sleepy man, Klonopin for insomnia, melatonin under your tongue

Gabapenin is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs by doctors. At last count over 50 million prescriptions were dispensed annually. It is used for an amazing array of off-label indications. That means physicians are giving it to patients for conditions that the Food and Drug Administration has never approved and for which there may be modest scientific support at best. The reader who asked the question below provides a classic example of just such prescribing. We would not get concerned if this drug was perfectly safe. But gabapentin side effects are not trivial as you will discover in our answer below.

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).

The Off-Label Marketing Boondoggle:

Pfizer, the manufacturer of the brand name Neurontin, got into major trouble when it marketed this drug for off-label uses. A company has historically not been 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).

Off-Label Prescribing Continues:

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

Gabapentin Discontinuation Syndrome (aka Withdrawal):

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.

Stories from Readers:

When you read a long list of gabapentin side effects, like those listed above, your eyes glaze over almost instantly. Drug companies have recognized this, which is why there is so much prescription drug advertising on TV and in magazines. There was a time when the pharmaceutical industry worried about telling patients about such serious side effects as irregular heart rhythms, hypertension or blood disorders. Not any more. They realize that even warnings about heart attacks, strokes or death do not scare people away.

The only way we can help you understand what such side effects are like in real life is to share stories from visitors to this website. Here are just a handful. You can read hundreds more in the comment section at the bottom of this article.

Sue in Corvallis, Oregon writes about her husband:

“My husband has been on gabapentin for anxiety and depression for over 3 years now. The doctors started him on this to get him off the benzodiazepines he had been on for 20 years.

“While it seemed to help in the beginning, they kept increasing the dose. He is currently on 2700 mg per day (900 mg x 3). That is way too much.

He has changed so much – cries hysterically, has mood swings, goes from insomnia to sleep deprivation. He has tremors, blurred vision and now talks about suicide all the time. He is so discouraged.

“If the FDA has not okayed gabapentin for anxiety and depression why do docs prescribe it? I am ready to complain to the drug company! He and I just want his life back. Lying in bed 85% of the time is not helpful.”

Susan in Milton, Florida shares a tragic story:

“My boyfriend was prescribed gabapentin for his diabetic neuropathy. I can see now that he became more withdrawn and one evening left the house without my knowledge and went to the hospital where they prescribed sertraline (Zoloft) and counseling the following Monday.

“He committed suicide Saturday morning. If I had been told by his doctor about the side effects of gabapentin I could have done something to prevent his death.”

Lynn in Mobile, Alabama warns about weight gain from gabapentin (she isn’t the only one):

“I have been on gabapentin (800 mg 3 x daily) for about 13 years. It was prescribed for spinal problems and pain problems in general. When I first started gabapentin it  worked great. But I experienced a tremendous amount of weight gain, like close to 100 pounds!

“As time has gone on I have noticed my life has changed so much. I have developed random weird thoughts. I never want to go anywhere or do anything except sit in my recliner and watch tv.

“I feel a nervous wreck if it’s been awhile since I have taken my gabapentin. I have an overwhelming feeling sometimes, like a flash in my mind of suicidal thoughts. My mind feels scrambled. It is very hard to explain.

“My pain is so unbearable sometimes that I am afraid to get off gabapentin. I am 44 years old and weighing around 250 pounds! I look horrible and don’t want anyone to see me period.”

Jonanne in England has had trouble getting off gabapentin:

“I had been on gabapentin for about two years for nerve damage from gallbladder surgery. I was on 300 mg 3 times a day. These tabs were a wonder drug and took my pain away almost immediately.

“Now two years later I returned to the doctor and told her I would like to come off this medication as I feel it’s time. For the last few weeks she weaned me off them with a withdrawal chart, which I followed till the last tablet. Just two days after being completely off gabapentin the side effects have hit me: dizziness, headaches, nausea, and I actually fainted, which I have never done before in my life.

“The doctor told me I had come off gabapentin too quickly and to start taking a lower dosage. I started weaning myself off gabapentin  gradually again, but still the same symptoms. I have not taken any pills for 5 days and the dizziness and headaches are back. I am not sleeping. I am also having hot sweats in the night and feeling very low in mood. I am not going back on gabapentin! I am going to persevere even with these symptoms and hope I can cope. I feel like I am going around the bend and will never get better.”

