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 56,000 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. Trey P.
    Van Wert, OH

    I have seen a lot of bad comments about this drug. For me personally, I feel it has given me some of my life back. I have unexplained pain in both of my legs, hips, testicles, and pelvic area. I am going to be 25 next month. This pain of mine started in my right testicle when i was 16 years old. Doctors assume it’s nerve pain caused by head trauma that I suffered from a car accident in 2005. The pain only got worse and worse.

    All tests I have had done over the last 9-10 years have found nothing. Everything comes back normal. Anyway I have been on Gabapentin for a little over 2 years now. I take 1200 mg through out the day. I’m just going to say that I am still functionable and can live my day to day life with a chronic dull pain, but without the Gabapentin I hurt so bad i can hardly walk anymore. Gabapentin is a God send to me, not to mention that I previously suffered major depression before ever being put on Gabapentin and I feel that this medication has worked better for my depression than any SSRI I have ever been prescribed. I still get down and depressed sometimes. I suffer from a lot of anxiety, but Gabapentin has made my life better than what I would have to go through without it. I’m actually very afraid of being taken off of it.

  2. Nathan
    Los Angeles, ca

    In my case, Gabapentin 300 mg twice daily, had been prescribed anxiety and pain management after internl trauma that result in a significant portion of my colon and intestines being removed, which left me on a ostemy bag for six months. My appendix went nuclear, blew out, never told me and I walked around like a zombie for three weeks until ER Dr told I was not likely to survive due to the toxic infection I had raging in me. Gabapentin has been. A God send in my recovery with the exception that I have manage the propensity to gain water weight caused by the salts and to make sure that it doesn’t cause myself to be dis inhibited – not every one needs to know how I feel about them. Swelling will occur if become dehydrate. Additionally when swelling occurs from the lack of drinking water I then carve carbs.

  3. R Lucy
    Westminster MD USA

    Unlike most of you posting here, my doctor put me on Gabapentin for anxiety that came with withdrawal from methadone(yes, an off label use, but thank goodness he did) back in August. I currently take 600 mg(300mg in the morning, 300 in the evening)and it really helps! I sleep better, I feel better, I’m less anxious and I’m definitely not angry. I do know from reading the info that comes with the medication that about 1 in 500 people do have mood issues from taking this and that does sound rather high. My question for a lot of you is(and I know this is a sensitive question) why don’t you use opiates? If you are in severe pain, that’s what they are for! I’m tired of doctors in this country thinking everyone is drug seeking, many of you sound like you may need heavier meds. Just a thought, not trying to stir up trouble. Hope you all get the help you need! Happy New Year!

  4. Ian Dixon
    Kent UK

    Was on 3600mg of gabapentin per day for sciatic pain associated with a back problem. Was on that dose for 8 weeks. Have had successful surgery and the sciatic pain has gone but now am having to slowly wean myself off the gabapentin. Have significant muscle weakness and joint pain but not sure if this is just a consequence of being so inactive for 3 months. Am now down to 900mg per day. Dropping 300 mg every 4or5 days. Am aware of no other side effects on me !
    It did provide some limited pain relief but if I had been aware of all the problems that it can cause I am not sure I would have agreed to take it.

  5. David

    Gabapentin is the worst drug I have ever experienced!!!! It gave me profound shortness of breath, and I felt and am still feeling like I will have a heart attack if I move around at all, even slow walking. I reported this to the FDA and my doctor. It was prescribed as pain meds to help relieve severe right leg pain after back surgery.

  6. Daniel
    Oahu hawaii

    Why can’t u just stop the GABA cold turkey from 2x600mg a day? I’ve been on about 3 months now after a one week start up of 100mg2xa day… So as a crow flys lets say roughly 3.5 montgs now if the GABA… About past 2 weeks noticed really bad hand/leg nerves (not too uncommon with my conditions). 36y/o male active duty Army getting medically retired forever for ALOT of multiple deployments that physically weren’t kind to me…

    Anyways… This past weekend had to go to ER cause feet,ankles, and calls& hands and wrists were Edema like BAD…

    Doc assumed gaba to be culprit and stopped it COLD TURKEY…

    Why is this so bad???

