Have you ever heard of the statement; “Gabapentin ruined my life”? If you have, you might have wondered how this is possible, and how it can be avoided.
Today Healthsoothe will answer these and more. We will also give various authentic experiences of people who claimed that Gabapentin ruined their lives.
Not only will we be sharing how Gabapentin can ruin lives, but we will also tell you how you can recover from Gabapentin’s devastating side effects, and even better, how to prevent them and get the most out of Gabapentin when using it.
Firstly, let’s talk about Gabapentin
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication that doctors prescribe as an epilepsy treatment to prevent partial seizures and nerve pain.
Gabapentin is marketed under the generic or trade names; Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant.
Gabapentin is only available with a prescription. It comes in the following forms:
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Uses of Gabapentin
It is used for epilepsy treatment to prevent partial seizures.
This drug can also act as a pain reliever for various conditions that affect the nervous system, such as postherpetic neuralgia, a pain that occurs due to shingles.
It can also treat symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
Side effects of Gabapentin
It has been reported that people have developed physical dependence on Gabapentin, and experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to come off it. Withdrawal symptoms can begin within 12 hours to 7 days after quitting the medication and last up to 10 days. Symptoms or side effects of gabapentin withdrawal are known to be severe, and I will soon be listing these side effects.
Overdosing on Gabapentin can also cause severe side effects.
Common side effects
Gabapentin is a fairly safe medication when people take it according to a doctor’s instructions. However, some people may experience side effects.
Common side effects that generally do not require medical attention include:
- Blurred vision
- Cold or flu-like symptoms
- Lack or loss of strength
- Pain in the lower back or side
- Swelling of the hands, feet, or lower legs
- Trembling or shaking
Common side effects that do require medical attention include unsteadiness and back-and-forth or rolling eye movements that are continuous and uncontrolled.
Gabapentin can cause different side effects in children that may require medical attention. These include:
- Aggressive behavior or other behavioral issues
- Changes in school performance
- Concentration problems
- Distrust of others
- False sense of well-being
- Hyperactivity or increase in body movements
- Rapidly changing moods
- Reacting too quickly or overreacting
Serious and long-term effects
According to the authors of a 2010 study paper; people with preexisting kidney disease may experience potentially fatal toxicity when taking gabapentin.
Gabapentin may cause other long-term effects, including memory loss, weakened muscles, and respiratory failure.
Serious and rare side effects
Gabapentin can cause some rare but serious side effects. While these are uncommon, people should be aware of them and seek medical attention if needed.
Consult a doctor right away if you experience any of these behavioral changes:
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Violent behavior, aggressiveness, or anger
- Anxiety that is worse or new
- Depression that is worse or new
- Irritability that is worse or new
- Panic attacks
Gabapentin can also affect specific parts of the body and cause serious but rare side effects. These include:
A person may experience symptoms related to kidney abnormalities, such as:
- A change in how much urine they produce
- Trouble urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Weight gain
- Swelling in the legs or feet from fluid retention
A person may experience:
- Severe fatigue, tiredness, or weakness
- Unexpected muscle pain
- Long-lasting stomach pain
- Skin color with a bluish tint on the lips, nail beds, toes, or fingers
Gabapentin can cause a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to Gabapentin include:
- A skin rash
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the chest or throat
- Gland swelling that does not go away
- Swelling of the face, lips, throat, or tongue
The primary withdrawal symptoms associated with Gabapentin use include:
- Sensitivity to light.
- Irregular heartbeat.
In addition, people who are taking gabapentin for seizures and suddenly stop taking it may experience a rebound in or increased frequency of seizure activity, including continuous, uncontrollable seizures (status epilepticus).
Call your doctor right away if you experience signs of an allergic reaction to gabapentin. Call 911 if these symptoms appear life-threatening.
How Gabapentin ruined my life – Read what other people said on this
I have never had my life ruined by Gabapentin, but I will drop the experiences some have passed through with Gabapentin, and how this relates to the issue of “Gabapentin ruined my life.”