The People’s Pharmacy 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 VERY gradual withdrawal process. You may need to consult a sleep specialist to help you deal with your chronic insomnia in a more integrative manner.

You may find our recently revised Guide to Getting A Good Night’s Sleep worth consulting.

People with nerve pain may find our one-hour interview with David Casserett, MD, quite fascinating. In it he talks about medical marijuana for “neuropathic” pain. It is titled, “How One Doctor Changed His Mind About Medical Marijuana.”

Show 1027: How One Doctor Changed His Mind about Medical Marijuana (Archive)

If you are worried about the psychoactive properties of marijuana, you may find this article about canabidiol (CBD) oil of substantial interest. It may ease nerve pain without causing people to get “high.”

This article was revised: 12/8/2016

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  1. Barbara

    I was prescribed Gabapentin for nerve and arthritis severe pain. I was on the drug for 2 months and first developed a canker sore and irritated gums. I then developed a purplish rash on my thighs. I have been off the medicine for 2 months, and rash persists. Dermatologist ordered steroid cream a week ago and so far no improvement. The rash sometimes fades, and then it comes back. Any comments about this side effect?

    • Terry Graedon

      Does the dermatologist know this rash started after taking gabapentin? This information could help with the diagnosis and treatment.

  2. Linda M

    I am taking a low dose, just 100 mg at night for neuropathy. It seems to be helping with the itching and burning at night and also the random sharp, shooting pains. I have lost six pounds in two weeks and have always had a hard time taking off weight.

    I am at a normal weight for my height but now am wondering if I will keep losing weight. My appetite seems to be less than it was. I wanted to lose a few pounds so am not complaining but wonder if anyone else has lost weight. I can’t imagine taking the high doses that some are taking.

    • Claudia

      I have diabetic neuropathy. It is very painful to walk.. tried lyrica for over 2 years but had to keep raising the dosage. Side effects came on so slow that I didn’t realize the lyrica was causining it, till it nearly killed me …. I have found some relief with the burning and stinging in my feet when I try to sleep. For about 5years, I have been taking alpha lipoic acid.. 400mg 3 times a day. I only use “Doctors Best” I tried 3 other brands when I first started but they didn’t have any effect on me … so I have stuck with the one that works.

  3. Martha
    Ames, Iowa

    Some are very favorable, but others are scary, am just going on it for back pain so hope
    I will be able to withstand side effects I have taken it before for a short time with no ill
    effects but since have a pacemaker inserted and don’t want to have any side effects.

  4. Jean
    San Francisco

    I was prescribed gabapentin a few years ago for nerve pain associated with arthritis in my neck. My doctor told me to play around with the dosage to find what works for me. In the process I found that 300 mg every few days had so many unexpected benefits that I have ended up using it as a recreational drug. While it does help numb my pain, it also makes me super productive, interested in whatever I’m doing, relaxed and positive all at the same time.

    Whether I need to stay awake or go to sleep, it helps. When falling asleep I’m entertained by interesting thoughts and images and wake refreshed. I do find I have a few unpleasant side effects but am mostly able to overcome them with yoga and a healthy diet and of course by limiting how often I take the drug.

    As others have mentioned, It can cause a kind of emotional dullness, but in my case this has not been a bad thing. I would suggest that people avoid starting with a high dosage, especially to avoid the physical clumsiness and mental fogginess. Personally, I find it increases my mental acuity, and I have even learned to play the drums in my 50s while engaging in moderate use of this drug. It has also lessened my craving for alcohol.

  5. Tina
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    I too have been taking 300 mgs 3 x per day for a long time. Mostly to combat extensively nerve damage especially in my legs. For the first few years I seemed to be ok. But lately I noticed that all the life has just drained out of me. I just don’t want to do anything any more. The worst part is the constant thinking of dying. I also take Sertraline for my depression but it’s not working. I lost my job of 13 years and that has really pushed me to the edge. I get dizzy a lot and when I stand I get a droning in my ears and feel like I am going to faint. I just feel like I am in a vicious cycle with no way out. Does it ever get better?

