It's the same in most of Europe. We pay a flat low fee of £9 for each prescription ( whether it's an expensive drug or a cheap pain killer).

I managed to reverse the hair loss by taking iron tablets and folic acid. It didn't bring back all the hair but it restored about 90%. Give it a try.

KarlyC profile image
KarlyC in reply to Joolsg

Thank you for your response! I didn't think I'd get one! Horizant is a designer drug, buffered to have fewer side effects, such as making me sleepy all the time. I had already decided to drop down to half my dose by taking it only at bedtime. After washing my hair and throwing away another handful of it I decided to see if Gabapentin could be yet another culprit! Bingo!

Did you have to get off of Gabapentin before you could reverse your hair loss? I have had notoriously high iron levels in my blood in my past and a great head of hair all my life. I'm taking a product called Shen-min and Shaklee Gold vitamins. I'm getting 1000mcg of biotin a day. But have just been on this regimen for 2 weeks. I'm hoping to turn things around. Its distressing since I have shoulder length hair that is so tragically thinned. I'm considering a wispy short hair cut or a bob when quarantine is over. I hope I can make it another month and that this virus is stopped soon in it'progress!

Thank you for your time and response. Stay vigilant. Be well!

Karly

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to KarlyC

Likewise- it took about 6 months to reverse the hair loss. Horizant is an alpha2delta ligand ( Gabapentin Enacarbil) with fewer side effects than normal Gabapentin. It’s only available in the USA.

I switched to pregabalin (Lyrica in USA) and that also has fewer side effects than Gabapentin. I take a lower equivalent dose and have been taking it for 3 years.

Iron levels for those of us with RLS ( everyone on this site) have to be higher than the normal population. Serum ferritin of 350 is what we aim for and this can reverse some of the hair loss.

Visit the FDA drug side effects site and record hair loss so the FDA can monitor. It is a much more common side effect than noted on the drug leaflet.

Stay safe and let’s hope better times are ahead.

KarlyC profile image
KarlyC

Dear Jools,

I agree about hair loss being a more prevalent side effect than stated! I started on Lyica, but it put me to sleep, too. Then, I used generic gabapentin for a month, and still I kept falling asleep. I need to be able to drive, and have fallen asleep at a red light. So, that wasn't working for me. (Funny side note: People suggest I try Yoga for my sciatica. It puts me to sleep, as well! I'm am usually a competitive club & league tennis player for heaven's sake! Lying down on a mat is nap time to me!) That said, I've gotten some relief in the past from acupuncture.

I haven't had RLS, but rather have had bad sciatic pain from my hip to my toes, especially in my right calf, probably due to a bad L4-L5 disc. I could walk two miles, but not stand for 5 minutes. Then, somewhere in the last 4 months I have developed drop foot. I was in physical therapy before we were all quarantined for COVID-19. There's more to the story of my past 6 months, but it's more than I want to put here.

I'll have my primary care physician check my iron levels again at my next blood test and run some of this info by her. Thank you again for all your input. It has been an eye opener!

Correction to my previous post. I'm taking about 1000 mg of biotin daily, not mcg.

Karly

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to KarlyC

Just a thought. Have you tried Amitriptyline? It’s an anti depressant but is used for Nerve pain in MS. I used it decades ago for MS nerve pain and it doesn’t cause sleepiness.

The gabapentin type drugs definitely cause excessive sleepiness which is why people with RLS take at night and not during the day.

Drop foot is another common MS symptom and foot splints or FES work really well but clearly all that will have to wait until self isolating is over.

Acupuncture should help sciiatica.

Lauraulrich profile image
Lauraulrich

Sorry I realize I’m 4 years too late on this post!

I was prescribed Gabapentin a month ago..600mg a night for anxiety, and constant aches that were disrupting my sleep.

My hair was already super thin (I was also prescribed finestereide simultaneously for a slightly elevated DHT level).. and it is currently shedding everywhere. It is so upsetting! I don’t even have to brush it, it’s all over my clothes, the sofa... constantly sweeping it off the floor. I’m easily losing 300 hairs a day. I can already see my scalp at my temples and my parting is widening.

I’m currently 35, and the thought of not recovering any of this loss is haunting me!

I’m stopping the Gabapentin, I feel there are other options for anxiety.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can take? I’ve heard the folic acid... iron supplements make me nauseous unfortunately, but am taking vitamin c, d3 etc. I guess I have to wait it out...

