sleepy man

Q. I would like to know your feelings on the regular use of gabapentin for chronic insomnia. As a long time suffer of insomnia, my doctor has prescribed a myriad of drugs. Most recently upwards of 3600 mg of gabapentin at bedtime.

After more than 6 months of use I have noticed that gabapentin is taking a toll on my quality of life. Your thoughts please!

A. Gabapentin (Neurontin) was originally developed as an anti-seizure drug. It was approved by the FDA as an “add-on” treatment for patients with epilepsy in 1993. Although researchers do not completely understand how gabapentin works to control seizures, they think it affects production of a neurochemical in the brain called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).

Pfizer, the manufacturer of the brand name Neurontin, got into major trouble when it marketed this drug for off-label uses. A company is not allowed to promote a medicine for things that the FDA has not approved. In Pfizer’s case, these unofficial uses for Neurontin included bipolar disorder, alcohol withdrawal, migraines and pain. The company eventually paid $430 million in penalties and admitted to fraudulent promotion.

We mention this because Neurontin is currently available generically as gabapentin. In addition to treating epilepsy, the drug now has official FDA approval for alleviating nerve pain caused by shingles (postherpetic neuralgia).

Even though gabapentin does not have the FDA’s blessing for treating other kinds of nerve pain (neuropathy), many doctors are using it for this purpose. Some physicians prescribe it to patients with fibromyalgia and migraines as well as to control hot flashes brought on by menopause, even though there is no official blessing from the FDA. This is not illegal. Doctors can prescribe any drug for any reason they see fit. That said, we could find little evidence to suggest that gabapentin would be helpful for insomnia. This is definitely an “off-label” use if ever there was one.

If there were few, if any, side effects associated with gabapentin we would not worry too much about the prescribing of this drug for so many off-label uses. But gabapentin has some potentially worrisome adverse effects. The FDA has issued this warning:

“Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including Neurontin [gabapentin], increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Patients treated with any AED for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.”

The FDA also mentions an “unexpectedly high incidence of pancreatic acinar adenocarcinomas” [cancer] in male rats that received gabapentin. The agency adds the unhelpful caveat that the, “clinical significance of this finding is unknown.” In other words, no one knows whether this animal research means that men will be at higher risk for pancreatic cancer. This is not the sort of thing that the FDA requires drug companies to follow up on because the long-term research needed to detect a cancer signal can be quite challenging and expensive.

Gabapentin Side Effects:

  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Fatigue and or tiredness
  • Unsteadiness or incoordination
  • Abnormal thinking, anxiety, hostility, confusion, amnesia,
  • Depression, suicidal thoughts, mood changes
  • Fluid accumulation in feet, edema of face or extremities
  • Digestive distress, indigestion, loss of appetite, gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Dry mouth, dental problems, gingivitis
  • Blurred vision, double vision, unusual eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Headache
  • Withdrawal seizures (never stop gabapentin suddenly!)
  • Blood disorders
  • Skin rash (alert your M.D. immediately if this occurs!)
  • Upper respiratory tract infections, fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Palpitations
  • Tremor, jerky movements
  • Joint pain, joint stiffness, arthritis

No one should ever discontinue gabapentin abruptly. Like so many medications that affect the central nervous system, sudden withdrawal may lead to unexpected side effects. Some that have been reported include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, pain, sweating and even seizures. Sadly, though, the FDA gives very little guidance to prescribers about how to gradually taper patients off gabapentin.

Bottom line: Gabapentin is an effective treatment for epilepsy and the excruciating pain that sometimes lingers after an attack of shingles. Although it is quite frequently prescribed for off-label uses, the benefit/risk ratio is not clear. The drug has many potentially serious side effects. We are surprised that your doctor prescribed such a heavy-duty drug for insomnia, especially at such a high dose. The “normal” dose of gabapentin for treating epilepsy or shingles pain would be up to 1800 mg daily. Although 3600 mg is sometimes prescribed, it would have to be considered a high dose, especially for an unapproved use.