    • The People's Pharmacy

      The difficulty with stopping gabapentin (Neurontin) abruptly is that withdrawal may trigger seizures, which would add to your current woes.

  7. KDelphi

    Any tips on getting off of it? (It was prescribed for me for nerve root injury) I HAVE to take something—-but the side effects of this are–maybe literally–killing me. I have a left leg motorcycle injury that makes my left leg shorter and much less muscular, so, when I fall, it really terrifies me….it also left a nasty “carpet burn” right on my forehead! (something I did not need) Thanks….

  8. Pastor Danny Ray Fowler
    Sherman New York

    Doing research before I start taking this. Have a Jesus Filled day.

  9. KDelphi

    I wondered what was causing all these side effects…I hope the facial scarring (from falling) and hair loss are not permanent… they should be further sued… why aren’t people angry that we never get to hear about this crap until we are all sick? US needs to demand Big Pharma stop profiting off of human misery.

  10. Amanda
    South Carolina

    I am a 39 year old female, 5’7″ , 125 lbs. (just giving my stats to let you know that weight is not my issue) I have spinal stenosis, ruptured L4 and L5, and sciatica. The ruptured discs began compressing a nerve a few months ago. The pain was so horrendous that it woke me at night. A full night’s sleep was gone, I was dozing on the couch with one leg propped on a pillow, and I had to quit my job. I developed debilitating knee pain, believed to be due to the back pain affecting my gait, but I’m not convinced. Even once the pain subsided, the knee was still horrible. I was referred to a Spine/pain management center where I was put on gabapentin. This is the only drug I take.
    I had taken this nearly ten years earlier and had some severe side effects such as depression, thoughts of suicide, unstable mood, etc. but as I was in a much better place all around (besides the physical part of life) I assumed things would be fine, and I did discuss this with my doctor and we felt fully confident in our awareness and knowing the “signs”. Fast forward to now, five weeks later. The first few weeks were good, I actually appreciated the “buzz” I felt after a dose. I’m on 600 mgs three times a day. The pain, although not gone, is manageable, minus the weakness in my knee and lower leg, and the paresthesia seems to have worsened. I will exchange tingling for pain any day! And, not to mention, I slept like a baby. A few days ago, I began to notice that I was so agitated, for no reason. Just plain pissed off. I typically do not get to this stage of agitation, and can reason with myself when I am upset, but I illogically could not. My filter was gone and if I thought it, I said it. I said things to people I love that I wouldn’t say to those I do not. I felt no remorse, either. I had a thought last night that I should just go kill myself. Fortunately, I immediately got upset and told my husband, who also said the past three days with me have been hard and he could see me becoming violent. I have stopped taking it. I know that it is not recommended to do this but the risk is worth it. I’ve been off one day and I already feel emotionally better. I have fear of what’s to come pain-wise, but I would have hurt someone or myself had I continued taking this.
    I hear that some people have amazing results from gabapentin, and that it’s a God-send; unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. I will just have to keep trying to find what works and pray that my attempts will not be like this one. Much luck to you all.

    • Nathan

      One of the known Side effects is possibly becoming dis-inhibited. We had seen this in my son who was taking it for anxiety, and we discontinued it for him but suddenly his confidence was gone. We have since tried it at lower dose are getting some of the initial benfit without the being dis inhibited.

  11. CC
    Port Saint Lucie, Fl

    I just finished reading so many comments on this drug neurotin/gabapentin and feel I have finally found the cause of many symptoms that have plagued me for several months. I, like many others, have been on “gaba” for nerve root pain that can be so painful I cannot even move. I have been on Topamax for a while and felt it did its job, but in July of this year my pain became worse and did not subside with my meds. I asked my Dr. about “gaba” and told him I had tried it a couple of years ago with no problems, so he gave me my script. In hind sight, I didn’t take it for very long, unlike this year where I have been on it for six months.