The following experiences of people who went through this issue of Gabapentin ruined their lives are from two popular and legit sites: www.patient.info andDrugs.com;
- The first experience we have here is the only one from Drugs.com by Josiah“I too went through the awful nightmare when I quit gabapentin. In the past I have quit xanax, alcohol, cocaine and a few others and those drugs were a cake walk compared to Gabapentin. I have never felt such anxiety and hopelessness.” I want to start by giving an apology for my doubts towards patients who posted about problems with gabapentin withdrawal. How hard could it be? It has a short half life. It is not an opioid.
- Second one is from G.Allyn: My plan was to write about my extremely painful and unexpected withdrawal experience after I felt better, but it has been FIFTEEN months. I was on 1800-3600 mg /day for 20 years. My physician put me on a six day weaning schedule. The day I took my last dose my pain skyrocketed, but the pain has changed from low back to toes pain, to pain mostly to my anterior legs below my knees. Unfortunately, it is a very slow process. The internal nerve shaking that accompanies the pain is beyond annoying. I often read patients on forums stating they have no problem with gabapentin. I did not think my problems were that terrible before I went off the drug. They all come with cautions and potential problems. I wish I had known of how difficult this drug was to discontinue before I had ever taken the first pill. I wish someone had warned me. Good luck to everyone trying to discontinue gabapentin. I hope your experience is easier than mine.
- DariaVin: I went off morphine ER and percocet before I discontinued the gabapentin. Going off gabapentin was 50 times more difficult. I don't know how long it has been since you discontinued the gabapentin, but hang in there. The only thing keeping me going is knowing how much I go through each day and I try to tell myself I am one day closer to possibly feeling better. Some days do get the best of me. I feel like each gabapentin prescription should come with free coupons for a spa day and cognitive therapy, because after what you go through, you will surely need it. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the kindness of strangers to respond to my moaning. Someone wrote they were sending prayers my way. Very sweet and thoughtful from someone I never met.
- Fourth one is from Elizabeth1: Hi, i am stuck at 300mg gabapentin and feeling horrible anxiety/depression/crying/apathy and emotional hell. was put on them for help with anti-depressant withdrawal. terrified of tapering down as have heard horror stories so what do i do???have you stopped taking them and did you taper? I feel like i will never be normal again....please respond
- Fifth one is from Lindsey62: I know it’s been a couple month but I also have been having some horrible symptoms I think may be related to coming off nurotin,I have just been released from the hospital for burning nerve pain up my neck,memory impairment and feeling off In the head like I have brain damage, also numbness and loss of emotions feeling as if part of my brain isn’t functioning right it has been four weeks since I stopped this drug sound familiar? And if so are you doing ok now, I am scared there’s no end in sight.
- Diane80014 posted the sixth one: Hi Jackie, Why do you want to go off of it?Are you afraid of what could happen long term? I was on 900 mg grams for 3 months! I went off because I had horrible side effects! I guess I’m just wondering why you want to go off! I know it scared the hell out of me! Some people have been on it for years! I heard Lyrica is just as bad! I’ve never taken it! You are on a high dose to me anyway! Gabapentin will never be in my life again! I believe you said your not terrified to be on it! Not sure if you meant you are terrified to stay on it!! Good Luck with whatever you decide to do!
- Seventh one: Hi Diane, I did not know about these horror stories from the rest of you and was not aware this was a controlled substance until quite recently. I suppose it's workiing for some of my issues, but I DON'T like taking a drug that is this HORRENDOUS coming off. It scares the willies out of me. Had I known about all of this years ago, I would not have ever gone on it to begin with. I hate taking meds to begin with, but this one really has be freaked. I thought the only CS I was on OCCASSIONALLY is my opiod which I RARELY take, I wanted to make sure I never got addicted. How was I to know GP was WORSE. I'm expecting something wonderful to happen soon and I don't want to be poisioning my body with this garbage. It's like I WILLINGLY poisoned myself for the last 6 or 7 years. I'll be talking to my regular doctor about changing my script so that I can try to go off of it slowly. VERY slowly. 50mg every 4 weeks then when I get down to just 600, he can then change it so I can get the capsules that I can continue with the dosage. UGH what a NIGHTmare!