Since you report that gabapentin is affecting the quality of your life in a negative way, perhaps it is time to talk to your doctor about reconsidering this drug and discussing a gradual withdrawal process. You may need to consult a sleep specialist to help you deal with your chronic insomnia in a more integrative manner.

Join Over 80,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Michelle

    I was given gabapentin from my pain management doctor along with norco 5mg 4x a day…300mg of neurotin 3x a day ….was scared to take it because of so many people have suffered greatly with side effects….pain was getting so severe and norco was not I decided to try the gaba and it did help with pain a little eased it so I could relax…..but, I felt just like I did when I was in college when I smoked pot…I was really high…parinoa,giggles, relaxed as hell…took one before I went to bed an woke up with really bad headache which is not normal for me and very sluggish…stiff neck…I have epiplesy, narcolepsy, and nerve and back pain…sometimes I can barely move and norco helps back,and nerve pain got so bad after taking chantix to stop smoking,I can barely stand it without crying,I take nuvigil for narcolespy which sometimes I would be awake for up to two days…gave me very high energy and I felt great,then I take chantix and I am in terrible,unbareable pain,quit chantix and thought it would go away…that’s why I resorted to gaba….only going to take 300 mg to 600 mg a day and see if I can take it….I hope I feel better and can get off gaba….really believe my worsen never pain was caused by chantix that is a night mere drug…sure hope gaba won’t be for me…

  2. SPOB

    My mom is taking this with side effects

    • Andrew

      Have been on Gabapentin for about 3 months with good results iro nerve pain.

      However, I have not yet developed any tolerance to the side effects of fatigue and brain fog – I feel like a zombie most of the time and do a technical job that is becoming a nightmare! Moving about I am fantastic but sitting down doing my job is not good.

      My dose is 300mg 3 times a day – I have upped this to gain more pain relief but had to come back down to this level within a few weeks due to the side effects already mentioned. Current dose is what I need for the relief so hoping that I start to tolerate better very soon but after this amount of time doubt it.

      I need to keep taking this as nothing else has helped over the last 6 years- tramadol does not come close and codeine is useless – so how to work in my current job is now my focus!

  3. Timothy John patton
    Shelter cove, ca

    I was asked by my Va doctor in Eureka to take gabapentin generic for nuerotin she would not listen to me preferring vicodin as gabapentin has cause 870 sudden deaths to people in my age group 50+ and side affects that are listed for gabapentin are something out of a nightmare you can actually get symptoms that mirror drug withdrawal some symptoms include the runs, cramps, virtigo, AMNESIA, SUDDEN DEATH, currently there are 37,000 people with symptoms that they say ruined their lives.

    My doctor for the V A in Eureka told me Gabapentin OR Nothing…she is definitely getting paid by the drug companies AND by my internet studies far more addictive

    Now that I said the bad stuff if you have epilepsy gabbapenton IS GOOD

    Even experts say for off shoot uses the cost benefit ratio is doubtfully to say good when there appears a bad story for every good one unless its for epilepsy people who’s lives are given back

  4. Anonymous

    It’s been 3 days since I’ve taken Gabapentin. I take about 2000 mg each day in several 300 to 600 mg doses. I’m extremely happy about the results. It pretty much gave me my life back. I’m 23, male, normal build.

    I combine it with coffee and beer (things I usually drink daily) and here are the effects I felt:
    It cured my self-diagnosed ADD. I have more attention and energy. If I drink more beer I feel and behave like the stereotypical coked up businessman, but I can, in the blink of an eye, make myself feel and act calmly – I can pet my cat gently, do anything I’d normally do and no one would notice I’m on Gabapentin. Can’t say the same for amphetamine – on Gabapentin I have no twitching, rapid eye movements, etc.. About the ADD – I managed to read and do useful stuff all day yesterday – I kept a time log to prove it to myself. Total self control – no distractions or thoughts that take me away from the task at hand.
    It gives me back at least 2 hours a day I usually spend in mindless distraction and waste of time.