    I have been experiencing some of the awful side effects describe by many others on this site. The first being terrible nightmares, then very dry skin, fatigue, foggy & groggy during the day, then my hair just starting falling out in the shower. This was the most troubling as most of us know finding tons of hair in your hands can mean terrible medical issues. Then weight gain!!!! I have to admit it was slow but then bam! Nothing I wore in July fits me now. I started thinking about my thyroid and adrenal glands as these have similar symptoms of gaba. I have finally come to the conclusion it is my medicine, gaba. If you can look at the time period of when you started taking this and when the problems started you will find they match up. I was taking 600mg 3 x a day and will be only taking one a day for a while until it is safe to stop. Meanwhile, I know I will endure more nerve pain which is the lesser of two evils. I plan on going to my Dr. for pain management and trying something else anything else. I don’t know if going back to Topamax is the right idea either as it messes with your minds and functions, I to found trying finish sentences became an issue, just made me feel stupid. I just don’t know if there is a drug out there that helps you with your problems and doesn’t give you more in the meantime. I will try and update when I have better news.

  12. Deb

    I have been on Gabapentin for 2 years,400mg at night,100mg in AM as well as mid afternoon. It did help in the beginning for chronic migraines and fibro. Started to be forgetful, memory loss, I could go on and on. I had to take months off work as I could not drive or function let alone get sleep. It was while I was off that I really started to think that it could be the Gabapentin causing all my issues and not the migraines at all(bad migraine every morning). Well against my neurologist orders I started weaning myself off the med and boy what a difference I am feeling in a weeks time, and my family tells me they see a difference(not looking like a zombie). It is a slow process but I know I am on my way. It’s so hard to realize when you go day to day that all these things are happening to you until you step back and take a good look.I stayed in bed and slept last night, first time in over a year and did not wake up with a headache. I have not fallen in 3 days now that’s a bonus, people started asking me if I had MS because I would stop mid sentence because I forgot what I was saying. If you don’t have to, don’t take this med, too many side effects that sneak up on you, but then again what works for one may not work for another. Good Luck to anyone trying to get off this medication because the withdraws are terrible.

    • Charles C.

      I wish you would go “on and on” so we know what symptoms you are talking about. As it is we have to guess and that’s not very helpful.

    • Donna
      St. Louis, MO.

      Please do inform your primary care doc that you are concerned about your Thyroid, as you are showing classic signs. I recently had abnormal Thyroid studies , but takes ages to see the Endocrinologist she referred me to. See, I am wondering if the relatively modest amount of Gabapentin I was on caused my nerve entrapment issues, then the unthinking Neurologist increased to unthinkable 4800mg/day, even though 5’3 and 105-107lbs at the time, which put me in the state I am in today. Now, at 3200mg/day, but at very slow pace, as is accompanied by significant pain. Still have a road ahead of me. Please keep us posted on your progress, and getting down to the cause of your problems.

  13. Andromache

    I currently have a herniated C4/5 disk, and I had disk fusion/replacement on C 5/6 and 6/7 five years ago. I’m not quite 49 years old, so I am considered young to have so many spinal problems. And yes, I’d love to lose 25-30 pounds. There’s some scar tissue and spinal stenosis around the C4/5 area, plus osteophytes throughout my cervical and upper thoracic spine. I live with pain, though most days, it’s bearable. I would say that 20/30 days a month, I manage well with over the counter Tylenol and Naproxen (both twice a day), plus one dose of a prescription medication, Tramadol.

    I take vitamins, calcium, red rice yeast, flaxseed oil, and fish oil, plus Slo-Niacin, which have really helped my cholesterol. I see my ortho about every 3-6 months to check on my spine and my PCP or her PA about every 6 months–to monitor triglycerides. However, about 5-10 days each month, I have severe pain in my spine–usually on days when I am working long hours or have to drive a long distance. When I say pain, I mean if a kidney stone = 10 and childbirth without any meds = 8, this is probably a 7.