- From Shewholvs: Hi Jackie, I understand. I was given Gabapentin to help with my depression along with my Wellbutrin. and then a few years later my feet started to burn pretty bad. at that time I was on 600 mg at night. the burning was pretty intense so I would use Tinactin spray to cool my feet off at night or put them in cold water. so I kept thinking neuropathy and I'm not a diabetic. so finally I went back to the doctor and he put me on 600 more milligram at night. my feet had not burned in a long time and I had asked my doctor if I had neuropathy and he said no. so I decided I wasn't taking it anymore and I did not tell my doctor I did not know it was addictive. I had horrible dizziness and nausea and owed just so many things and I was like eight symptoms I could barely walk I could get up to walk along the furniture to get into the bathroom and back I wasn't eating. And then when it happened a second time I was thinking something's wrong should I go to the doctor. So and then I thought wait a minute the only difference made was the Neurontin. So I took one and I felt better that night I took another one period the next day I took another one in the afternoon cuz I started feeling pretty nauseous and dizzy and then that night I took two so the following night I took 3 instead of 4. so I started feeling better. 8 years I have been on at least 600 and then 600 more about a year or two years. So I am still on 900 mg I figured at least I should have 300 mg out of my system name for surgery. I feel really cruddy today But that just might be me I don't know. I want to go down another 300 but I'm afraid to I don't think I could handle all that again. I totally understand you're not wanting to deal with that or go through it because I sure don't ever want to go through that month and I went through. Soma best of wishes and I pray you'll do okay God bless.
- Michel51: Sorry i was reading your story and i too can relate to everything all of u are going through, i also tried to break up the gaba by taking 1/2 in the am and 1/2 at night,,,this made it worse,,,i was in a complete fog,,,i only was taking 300 mg at night ( i thank my God that i wasnt able to handle it 3x daily as prescribed),,,i had multiple back surgeries and was left with nerve damage,,,i was and am on oxycodone at the same time,,,as i lowered pain med a little at a time i kept waking with severe wd,,,i figured i needed to level out,,,i cit myself slack but after 4 weeks i was still having terrible wd every morning,,,i prayed for God to reveal what is going on? It made no sense,,,the next day i wad led to look at the gabaa,,,i was having so many side effects from it, chest pain, anxiety, panic attacks and the list goes on and on, all lof it was from the gaba,,,i hate taking it and i hate not taking it,,,it is poison,,,wd is for me ears ringing at a high pitch, dizzy, motor skills compromised, and u guys know the rest,,pain, exhaustion,, i am down to 100 mg And still feel yukky all the time, want to stop but about to have my 6th surgery,,scripture scriture scritures!!! amazing but that is the only time i have clear head! We Can Do All Things Through Christ!!!! He knows.
- The tenth and last review I will drop is from Tyler_548: Lindsey please help me! I have been off of gabapentin for 17 days now.. for a few days I felt things in my head were getting better. Since last night my heads gone back to horror. I don't even know how to explain but reading your post about your mind not functioning right..feeling off in the head like brain damage.. I can't even watch tv because I can't catch up with what's going on! I feel like I'm completely losing it. My mind & thoughts are not working right at all.. I'm terrified!! I'm just wondering how you're feeling now?? How's your mind?? Is it any better?
Alright, that is all for now. So you now know how this drug can ruin someone’s life. Does the phrase “Gabapentin ruin my life” make sense to you now? Yeah, it does. So be informed.
Now, how has Gabapentin ruined my life, or how can it ruin yours?