    It gave me more motivation. I wanted to run, even though I hate running – and I did. The motivation came a bit after I realized the attention and energy benefits, I think.

    It let me evaluate my priorities. I realized that a project I was working on for the past few weeks deserved less time for the aspects I was spending time on, and more time for others.
    It saved me quite a bit of hours spent in unproductive activities.

    It cured my insomnia. I used to need about an hour to get to sleep (sometimes 3). Now I can go to sleep quite easily – just 3-4 minutes.
    It gives me back an hour a day.

    It made me sleep less. The past few weeks for some reason I can’t sleep less than 10 hours. Sometimes 12. This is regardless of what drugs I took. The 2 previous nights I slept 8:30 hours and 5:20 hours, respectively. I feel really refreshed. I managed to get out of bed almost instantly, I usually hit snooze at least 5-6 times.
    It gives me back about 3-4 hours a day.

    The only side effect is blurry and double vision at the end of the day, after I spend it on the computer. I just go to sleep then, since it’s time anyway.

    I’ll continue to take Gabapentin + coffee (lots) + beer (lots) and hope that the effects don’t disappear. I’ll try to lower the beer (for the liver and other organs) and coffee and see if that could work. Or I’ll try to switch from beer to some benzodiazepine or weed.

    • Timothy John patton

      Everyone needs to look up side effects for this drug before taking it.

  5. Skippy
    Port Saint Lucie,Florida

    I am taking gabapentin 800mg three times a day for neuropathy that just suddenly appeared one morning at about 2:00. My insides felt like someone had poured acid on all my nerve endings especially on my intercostal nerves. I called my Doctor and he immediately sent me to a Neurologist who immediately sent me to a pain management clinic where they started me on the gabapentin which did not work at first . It has since been increased to the current 800mg. 3 times daily. This works pretty well, but i am extremely depressed mainly because of the pain, so I am seeing a Physcologist who has recommended I try Cymbalta in addition to the gabapentin. I will be taking my first dose when he calls it in to the pharmacy. I don’t know how much he is going to prescribe. Does anyone else have this sudden onset of nerve pain which, by the way is atrocious? Anddoes anyone else take the two drugs together? I have ahd no side effects from the gabapentin. I have also had two intercostal nerve blocks which have lasted for about one month each, and two epidural steroid injections which also heve lasted for about one month
    Thanks in advance,

    • Timothy John patton

      I had what you asked about sudden nerve painpain.

      I watched my diet go plenty of physical activity and things calmed down

    • Shawn

      Im on gabapentin for nerve pain. They put me on cymbalta and Ikept waking up because of massive muscle spasms which caused more pain. I recommend a different drug if you can. Over time the spasms lessen but personally jumping body parts arnt good.

  6. Carrie

    My Dr started me on Gabapentin 15 day sample pack and yesterday was day 4 on 900 mg and I have not been to bed so hyper, restless leg and ankle pain is so bad today!
    Anyone else make you hyper and just go go?

  7. Michelle

    With all of the negative comments regarding Gabapentin, one could be discouraged from trying it. I know I was. What a mistake that would have been for me. This drug has changed my life. I suffer from a painful bladder disease called Interstitial Cystitis and have failed every treatment regimen, save for one that made me gain 30lbs, my hair fall out, and caused chronic fatigue. I was very reluctant to start Gabapentin, as it can cause all of those side effects and worse. However, in my case, the side effects have been the OPPOSITE. My pain is gone. Zip. Vanished. I have gone from urinating 60 times a day to 8-10.