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Lauraulrich

Hair loss is really upsetting. Have you had blood tests? Raising your serum ferritin and serum iron would help. If iron tablets make you nauseous, have you asked your GP about an iron infusion? I know it can be given for hair loss by haematology department at local hospital on compassionate grounds. Try writing direct.

Ferrous bisglycinate (gentle iron) is less likely to cause nausea and if taken every other night raises levels faster than if taken every night.

Don’t stop Gabapentin suddenly/ reduce slowly to avoid side effects.

Lauraulrich profile image
Lauraulrich in reply to Joolsg

Thank you so much for your quick reply!

I will look into the supplements and the infusion.. my last Gabapentin dose was on Thursday night, and it is now Monday morning. I felt a little rough, and have had 2 bad headaches since but thankfully I feel the worst is over.

Had to make the decision to come off it myself as my GP won’t even consider that it could be causing hair loss, as he prescribes it quite frequently.

Would happen to know how long the shedding lasts for?

Thanks again for your help!

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Lauraulrich

In my case, it seemed to cause about 20-25% hair loss but I then came off it and switched to a low dose of pregabalin ( it is absorbed better so you can use a lower equivalent dose). If you were taking Gabapentin for nerve pain, it’s an option to consider.

I also started taking B12, folic acid every morning and 25mg of ferrous bisglycinate pills and 40mg iron patch from PatchMD in the USA every OTHER night. My hair stopped shedding after 1/2 months and after about a year I reversed some of the loss. I know some thinning is due to low oestrogen ( - also went through menopause around the same time).

Definitely get iron and thyroid and oestrogen levels checked to optimise minerals and hormones. Hair loss is a rare side effect and is noted on FDA website but as most GPs are ‘jacks of all trades, masters of none’ they never seem to listen to patients.

I hope you can recover the hair lost- I found a paleo diet helped as well ( lots of oily fish, offal and green veg).

Good luck.

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg

Remember to report it as a side effect on the yellow card scheme. That way, doctors will see it’s more common than drug companies think.

yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/

Rockytyme profile image
Rockytyme

I was on it for 3 months top and half of my hair fell out. I can't imagine what it is doing to others. I do not trust big pharma any longer. I went for my 1 year physical and told my doctor that my hair was falling out and she did not mention one thing that could be the cause of it. All my blood work came back exceptional. I had changed my shampoo and conditioner recently so I stopped using it and went back to my normal shampoo and conditioner. But to no avail, it continued to fall out. The only other thing I had changed was taking Gabapentin for my sciatic leg pain. My doctor told me that they have found that it helps people who have sciatic nerve damage and she thought I should try it. Therefore I did my own research and guess what... other people are saying the same thing. But is it listed as a possible side-affect? Absolutely not..... But when I saw the massive amount of side-effects, I about lost it. We trust our doctors to prescribe the right things for us.... But they fail us time and time again..... So many people are on this drug because supposedly it is a miracle drug.... The other doctor that prescribes this to me said I could take as much as I wanted but make sure not to go off of it cold turkey....... That should have been my first clue....... This was just one of the things they mentioned: "you should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways and you may become suicidal (thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so) while you are taking gabapentin for the treatment of epilepsy, mental illness, or other conditions. A small number of adults and children 5 years of age and older (about 1 in 500 people) who took anticonvulsants such as gabapentin to treat various conditions during clinical studies became suicidal during their treatment. " But no mention of hair loss.....

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to Rockytyme

That's why you need to report it as a side effect via the Yellow Card Scheme. If no one reports it, the doctors have no record of it causing hair loss. Mine grew back after I increased my serum ferritin and took B12 and folate. These drugs are prescribed off licence for nerve pain and RLS but they're very powerful with many adverse side effects.

234Anonimity profile image
234Anonimity

Yes. I was taking this drug for about 2 weeks when I noticed something was wrong ,but didn't stop the med at that time. My hair has thinned on the sides and shrunk so to speak. Been going on for about 1 month now. Will it stop?

Joolsg profile image
Joolsg in reply to 234Anonimity

Hi there,See the responses above to others. Take folic acid and Biotin tablets. I found they helped reverse some of the hair loss.

Fingers crossed it'll help you too.

wcp2008 profile image
wcp2008

I’ve also noticed considerable hair loss, but didn’t think about it being the Gabapentin. I was placed on Zonisamide at the same time, for seizure disorder as well. I will look into folic acid, now that I’ve read all herein. I wish you luck Jools.

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