  6. Darleen
    Niagara falls

    I have been using 200mg 3x a day for the past 16yrs for a thoracic surgery I had then. I also use 5mg roxycodone 3x . The gabapentin has done well for my pain as well as for lower back pain but the roxycodone helps with the tightness from the scar tissue. I am 67yrs. Once I took care of my mother and left the GABA at home. By morning I was terribly nauseated with dry heaves. Thought I had stomach flu. By 11 my boyfriend brought my GABA and within the hour I was normal and stayed that way. I do notice an upset stomach if I am late with my dose. I am fatigued with days of no desire to do anything and some days I do pretty good. Nausea I know is my biggest side effect.

  7. Davosity

    I’ve been put on GP recently after a few other SSRI’s, SSRI’s, were unsatisfactory to me. My instructions are 900mg. am and pm. The stuff seems to access what other chemicals haven’t, but adjustment has been a bit tortuous at times. I have “very serious” COPD and strong anxiety and depression issues. I take 1.5mg Klonopin per day.

    It’s great to find this thread!

  8. Tammy

    Have been on 300mg 3x a day for about a year now, for nerve pain in my arm. Had surgery for carpel and cubital syndrome a couple weeks ago. I stopped taking my Rx the day of surgery. While the paperwork that came with the drug said don’t I thought it would be okay since I had asked my Dr.s assistant to find out about me tapering off, he told me I didn’t have to and that I could just stop.

    I don’t feel any huge withdraw symptoms but after reading here I do have occasional headache, frequent sudden urges to poop, and maybe night sweats. I did fall yesterday but am pretty sure I just tripped over a box in the garage. While it helped with my nerve pain: I hated the side effects: super moody, memory loss, morbid thoughts, an added benefit it got rid of my tinnitus…which is now back. I have been off for 2 weeks and wonder if I should check in with the Dr on it

  9. T

    My mother was put on gabapentin 2 years ago while in the hospital for chronic back and leg pain. Right away she developed an unsteady gait and jumping in her legs that she had not had before. It was decided to go to the Lyrica (4 X 25mg daily) because “some people respond better to it”. Things got even worse, with her hands and body twitching, both legs jumping, sleepiness, mental and physical agitation/fogginess and more with seemingly no relief in the pain. We were told it could take a little while to get better, but after 8 months of this, as caregiver daughter, I spoke with her physician, and we decided to take her off the medication and just deal with the pain and not all the side-effects.

    What a “trip”! Literally! Hallucinations, suicidal, sick – sick – sick! It took over 6 months to get her down to 1 X 25mg per day, but we could never get her off that last pill! She was still twitching, and the jumping in her legs was getting worse. Recently we have had to change insurance and just could not afford the Lyrica, so decided to go back to the generic gabapentin and see what would happen. Wonderful!!! FIVE days off the Lyrica, and the twitching and jumping has virtually stopped. She says her whole body is “quieter and more restful,” and her pain level is not any worse. Maybe from here we can even get her off the gabapentin completely.

    I have only personally known 3 other people who have taken Lyrica – for 3 different reasons, but all 3 have had very bad results. 2 were able to get off. 1 still has to take that 1 pill a day or is suicidal, which never was a problem before! I’m sure it must be a good thing for some people out there but I don’t know any of them! We did learn this: DO YOUR HOMEWORK before starting new meds if you can. We have opted out of several other controversial drugs since then and never been sorry. Please consider carefully the possible side effects before starting Lyrica/gabapentin. They are VERY real for some people!

  10. Tessa

    Almost 6 years ago, my husband suffered compartment syndrome due to a femural bypass. He had a fasciotomy that resulted in a muscle loss in that portion of his leg from the necrotic tissue having to be cut away, resulting in 7 more surgeries, permanent drop foot, loss of feeling in his leg from his knee down to his toes, weeks of rehabilitation, and plastic surgery to cover the muscle that was exposed on the exterior side of his leg. He’s been on 1800 mg of Gabapentin every day since for nerve pain, and last year was diagnosed with CLL. He’s also, in my opinion, suffering with brain fog, depression, and mood swings. Is all this just a coincidence, or is it from years of overusing Gagapentin? After reading this article, I’m now wondering, and scared half to death of what he could be facing because of this drug, though even if I showed this to him, he’d never give up taking it because it’s what gets him through each day dealing with the pain.