    It wiped out my appetite, and I am losing weight. I NEVER lose weight on meds, even ones prescribed for weight loss, like Wellbutrin, Yaz and Adderall!! I have more energy and motivation than I have had in five years. I have been on antidepressants to combat major depression but they have never gotten me past the point of just feeling ok. I had forgotten what it felt like to actually want to get off the couch and do things! The only side effect was mild nausea with each dosage increase.

    My doctor started me at a low dose of 300 and had me increase 100mg every 3 days. I think the slow titration was significant for making this an easy transition. I also have ADHD and can not believe how this has calmed my mind. I can think clearly now. I have no fogginess, no problems with word recall (like I did with Lamictal) and am sharper mentally than I have been in ages.

    I have heard that trying to go off this drug is hell…but I don’t care because there is no way in hell I will EVER quit taking it! I have my life back! While I do not doubt all of the horrible things some people experience with Gapabentin (my own niece was one of them), remember that everyone reacts differently to meds. Start at small doses and increase slowly so that if you have serious problems you can stop easier. But please don’t refuse to try this because of the negative reactions others have experienced. Your case might be very, very different!

  8. Paul

    I was diagnosed with occipital neuralgia and the doctor prescribed 100 mg neurontin 3x a day. I started taking it and immediately felt lousy, and quickly developed a fever of 102 for a couple of days and felt totally miserable. Doctor told me to stop it, and within a day the fever went away and am back to normal. This certainly wasn’t for me. Meeting with the doc to find another option for this nasty drug.

  9. Anna

    Hoping someone else can help with some questions please…my partner was prescribed Gabapentin for complex regional pain syndrome after he broke his wrist. He took 1000mg 3x a day for 6 months. He was ultra careful about withdrawl, stepping it down in smaller increments over a longer time than instructed and still had a terrible reaction – he was severely constipated for 4 days in in a lot of pain.
    That was 6 months ago, and his guts haven’t been right since. It comes and goes, but he gets severe bloating, gas and constipation ever fortnight or so. He never had any problems before going on Gaba. The GP says it’s nothing to do with it… I’vedone some research and some say it can take a year to completely recover from Gaba…
    Are his sypmptoms related to the Gaba? Has it done long term damage to his insides? Is there anything we can do to help? (He keeps fit, tries to eat healthily including lots of fresh veg and fruit, isn’t overweight) and how long will this last for?

    Thankyou and best wishes to everyone else out tgere dealing with this drug!

    • Timothy John patton

      Yes the symptoms for gabba include gas, intestinal distress, and constipation in some people and the runs for other people

    • Cyn

      He may want to try eating yogurt and/or probiotics. Sometimes your gut loses the beneficial bacteria and it is helpful to eat foods with good bacteria in them. In my experience (I have CRPS/RSD and many intestinal issues), plain yogurt with fresh fruit (something juicy to give the yogurt sweetness) or a type of yogurt with very little sugar in it is best. The more sugar, it seems, the less I feel better after eating it. It may take a few days, but I’d give it a try. Can’t hurt, can help!

  10. Molly

    Gabapentin has been a lifesaver for me. I have been suffering with occipital nerve pain for a few years now and this is the only thing that has given me any relief. Recently my neurologist has increased my dose as I have developed a tolerance to the drug. I started out at 100 mg 3 times a day and will end up at 1200 mg 3 times a day. For all of you here who also experience nerve pain you know it can be absolutely debilitating. The first couple of days I increase the medication each time I am sure to do it on the weekends because I anticipate the “drunk” or drowsy feeling until I get used to it. By the end of the weekend I am good to go and the pain is under control again. There are side effects with Gabapentin just like with any drug. I am willing to deal with some side effects in order to have my life back. I have been fortunate and haven’t had any serious side effects.

    • Michelle

      I can’t tell you if the gabapentin caused your husband’s issues, but trying a high quality probiotic may help right his digestive system. A lot of meds can completely destroy natural gut bacteria and cause severe problems, particularly, but not limited to, antibiotics. Was your husband on any another meds during that time? It might not be the gaba that is responsible.