    I tried Lyrica before my first spine surgery–I felt awful, and it did nothing for the pain. My recent ortho suggested Neurontin, but I refused since I knew Lyrica hadn’t helped. A few weeks ago, I felt and bruised my ulnar nerve (PCP wanted an x-ray to rule out fracture). The only thing the doctor could give me was Neurontin. It does help somewhat–let’s say it cuts pain by 25-30%–but I’m terrified at the side effects I’m having after just 5 days. My arms and legs feel detached from my body and have a pins and needles sensation. My lips feel numb. The headaches are blinding. I’m constantly dizzy. I’m only taking 300 mg, am and pm.

    I feel spaced out, and it’s not a pleasant thing. I am getting frustrated because I can’t think clearly (I’m having a slow time typing this!) I dare not drive for fear of having a wreck–so I only take the Neurontin after I get to work and at night. I was told to take it for 2 weeks to give it a chance to work/my body to adjust… I’m not sure I can keep this up. Are there any other alternatives out there? For me, the very small benefit is being outweighed by the side effects. Thank you!

  14. jan

    Been on gabapentin 900mg for 6 months now…2nd time around. First time, I was only on 400 mg for neuropathic pain (works great) then and now. However; since taking it I have neuropothy of both legs after a short period of time on feet (15 minutes) and serious swelling in legs/ankles. I am not looking forward to the horrid withdrawal of this medication again.

  15. Elizabeth

    I have been on Gabapentin 1200 mg 3 x a day for years for nerve pain I also suffer from ptsd depression among other stuff I am 33 and my hair is now thin and didn’t know why it keeps falling out by the handfuls. My teeth are turning black and chipping. My body twitches. I have loss of function in my hands and loss of memory. Bad confusion insomnia diarrhea. Bloating. Swelling in my feet and told my Dr. how drained I am and how I have mood changes. But I’m still on it.

  16. Sandy

    Can gabapentin turn teeth gray and make them partly transparent?
    I was on gabapentin for three years following spinal surgery. After awhile my teeth felt sticky. It was very hard to wean off the 300mg 3Xper day. I inadvertently tripled the dosage for about 2 months because I thought each capsule was 100mg (so I could titrate it down), but the pharmacy changed it back to 300mg. I developed worse tingling in my hands and feet and my body seemed to create more tingling so I would give it more gabapentin!

    When I tried to wean on my own, I got depressed and the muscles across my ribs were contracting. I learned these could be withdrawal symptoms.
    I finally was able to stop taking it with the schedule given to me by the neurologist, and I also had physical therapy (not sure how that helped).
    A few months later I noticed about half my front tooth was gray and became almost transparent. Have you ever seen this with gabapentin? I don’t take other meds. Is there a natural remedy for a gray/transparent tooth?

  17. Paula

    This article was well written. I came across it doing a search for ‘hair loss and gabapentin’. It doesn’t show up in the standard side effects for the drug, but I figured users would know, and I was right.

    I have been on it for almost two years for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome caused by a major hand surgery. My dilemma is that it provided immediate relief from a very bad syndrome, but I am having more and more issues with the side effects. I cut myself back in the past 6 months to only 900mgs and I still have hair loss, fatigue, dry eyes, urinary issues, dry mouth, irritability, stomach pain and more pronounced short term memory problems. I also use a compound cream that contains gabapentin, on my hand.

    I wondered if there are any ‘healthy’ counter-actions I can do to minimize some of these side effects? The docs are woefully silent about how to counteract, other than change doses. Thanks for sharing your experiences, it helps to know the probable cause of hair loss, etc.!

  18. Annie
    Seattle, wa

    People say Gabapentin isn’t addictive.
    Well… I say it is.
    I like it.
    I started taking it for hip pain. 300mg 3 times a day. Guess what? I sleep like a baby and my anxiety is lessened. I have been taking it for about 8 months. Sometimes only at night, sometimes all day. I use it more as a mood stabilizer and sleep aid now. Buuuuuttttt…… I’ve slowly noticed my eyes are getting bad. Not old age bad…. But new/blurry bad. I’m also noticing I forget things. I forget things from what I did yesterday to trying to pull certain words out when I’m talking. I’m 47. I don’t drink, or smoke, or take any other drugs, and I eat pretty healthy.
    I want to stop…. But I like it. I feel happier. Sigh. Damn you Gabapentin.