  11. Catherine

    I was prescribed Lyrica when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I couldn’t handle the side effects (brain fog, balance issues) and the cost. My doctor switched me to gabapentin without really telling me about the side effects, just that it was a precursor drug to Lyrica. I wish I had known about the mood effects before I attempted suicide. I never put two and two together for a long time. I was given diazepam to counter the irritable moods gabapentin produced. This worked well until I had to go off the benzodiazepine. The terrible mood swings, the irritability, and angry outbursts are becoming unbearable. But, the pain from the fibromyalgia is controlled with gabapentin, so I do not know what to do.

  12. T. S.

    I had a stroke seven and a half years ago and continued having headaches afterward. I was given Gabapentin in the hospital for those headaches which have since been diagnosed as migraines. I take 2400 mg every day. My family has told me that I am not the same since my stroke. I assumed the stroke changed my personality, but now I am thinking it is the gabapentin. I only take it as it has been prescribed, but now I am worried about it. I never feel like I get enough sleep either. I could go to bed at 7:00 pm and sleep until noon the next day and still not feel rested. I tell my husband daily that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

  13. Lauren
    Chattanooga, TN

    I was on 2700mg of Gabapentin and was tapered off too quickly. I ended up in the emergency room, suicidal. My brain was telling me things I had never thought before. This drug is horrible. I had rather be on opiates the rest of my life than this mood-altering drug. If you are prescribed Gabapentin, make sure you educate yourself; don’t just depend on your Doctor. A good pharmacist is a must if you are taking these types of drugs. Read everything you can. There is movement to change this drug to a “controlled substance.” BEWARE.

  14. Melissa

    I have had it since March so less than a year I only take one 100mg pill at night sometimes two. It has helped my nerve pain alot. I will probably go to one pill a night than one pill every other night for a while. I don’t want to be hooked on anything. I am surprised that people take that much. My dr. said you only take what works for you and no more. Most of the time it is one 100mg pill a night.

  15. Brianna
    victoria, bc

    I took Gabapentin off an on for a year. I would take 300mg once every couple of weeks or so. I was already a bit down, so when my depression started getting worse, I had no idea it was from the Gabapentin. My depression got so bad that I would break down sobbing for no reason other than the intense despair and sadness that was overwhelming me. So I started taking the Gabapentin more frequently because it greatly improved my mood.

    The last week I took it, I took one 300mg pill about 4 times in one week. The last night I took it, I woke up the following morning with actual hardcore anhedonia, or completely dead inside emotionally. I was a zombie.

    Normally when I would take Gabapentin at night, I would sleep better and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and like myself, but not that night. I woke up dead. And then I also realized not only were my emotions dead, but my vagina and sex drive were too. Genital numbness, NO libido, and unable to orgasm. Before I was a very sexual person, with lots of passionate sex with my husband, and no problems with sensation or orgasm.

    Not anymore. And I’ve been off the Gabapentin for 3 months now, and I think this sexual dysfunction side effect is permanent….which has ruined my life and taken the joy out of everything for me. My moods/emotions are mostly back to normal (and the depression is back to pre-Gabapentin levels), but my sex drive and ability to feel are gone.

    I can’t live this way.

  16. Diana

    I was out on gabapenten for spinal pain.I told the Dr.I did not want to be put on any medication that is addicting.She said this medication was not addicting.I have been very vocal about this to both my primary Dr.and pain clinic Dr.Last year I was hospitalized for severe abdominal pain to the point I passed out.I had tried to stop taking the medication not knowing at the time it was the gabapenton.They said it was because I was constipation.I became so depressed because it caused so much worry in my family.
    Just this holiday I became so busy I forgot to take my medication for a day and a half.I became very irritable,woke with a headace,then the following night could not sleep all nightI had vivid dreams,As I realized it was the medication I started taking it again.Then started researching gabapentin.
    I was shocked.I have been having side effects all along.I couldn’t remember anything,my peripheral vision is effected,.I would wake up from sleep and couldn’t sleep after.
    I am frustrated because I Have been lied too.I’m fearful of the withdraws now that I realize it is the drug.Exspeacily since I told the Doctors I didn’t want to be in anything addicting!I work with those with demtia I Feel Like I Have it tooand im Only59 Years Old.