    • syndi
      san antonio

      Maybe he has a gluten allergy or intolerance. Gabapentin is suspended in gluten, neurontin is not!

  11. Terri

    I was prescribed Gabapentin, 100 mg 3x day after my second back surgery caused my sciatic nerve damage at 80%. Basically, the nerve would shoot a burning/electricity type pain down the back of my legs. This medication was a nightmare that still haunts me nine years later. I gained 40 pounds, lost my ability to form sentences/find words, and ultimately would get lost when driving home from work on a path I drove for a couple of years prior. I literally felt like I was losing my mind.

    I fired my doctor who “refused” to take me off the medicine and found a doctor to work with me. I have been taking “topamax” since 2006, another seizure medication which has helped me tremendously. It is an off label use for sciatic nerve problems, but works wonderfully. And I have taken all of the weight off that I gained with Gabapentin!! FYI, I take 100 mg topamax in am, 100 in pm. Good luck everyone. Do your own research & be your own best advocate! Doctors do not know everything and are often “bought” by the pharmaceutical representatives.

  12. Bel

    I was on a ‘light’ does of Gabapentin for a year for Restless Leg Syndrome. At first I thought it was a miracle cure, but a few months later I had to double the dose for it to keep working. I started to notice that I wasn’t feeling the ‘burn’ when I worked out and did weights and then I started to notice that my hair was falling out… It was a nightmare. Take a good quality magnesium citrate for RLS. Stay clear from this drug.

    • Michelle

      Topamax is infamous for causing the exact same problems that gapapentin did for you. Everyone responds to medications differently. For me, gaps has made my mind clearer, sharper and happier than I have been in ages. I have zero unpleasant side effects, even lost weight on it. I was scared to try it because of posts like your but I am glad I did. I am glad topamax is working out for you, because for many it does not. The brain impairment it can cause is so severe that it is often called “dopamax” by doctors. Do not discourage people from trying one med or another based on your side effects- what works for one won’t work for someone else, and vice versa. It isn’t about doctors being in bed with big pharma, it is about people having different responses. Gabapentin is on the market because for many people it works, and works well. And many either have minimal side effects or are willing to trade pain in exchange for them. It is a valuable medicine and if it ever is pulled from the market I would be devastated! This drug has made my life worth living again.

  13. Lilly H

    In 2003 I came down with vasculitis. Awful, awful time! For 3 years I struggled just to take care of daily duties. I finally went to a doctor who put me on Gabapentin ( non had previously)…a wonder drug for me! I got some of my life back. Along the way the dosage was increased because of the nerve pain. I have neuropathy. Along with the increase came side effects that I didn’t attribute to this medicine and I didn’t start checking into the side effects deeper until I ended up with low blood sugar. So in the end I had gained weight, had suicidal thought 24–7, my personality had changed 24-7, low blood sugar and who knows what else. These effects were huge for me. I started cutting back on my dosage… slowly with my doctors help, and am at the point of cutting back again. I must say that as soon as I lowered the dosage, the side effects started to disappear. I am more tired but the trade-off is one that I embrace happily. I love these forums. I learn a lot from you people. So my advice is–when you start taking a new medicine, don’t just take a shallow overview as to what the side effects are, but check many sites and compare what is said, to what you are feeling. Well worth it!!!

  14. patrick p.
    Saugatuck, MI

    After year with a spinal cord injury at c-5 & C-6 I’ve had chronic pain and neuropathy in hands and feet. (former Boston Marathoner) that injury occurred during a cervical spine operation. The next year I had a fibular graf from C-# to C-7. these were inn 1992 & 1993.
    Ive had the past 5-6 years quite alot of pain and muscle neurons would not release my muscle spasms in my legs, I’d have to wait til the neuron “gave up” and tears running down my cheeks. Some thjought it may be Isaac’s syndrome. Doctor put me on Gabapentin for these spasms.