    • Sandy

      It’s easy to love at first, until you realize the side effects.
      I had dry mouth, too. Now I have a tooth that’s partly gray and transparent. (I blame gabapentin for that, but am not totally sure.)

      When I tried to wean off gabapentin, I got withdrawal symptoms. It caused worse tingling the more I took. I also had the memory problems. Your experience makes me think my urinary problems were probably caused by gabapentin, too.

      I feel much better without it, except for the dental problem. It seems to be able to make you feel like you need more and more, but in my case I am much better off without it. I think it was causing the tingling I was taking it for!

    • nosneve
      United States

      omg i agree totz with you
      i am having same story with it!

  19. Becca R.
    Brooklyn Md

    Wow! I’m so happy I found this site! I was (like most) to see if my issues lately were “normal” For being on the medicine. I have had major stomach issues lately, it’s at it’s worse when I wake up for the 1st 7 hours of my day I look 6months pregnant from gas.

    I have been losing my hair, falling a lot and even though I have A.D.D. my attention span and concentration are so much worse then before. Mind you I’m ONLY 30!! My kids, husband and myself included have noticed I’ve been very irritable lately. I was on 300mg 3x a day. But since I got bumped to 400mg 2x a day and 800mg at night all these off the wall symptoms have popped up. Thank you all that have posted on here. I’m now going to have a talk with my doctor about weaning off and maybe trying lycira instead. I was put in this for neuropathy. There’s got to be something else that will work. Thx again.

    • Donna
      St. Louis, MO.

      I first posted 2-3 months ago. I am the woman trying to taper from 4800mg of this horrid drug/day. I had no problems until the neurologist I was seeing began adding to my daily dose. I had developed bilateral neuropathy of my feet and legs. Now I wonder if Neurontin (Gabapentin) didn’t cause the neuropathy.

      I started using it for Resltless legs at night, and it really helped. However, I blindly followed my phsicians guidance, only to find I was placed on such a high dose that is never recommended. I tapered down to 2400mg/day for about 10 days, but was in all over body pain I had to increase the dose back up to 3600mg/day. I am still in a great deal of pain, and now, the neuropathy has spread to my hands.

      Current Doc wants me to stay at the 3600 for awhile. Meanwhile I am tapering off Zolpidem ER, which is actually Ambien, but in Extended Release from. I am trying to get off as many anti-cholinergic drugs as I can. Gabapentin, and most psychotropic/CNS-Acting drugs are of the anti-cholinergic effect class. Dry mouth, dry eyes, dry everything! I think Gabapentin can be effective when used in much lower dose. My hair is not falling out, I guess that’s something. But constipation is very bad, and the pain is life-altering! Am wondering if any of you with stomach pain are really suffering from effects of constipation? Anyway, thanks for listening. Anyone that has had success tapering from very high dose Gabapentin, I welcome any tips you can share. My heart goes out to all of you suffering from this drug

  20. diana m.
    Chesapeake, Va. 23320

    I have just started on this drug for gastroparesis and it has helped greatly. I take 300 mg in the am and 300 in the pm. Hope my hair doesn’t start falling out as I went through that when I first got this disease. I also take Domperidone which isn’t helping very much now. I have a friend with the same disease who has been taking Gabapentin for a year. She now has her life back. My friend and I had been both been on Reglan and it was horrible. We call that the drug from HELL. She had to retire from her job as it affected her so badly. I am 72 years old and if I can have a few years free of horrible pain, then that’s ok with me. Death is the beginning of a wonderful life so I have no fear.

    Also, I know it sounds crazy, but I suggest mental word activity to help keep the mind sharp as meds can do strange things to the mind.

  21. Emily

    Hi, I have been on gabapentin for 1 year now 400mg every 4 hrs for neuropathy. I am now tapering off and have gotten down to 200mg 3 times a day and I have been having really bad stomach pain. Especially in the morning when I first wake up (the pain actually wakes me up in the morning) Was wondering if anyone else has experienced this while tapering? I am only cutting down 100mg per week. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  22. SJB
    Ludlow Vt.