  17. Sue
    Hickory, NC

    My 86 year old father was prescribed Gabapentin for restless legs. We were in the ER this weekend with his blood pressure at 194/95, heart rate in the 90’s. EKG showed he was in atrial fibrillation. Now they are saying he has congestive heart failure. Anyone go into a-fib on this medicine?? He is confused, has blurred vision, balance issues, slurred speech. We noticed a quick decline after starting this medicine.

  18. Martine

    I know that gabapentin is not for everyone but while I had to come down from 600 to 400mg 3x a day, it is really good as an add on to my Paxil and buspirone. It helps with improved mood and Fibromyalgia. While I do understand caution for off label use, if it helps you and you don’t experience any negative side affects I see no reason to avoid it. I’ve tried other drugs with no effect.

  19. Pam

    I’ve been on Gabapentin (1200 mg daily) since March of 2017 (8 months) for severe nerve damage in my leg following a total knee replacement. I’m a 69 year old woman. I’ve lost my appetite and have lost 30 pounds, my vision is now blurry, my stomach is upset, I have bouts of diarrhea and depression. I don’t feel like the person I used to be—active, intelligent, motivated. I’m a psychotherapist with a PhD and haven’t been able to practice. I’m a published author and can’t find the brain power to write or read. I’m seeing my doctor today. There has to be a way to deal with this nerve pain without taking a drug that changes you cognitively and emotionally, plus both physically for the better and for the worse.

  20. Kel
    Reno, NV

    My gosh, I must be one of the luckiest Gabapentin users ever! I am so sorry to hear that so many folks have such issues with it. It’s been terrific for me. Thanks to a genetic chronic immune system disease, I have five different kinds of arthritis along with fibromyalgia, recurrent migraines, major depressive disorder, and insomnia (among other things, believe it or not!). Yeah, I’m a bit of a medical mess and live in constant, excruciating pain.

    I take a laundry list of pharmaceuticals, to which Gabapentin was recently added for neuropathy in my cervical spine, and it incidentally turned out to help with my insomnia as well. I was prescribed 1,200mg/day but I only take 600mg at night. I discovered the insomnia assistance by taking the first morning dose and being drowsy all day, then sleeping through the night for the first time in two and a half years after taking it in combination with my 100mg of Trazodone (regular sleep prescription).

    Now I just take the one 600mg dose at night and it’s been great. It also works just fine in conjunction with my anti-depressants Cymbalta (20mg, 2x/day) and Wellbutrin (150mg, 2x/day), which was a big concern because I’ve had suicidal ideation since I was a teenager.

    After reading all these horror stories, I feel so fortunate to have had zero side effects whatsoever, especially with a) all my medical issues, and b) with all the medication I take. I searched this site because I was looking to find out whether people in AFib are able to use Gabapentin because I think my mom might benefit from its anti-insomnia properties. I didn’t realize there were so many basic potential pitfalls. I will still have her check with her cardiologist, though, and hopefully it’ll be a winner for her, too.

    Hang in there, everybody! Keep fighting for, and taking care of, yourselves! <3

  21. Michele

    I’ve read some of the horrors of Gabapentin usage, but I wish to give my experience with it. Lyrica gave me the ‘lyrica flu’ every 3 days–high fever–103-104, hard chills, all-over, severe pain. Dr. switched me to Gabapentin. Nothing else, & I mean ‘nothing-else’ would quell the unbearable peripheral neuropathy in my feet & legs. It also helps me go to sleep. No flu symptoms either.

  22. Roger

    I have been on gabapentin (2700-3600mg) day for severe RLS and periferal neuropathy due to diabetes and a spinal injury, for several months. It has been quite helpful with few side effects except for some slightly swollen feet that may or may not be due to the drug. That said, with all the problems noted here I will certainly be on the lookout.

  23. Eileen
    Painesville, OH

    I have been on 800 mg/day of Gabapentin since 2000 for nerve damage from two back surgeries. For years, I was tested to make sure I had no liver or organ damage. I have NEVER had any adverse side effects although, admittedly, I’m on a fairly low dosage. Perhaps I’m one of the lucky ones, but just wanted to let everyone know out there that this drug has been a God-send. Just wanted to throw out some positive feedback.