    In 2013 U of M neurology diagnosed me with NYSTAGMUS. This did not bother me much if at all. In 2014 (Oct.) my doctor put me on GABAPENTIN. in Jan 2015 I started losing my equilibrium, and seemed to have ataxia.. Since January 2015 my eyes and “equilibrium” coordination have becom progressevily worse.. Since March I seem to have developed “vertigo” or the NYSTAGMUS has become worse! if I ever got pulled over by the police.. I’d never pass the field test!! Pain in my Trapazoids and the SCM muscles on my right side are extremely painful… as I even type this letter. For years Ive been on Hydrocodone and valium for pain andd to stop my legs from jumping at night!!My main problem now is that I cant get to sleep, leg jum p and I fal asleep from exhaustion. The muscle spasms have beed decreased this past year but have the m occasionally. My vision “vertigo” Nystagmus ia getting worse by the month. Could GABAPENTIN magnify the NYSTAGMUS?? My perphrical vision is bad. I cannot make out people faces from the side. I quit GABAPENTIN 8-17-15…The Neurological-Opthamologist said that seein that I stopped for @ days just contine NOT taking GABAPENTIN. Question,,,if GABAPENTIN cause mu recent (6-& months) eye problems, will vision return to normal eventually after quitting GABAPENTION 300 mg? Was down to 2 a day (eventually 1 a day the past 4 months) Will have to stop here painbecoming too intense just typing. Regards, psp

  15. Candis
    Pine Grove, CA

    My husband was prescribed gabapentin as a prescription to help with pain in his fingers and arms due to neck and back surgery in 1994. This surgery was due to an industrial accident that split open his hardhat and jammed his spine and neck. The prescription is for 300 mg 3X’s a day.

    After reading about all the side effects, we decided to start with only 100 mg taken before bedtime. After 3 weeks of only the 100 mgs once at night, his nerve pain is better but the side effects are out of control.

    The effects are: clumsiness, behavior problems, anxiety, crying, depression, false sense of well-being, loss of memory, rapid changing in moods and unusual tiredness.

    We will consult the Doctor on how to discontinue Gabapentin with minimal withdraw symptoms. His original surgeon said he would need additional surgery after about 10 years due his body adjusting to pins in his neck etc. I feel the drug was prescribed as a “Quick Fix” due to workman’s compensation insurance not wanting to absorbed the additional surgery costs. Good luck to all who use this drug and make sure you monitor the side effects.

    • Chris

      When I started on Gabapentin I was prescribed 300mg, 3x per day and for the first week was to take it only at night, and then morning and night for a week, then 3x per day after that. The first few times I took it I had many of the same side effects, but then it got better until the next time I ramped up, but then got better. My body adjusted to it after a few days, and as long as I now keep a steady amount of gabapentin in my system these side effects stay away for me. When I miss a dose the nerve pain comes back and I start to get side effects. I think what might be happening with your husband is that he is going up and down too much and doesn’t have a steady dose in his system. Gabapentin passes through the body quickly, in about 6 hours, so the next day he might be having withdrawals. If he gets these side effects right after taking it, that is a different story and it probably isn’t for him. If the side effects happen during the following day then these are withdrawal type symptoms.

      After a year I now take 400mg, 4 times per day and can work and have my life back again. Herniated discs at T9-T10, L4-L5, L5-S1, expecting chronic pain to never really get resolved, and yes, I feel like a pharmaceutical test subject, but without it I don’t know what I would have done…

    • Michelle

      Yes, nystagmus is a known side effect of gapapentin for some people. I hope yours improves soon!

  16. Richard

    This drug is obviously helpful for many people. I have used it briefly and it is of some use to me for chronic nerve pain. But my condition is probably permanent and I do not want to be a test subject for the drug industry in regard to the long term impacts of gabapentin/nerontin, which apparently continues to be a poorly understood drug. I am considering other alternatives.