    I am on 600mg 3x’s a day for spinal stenosis pain. After two months leg pain has subsided somewhat, approx 50%.. I am now noticing some fine motor clumsiness picking up small objects and now some tremors in hands, more noticeable holding paper or magazine. I am convinced it is from the gabapentin and am now begun self titrating down to 300 mg and then to 100 mg 3x’s a day untill i get off altogether. Surgery is probably only alternative for back so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll keepya posted.

  23. Linda

    I have been on Gabapentin for 4 yrs. I have noticed my hair falling eyebrows are almost gone.. I have severe muscle weakness and great fatigue. I was prescribed this medication for fibromyalgia. Now I can’t think.. I can’t remember names and lately I have had some concerns about driving. My Dr insists the side effects are worth the gains.. but I still have fibro pain! I have worked my way down to 2 300 gram pills in the morning and 2 at night..when I try to go any farther I have trembling and great anxiety.. plus my restless legs go crazy.. I am not able to sleep…. any help on getting off this medication is appreciated.

  24. Donna
    St. Louis

    KLM – You are on mark!! Good for you for doing research on your own, and being proactive in your Mom’s care as well as your own. It is not easy to go up against the medical establishment. When my gut was telling me “no” I said OK, remaining passive. Kudos to you, my friend!

  25. Donna
    St. Louis, MO.

    I am attempting to taper from a twice a day dose of gabapentin, 2400/dose. That’s right, 4800mg/day. I am in excruciating pain. I am literally house bound. I am also on several other CNS-acting drugs. I was able to taper from Duloxetine fairly quickly as I had developed SIADH. A disturbance of electrolytes, specifically Sodium, which can lower silently until one is in grave trouble. I am beside myself.

    I managed to bring myself down to 1200mg 2x/day for a couple days, but I am in trouble. Can not afford Treatment Centers. Suddenly the physicians are AWOL! The one who placed me on it, and the one who upped the dose. I do notice I am much more anxious, and that does not bode well going forward. Anyway, beware allowing anyone prescribing high dose Gabapentin for off-label use. Do not fall into this trap of Poly Prescription Drug Dependency. I am a late middle-age woman, and my body just can not handle this stress

    • Leslie

      I agree- I tried this drug about a year ago it was so bad. Then the doctor put me on it again, I felt bad for the 2 days I was on it so I went all day without and took it at night. I felt I could not breathe and felt sick. Never again, for me anyways, I know it can work for some people, but not me.

  26. Johna980

    Spot on with this writeup, I actually believe this website needs a great deal more attention. Ill probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info! bdbfckkeafbc

  27. EJW

    I am reading these comments because I wanted to check and see if my side effect was common with gabapentin. I have found that it is.
    After only, one dose, I have been having extreme abdominal/stomach pain. I have been on Lyrica for years. I asked for a generic because Lyrica is so expensive when you reach the donut-hole.
    I just called the pharmacy and I will go back to Lyrica. I will have to cut back on something else. I can not live with this pain.
    I wish you all the best of luck. And, I will keep you in my prayers.

  28. sdenne

    I’m post-stroke. I had to learn to walk, talk and swallow again. I had double vision for awhile. I’ve had peripheral neuropathy on the complete right side of my body after the stroke.
    After 10 years of 3×300 gabapentin… hair balls around the house, anger management, loss of strength (for daytime activities), mild scalp psoriasis, some creaking in knee and neck (mild effect), minor swelling in legs (reduced by wearing pressure socks for long trips), some stiffness in hands; but all this might be because I’m 65 years old. lol My weight, around 195 lbs (stable). My height 5’9″ and shrinking (as I settle in to old age). BP: 130/70 (but I take lots of meds).
    My major concern is loss of hearing and tinnitus. I’m thinking gabapentin is a cause for this condition; but I also have to consider other contributors to tinnitus… caffeine, aspirin, Losartan, Atenolol, Hydrocone, Clonidine, etc.
    I suppose, after 10 years of gabapentin I should be on the quest for better solutions.
    I’ll probably wean myself off of gagapentin, Losartan, coffee and aspirin. I have hypertension (which gabapentin contributes to) and have to monitor my bp.
    Like “cappy”, just passing through. (No guarantee of replies). He probably forgot to check the “follow-up” box.
    Thanks for the plethora of experiences.
    Side effects:
    WEIGHT GAIN, LOSS OF HAIR (hair balls around the house), TINNITUS, RASH (eczema, head psoriasis), sadness (depression), LOSS OF ENERGY (greatly increased muscle weakness)(soporific, daytime), joint stiffness or pain (dryness, popping, grinding noises in knees, shoulders, ankles and neck), swelling of legs, dizziness (terrible balance problems), dry mouth, disorientation or confusion (a blithering idiot today), loss of vision (in one eye, partial, blurred vision and jerky eye-movements), increase or cause of pain (gotten neuropathy from neurontin), Stroke symptoms (Interesting, opposite of myself… I had several real strokes.)