    • Jim
      North Carolina

      I too have just started taking 900 mg of gabapentin per day. I had so much burning in both legs from knees down to my big toe. Also, I have a lot of arthritis in my knees and back. I have had 3 back surgeries both knees surgery. I have been in pain for 43 years since my 1st back surgery. Over the years, every time I had an appointment with any Doctor, I would bring up the pain and burning in my legs. They all said, it nerve damage as a result of back surgery so I need to learn with the pain. I did for 43 years. The last two years was to the point, I started telling the Doctor, it was time to cut nerves for relief. I finally found a Great Doctor after examination and consultation prescribed gabapentin which is low dosage compared for a lot of folks. I must say after only taking two 300 mg (600 mg total). I told my wife, I think this Doctor has found a miracle for me, the burning was much less and even the feeling of tacks or needles in my heels much less than I was experiencing. This is only my 2nd day of taking this medicine and I am suffering less pain & discomfort in over 43 years to the point that if this is all the pain that I have the rest of my life is truly a miracle. I will without a doubt will know if I have any side effects within the next few days/weeks). I’m just trying this medicine to see if it would help me. TODAY IT TRULY HAS HELPED. ONLY HOPING BETTER RESULTS WITHIN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. I would encourage people who are suffering from arthritis to talk with their Doctor to try it in low dosage – I’m sure they will have great results.
      I was told over the years by practically every Doctor who has examine me that my back was full of arthritis and they (the last three) ask me if it bothered me in doing my regular work routine. I was SHOCKED that they told me – I didn’t even know that I had arthritis. Two of the last three told me that they had never seen so much arthritis in one’s back as me. As I got older about two years ago, it let me know that I had arthritis to the point, my back shoulders, neck, pain so severe it traveled from my neck over the top of my head to my eyes. Could not even turn my neck even a half inch either direction.
      I might add, due to having 3 back surgeries, I have suffered pain for years and I learn to live with pain but at times the pain would reach the point, that I could not think of anything other than the pain and had to get relief. The Doctors’ answer was DEMORAL, which was another miracle drug to get me relief and over the years it WORKED. Keep in mind, I do not recommend taking this every day. Only when I was in severe PAIN and only took it at the most one day, 2-3 times. (In a year, at the most that I ever took it (off and on) would be 50 tablets of 50 mg I got relief enough where I could tolerate the pain as a result of the surgeries
      The second day of taking gabapentin, even my back and shoulders are not hurting where it dwell on my mind as it has been. As I said, I do not intend to be taking this medicine for life. I’m just trying it for perhaps a couple of weeks AT THE MOST!

  24. Alex

    I have been on 3,600mg of gabapentin per day for a couple of years now, I can tell you it has completely changed my life, my thought process is so much slower and remembering things have been very hard for me, I met a man today that knew me very well and I can’t recall his name or where I know him from.

    I have tried lowering my dosage on my own and can’t because the pain is too much if I don’t take them, I’m also taking tramacet for the pain on what the doctors have no idea what is wrong with me, I woke up with blisters one day on my legs and they pop and look like burn marks, this has reoccured and I’ve seen every specialist that you can think of, I’m 100% healthy as they say after multitudes of blood work, I thank God these marks are on my body or they’d think I was crazy!

    I still live in pain every day but can’t manage to work if I don’t take these stupid pills, wow, how I wish I could go back to living a normal life but that obviously isn’t going to happen any time soon, I’m so Thankful for a Loving Wife and for her sticking by my side through this…, these pills suck.

    • Xan

      I recently read an article that states that a study shows Neurontin (gabapentin) and Lyrica, its more potent version, prevent the formation of new brain synapses, and may have longer-term adverse effects on nerve health. I have been taking gabapentin for roughly two years for Trigeminal Neuralgia. It started as occasional numbness, but now alternates between a “mild sunburn sensation” and “Stabbed with a fork wired to a battery”. I am also in a constant fog and have even more memory troubles than I did two years ago. After reading the study, I’m convinced that this drug is responsible for worsening my condition.