    My only serious comment here is that physicians are prescribing this drug at high doses. Two doctors pushed this drug at me and neither of them discussed withdrawal. Neither
    warned of side effects other than depression and thoughts of suicide. I find this very disturbing. I’ve learned far more about “medications” on message boards like this one than I have from ANY physician whom I have ever consulted.

  17. Michael
    St. Marys Ontario

    I’m going to be very honest here. I finished my taper on Monday, after 7 days of 100mgs, split 50/50 every 12 hours. I am so happy that I jumped off at that point. Life is good without gabapentin. The WDs came on fast, stayed for a couple of days. Now I’m free. I’m sleeping, I’m eating. Life is good.

    • Audrey

      I have been taking gabapenton for 4 to 5 years for neuropathy and spinal stenosis as well as chronic nerve pain from spinal fusion. I am also a diabetic. I take 12 different meds a day for other problems. I am also on Norco 10s and welbuterin to help me stop smoking and to help with depression. Now I have had all of the side effects that have been mention here. They come and go. I take 800 mg of gabapentin at bedtime to help me sleep and stop the leg cramps and spasms. I have taken a 400 mg dose during the day when I have had bad leg crampd. I get very sleepy taking this med. None of my Drs seemed concerned about this drug and none of them told me about withdrawal symptoms either. It sounds like it should be made more aware to the public about their side effects and be put on the list of narcotics just like Norco and other opiate meds. I would love to stop taking all my meds but my physical health problems wont let me. Thanks

  18. Penny

    I was put on gabapentin by a physchiatrist along with klonopin and cymbalta for anxiety and depression. This was about a 1 1/2 years ago, I quit seeing doc because was doing good, so I weaned myself off of klonopin and then cymbalta. I am only taking 300 mg. of gabapentin 100 in morning and 200 at night..So a couple weeks ago, I just tapered my morning dose by 50 milligrams, started getting little jittery and not sleeping well after 3rd day, by 8th day I was crying, jittery, had akithasia, insomnia, burning and tingling in legs and arms, anxiety went through the roof, nervous system was shot.stomach problems. bad.pain in back and hips..So the 10th day, I couldnt stand it any longer and re instated. Still not feeling good, so gonna take an extra 100 mg. up from 300 mg to 400 in afternoon…Just makes me sick, I want off this so bad, I dont know why some people have such intense withdrawals and others do not…Anyone got any suggestions..

    • Michelle

      Gabapentin is very difficult to withdraw from and requires extremely slow titration. I had a similar issue with Lamictal and almost resigned myself to being stuck on it. Instead, I started reducing every other dose by 25 mg, then I would continue that for a month and reduce the other day as well. Continued that for several weeks, then reduced another 25mg. It took forever, but it minimized withdrawal symptoms and made it much easier to get off it.

  19. Vera
    Eastern Washington State

    My experience with Gabapentin (I take the generic Neurontin) has been nothing but positive and a real blessing. I have been on Mirapex for years for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and it caused my insomnia. I also have Osteoarthritis in my neck and it was very painful. I take one arthritis pill per day but still had neck pain at night so I was given Neurontin 300 mg. I knew that it also helped some patients with their RLS at night.

    I was able to cut back on the Mirapex at bedtime and take one Neurontin 300 mg at bedtime. I sleep better and have no next pain at night. I have no side effects from the Neurontin and was thankful to be cutting back on the Mirapex. Many doctors are good at allowing their patients to just keep increasing their RX, no matter what it might be. Of course you are going to have side effects and problems sooner or later if you keep increasing a medication.

    I think the doctor should be looking for a different type of medication for the patient to try or send the patient to another doctor or specializes in their illness. A patient should never go off of an Rx cold turkey… that is asking for trouble. If a medication stops working for a patient, that patient still needs to be tapered off of the medication SLOWLY by someone who knows what they are doing. That is the only way that your brain can deal with it without going through a rough withdraw.