  29. KLM

    My mother went to the ER seeming like she had a life threatening stroke. The hospital left her on gabapentin. As I researched as I stayed with my mother, I notified the nurses that I thought it was the gabapentin. She had these “strokes” 3 nights in a row. The morning after I notified the nurses, a doctor gave an order to take her off the medicine. She did not have a “stroke” episode the following night after being taken off. So the doctor’s then said we can assume it was the gabapentin. I was written up in an incident report for trying to consult with nurses, and being mad at them after they told me I was no MD. Well, I was better than all 6 MD’s put together with my research and perhaps saving my mothers life. The Lord gave me this knowledge and this intelligence. Don’t have faith in Doctors. They may cause your death or the death of a loved one. Research medicines yourself, doctors do not follow through with research. Tell them to go to hell if they treat you like this. They will certainly end up there whn they answer to God. From this non MD, may God be with you and anyone on gabapentin, look for an alternative.

    • Carol

      How long was your mother on it before she had those symptoms? I am taking 300mg for sleep and it seems to have helped my stomach issues and made me more relaxed. I am having hot flashes which I never had before. I am 78. Other than one other over the counter drug i don’t know what could be causing them.

    • Donna
      St. Louis, MO.

      I absolutely agree. I went to a well-known, well respected Neurologist with neuropathy like symptoms in my feet. No Diabetes, or history in family. I didn’t realize until later this Doctor, after striking out initially on all pathologies which might be causing this, kept increasing my Neurontin dose. To the point where I was prescribed 4800 mg of this drug/day. I had already been taking a modest dose for Restless Leg Syndrome.

      After becoming pro-active on my own behalf, I learned this was way more than the highest recommended daily dose. I feel the Neuropathy like symptoms may have been the cause of the initial neuropathy. Now, the neuropathy-like symptoms have traveled up my body to include calves, thighs, a diagnosed Pelvic Floor Disorder, and most recently, my hands, and my lower face. I learned that I had Bilateral Tarsal-Tunnel Syndrome, (nerves in feet) with a Peroneal Nerve compression of the (R) foot, the pelvic floor is tight skin, and muscles likely impinging on nerves there. My hands which is likely caused by Ulnar Nerve Compression, and there are so many nerves in the face, but likely is my Trigeminal Nerve.

      I am a R.N. retired, and should have known better than blindly follow a physician directive without diagnosis supporting increasing a powerful drug. I finally realized she was not interested in me as a patient, when she said: I can only diagnose you with Ataxia, which for crying out loud, a major side effect of this medication. Ataxia is an unsteady gait. I have been trying, with great difficulty to decrease this dose. The withdrawal mainly consists of increased nerve pain.

      I am now on 3200mg/day in divided doses. This decrease started in August, and it is now November. I can only decrease in 400mg increments, so will take a very long time. Meanwhile, the nerve problems advance. Please do research your medications for yourself, and look up withdrawal syndromes while you’re at it so you know what you’re facing if must come off the drug. And there is precious little written as to guidance in coming off this drug. I do not have epilepsy, however, can not be certain that as dose decreases, I might not be subject to those, as a further side effect. Please do pay attention to symptoms while on this drug. 2 years later, I still have no definitive diagnosis. And Physicians will not commit to agreement with me as to the drug as cause.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.