  25. Jim

    I take Gaba only at night 2 hours before bed. I take it for restless leg syndrome. Only 600mg. Won’t go any higher. helps me sleep. I don’t have the issues some of you have. Must be the lower dosage.

  26. Maureen

    I have a neighbor who was ordered Gabapentin for neuropathy in her feet. She immediately noticed that a horrible fog come over her. She became depressed, unable to do much of anything. She couldn’t stand how it had taken her over. Yet the pain persisted so she went back to the ER and while there told the doctor about how horrible the medicine was making her feel. He told her “well, then just stop it”, so that is what she did. She only took the medicine for something like 2-4 weeks, but then stopped it abruptly (which I am reading should never be done), and now 2 weeks after stopping it, she is still like a zombie. Depressed, in a fog, unable to tend to any of what she used to do. She used to be a very active person, working in the yard, active in church, very outgoing. Now all of the life has gone out of her. She sits in her house and stares. Doesn’t open the curtains on her windows, doesn’t go out side, or to church. And to look in her eyes, it looks like there is no one inside anymore. What can we do to help her? Does this ever wear off? Is there any kind of treatment to reverse these affects? IF ANYONE HAS ANY ANSWERS, PLEASE HELP!

  27. Ann

    I HATE Gabapentin. And I can’t stop taking it. I was prescribed this horrid medication for Restless legs. 300 mg 2-3 times per day. My legs ache ache ache until I can barely walk. They hurt all the time. AND I have gained a ton of weight and cannot lose it. My doctor does not believe me even though he is well aware of the weight gain. I hate this drug and I HAVE to take it I will get tingling in my hands and my legs wiggle and jerk. I have weaned myself down to 300 mg. at night. I need help. It is ruining my walking and coordination. I have no quality of life. WHAT DO I DO. I NEED HELP. PLEASE DON’T TELL ME THIS IS A DUPLICATE COMMENT. PLEASE HELP ME.

  28. Deb
    Madison, WI

    My husband was prescribed Gabapentin in May of 2014. He took it – just 1 pill for 3 days – for neuropathic pain in his legs – and it ruined his life! He woke up on the 3rd morning and could not walk – had to crawl to the bathroom – his memory was all messed up – and still is to this day!! – he is depressed, anxious, has bouts of EXTREME FATIGUE. He also has “episodes” that we’re still trying to figure out.

    He just zones out, mumbles, stares, doesn’t remember anything, is super confused – like he’s in his own little world. On 1 day I had a husband that loved life, did NOT have any memory issues, loved to fish, read books, play X-Box games, loved being outdoors and 3 days later I had a husband that I did not even know anymore. It has ruined his life, my life, our lives. He has seen all kinds of doctors, had cat-scans, brain MRI’s, repeated EEG’s, blood tests, done chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, and nothing helps. Also, since taking the Gabapentin, now he can’t take hardly any other prescribed medications – he has the “severe” side effects if he does. It’s been a horrific 3+ years for us. We are 65 and 70 and couldn’t wait to be retired so that we could travel and now we just sit at home, go to appts, etc. etc. trying to figure out what happened to Dave……. I keep bringing up the fact that this ALL started on the 3rd day of that damn Gabapentin but the doctors all say that the affects wouldn’t still be going on today. I/WE DON’T have never agreed and after reading all of these other comments, for sure I am going to pursue this more!! Have any of you hired an attorney to help you? I truly feel for each and every one of you because I have seen in person the HORRIFIC side affects of this nasty drug.

    • Maggie

      Hi Ann,
      There arr other meds for restless leg. I don’t remember why they are, but my mom took one that worked.
      This is not the only option for that condition. I’m not a doctor, but yours should be able to give you something else.

    • Marie Fuller
      West Virginia

      I have had neuropathy for several years and have been on gaperpentin for at least 5 years. I still work. I would not be working without it. You can not stand nerve without something. I wouldn’t take it but I have to. I am on my feet 12 hrs a day.

    • Sandra M.

      You could start taking yoga classes and meditating. Get massages, and eat healthy fruits and vegetables. Listen to hypnosis videos, and check out herbal remedies. Find a good alternative health care practioner or a chiropractor neurologist. With good self care and natural alternative methods you can get off it. I think yoga is a cure for every ailment. Find a teacher or research the internet. My prayers are with you.

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