  20. LS

    I take 100gm 2-3 times daily for non diabetic neuropathy and L4 and L5 discs bulge plus deteriation of spine. I also take a low does of Tramadol for the pain.
    GABA has been great! For the pain. I have Tested it a couple of times by going off and it really is the gaba that’s helping.
    No weight issue, a bit of dizziness but I can live with that easier than the pain.

  21. Hazel Long
    Orlando, Fl 32812

    I want to subscribe to People’s Pharmacy

  22. valerie
    Nixa mo

    Gapentin caused me to gain 30 lbs in a 7 mos period.It caused extreme brain fog, and caused me to have a drunk like feeling if I only got 6 hours of slerp. I was put on this drugcfor Neuropathy caused by a back injury at a job. Oh yes as I’m typing this I can barely keep my eyes open today at work because they ate so dry and irritated from it. Thanks Gabapentin!!

    • Michelle

      This is so weird as I have experienced the exact opposite of all of these, even the dry eyes. I have been dealing with dry eyes from other meds and since starting gabapentin, the severe dry eye syndrome has disappeared. I was actually just googling trying to find out why! I also lost weight, can think clearer, my depression has lifted and Most importantly, my pain is gone. This drug has changed my life so much. Everyone reacts very differently to meds, and the one I took previously caused all of the symptoms you experienced to me, even though others loved it.

  23. Michael
    St. Marys Ontario

    This is my second post here. I’m on a taper, it’s hell. I picked up 100mg liquid and a syringe. The good news is I’m on a total of 150mgs in a 24 hour period. 100mgs at 11:00pm and then 50mgs at 11:00am. In six days I stop the 100mg in the 11:00pm and continue the 50mg in the 11:00am. Seven days latter I drop the 50mg dose. Then I’m free. Willing to do the dance after that. Most posts mgs. are much higher. I feel lucky, going to say good by to gabapentin for ever.

    • Penny

      How did your detox go? Are you free from gabapentin?

  24. Pearl

    My new young neuro consultant prescribed 100mg x 3 time daily of Gabapentin, he told me it would change my life!
    I took them the first day as prescribed, went to bed, got up next day and went shopping to buy a linen jacket and being a size UK 16 was troubled that I had to buy a size 18. I thought that I was having a “fat” day, ladies will know what I mean. When I got home I tried on a good fitting blouse, and bingo the front wouldn’t even meet. My chests had ballooned to melon sized proportions. I took a directic , binned the Gabapentin and intend to speak first to my pharmacist and then go and see my GP. I am grateful I found this blog and I will remember everyone of us who suffer in my prayers. Medical practitioners need to know the truth about this monster medication even though some people tolerate and benefit from it.

    • Michelle

      I have read that extreme increase in breast size is a an uncommon but possible side effect of gabapentin. I am thankful I did not experience this, going into it as a DD and wanting to lose weight. It has killed my appetite and actually helped me lose weight.

  25. Pearl

    l. My new young neuro consultant prescribed Gabapentin, 100mg x 3 times daily for when I suffer episodes — his word not mine. I am the typical elderly woman who has had knee and hip replacements because of arthritis, still suffer in all my other joints in particular the neck and arms. Very limited mobility and standard of life is really poor, like waiting for God.

    I have taken only 3 of these monster pills over 24 hours, and believe it if you will but my breasts have swollen beyond imagination. I bought a summer jacket yesterday and instead of buying my usual UK size 16 I had to buy a size 20!!! I am not exaggerating, it’s the truth. After finding this blog today, for which I am eternally grateful, the pills are flushed away and I will go and exchange the jacket for my proper size.

    My prayers are with all my fellow suffers, but don’t include my consultant!

    • derek
      United States

      I’m having sort of the same problem, but it’s just that my ankle was swollen and my knees hurt its starting to slowly go away I haven’t taken it in about a week and I still have some pain. Does anyone know when this will stop? I just don’t want to be in pain anymore.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.