I’m sorry that I cannot cite my personal experience with Gabapentin as I have never used it, but I have dropped the experience others had on it earlier above, so you can read up there on the issue of “how Topamax ruined my life.”
So now. I am not going to drop those experiences again; rather I am going to let you know how to recover from Gabapentin's devastating side effects.
Yes, you can recover from Gabapentin ruining your life. It isn’t a death sentence, nor is it like cancer or HIV. You can recover if you set your mind to it.
Firstly, you need to follow up on the warnings and precautions, avoid possible drug interactions, and consult your doctor for treatments.
There are better and more efficient alternatives to Gabapentin. Meet your doctor so that he can recommend or prescribe the right one for you.
If you put your mind to it, you are serious, determined, and unwavering, as well as resourceful, then trust me, you are on your way to recovery because there are various therapies and treatments already available.
All you have to do is find the right ones, and then you are good to go.
How to safely stop taking Gabapentin without the withdrawal symptoms ruining your life
Have you been taking gabapentin and thought about stopping? Before you decide to stop this medicine, there’s some important safety and risk information for you to consider.
Abruptly stopping gabapentin could make your symptoms worse. It could even be dangerous. You might have a serious reaction like seizures if you quit suddenly.
Don’t stop taking gabapentin without first discussing it with your doctor. Your doctor can adjust dosing if you’re having problems.
If you want to stop taking your medication, do it under a doctor’s supervision while gradually decreasing your dosage.
Tapering or slowly reducing your dose is the recommended way to stop taking gabapentin.
Tapering off will help you avoid side effects. The timeline to reduce gabapentin depends on the individual and the current dose of the medication.
Your doctor will develop a plan to slowly take you off the medication. This could be lowering the dose over a week or several weeks.
You may experience anxiety, agitation, or insomnia when your dose is reduced. It’s important to discuss any symptoms you’re experiencing with your doctor so that they can adjust your dosing schedule.
Remember the schedule is flexible and your comfort is important. If you experience seizures, shortness of breath, or other serious symptoms, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.
It’s important to discuss dose changes with your doctor because your doctor can monitor you while you taper off the drug, and treat any symptoms such as:
- Side effects like allergic reaction, fever, nausea, tremors, or double vision
- Withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and others
- Worsening of your condition or sym
Gabapentin drug interactions
You got to know the drug interactions of Gabapentin to know what to avoid taking into your body when you are on Gabapentin because there are some things or conditions you are on, that taking Gabapentin will prove harmful, even fatal to you.
Central nervous system (CNS) depressants like alcohol and opioids when taken together with Gabapentin can increase drowsiness and dizziness.
Harmful effects can also include problems with breathing and mental status changes. The risk of death with co-use of opioids and gabapentin is up to 60 percent greater with doses of gabapentin over 900 milligrams per day.
Antacids with aluminum and magnesium like Maalox and Mylanta can reduce gabapentin’s effects. It’s best to take them apart for at least 2 hours.
Consult your doctor, physician, or pharmacist on how to use Gabapentin safely.
Better and safer alternatives to Gabapentin
Cymbalta, Elavil, Klonopin, Lipoderm, and Lyrica are some good gabapentin alternatives.
Treatment of Gabapentin side effects
The safest way to stop using gabapentin is to taper off the medication under the supervision of a doctor.
In some cases, individuals who are at risk of or are already displaying severe withdrawal symptoms may require intensive inpatient monitoring and medical withdrawal management if complications arise.
Experts recommend gradually smaller doses of gabapentin to safely and comfortably wean a person off the medication.
Such tapering schedules are commonly used with medications like gabapentin that have the potential to produce adverse withdrawal effects when discontinued.
Gabapentin use can be phased out over one week, but the exact schedule will depend on the person’s particular situation.
Slower tapers may allow for safer discontinuation of the drug. Experts recommend reducing the daily dose to a maximum rate of 300mg every 4 days.
You can also find drug rehab and detox treatment centers near you. They can really help you out.
When to contact a doctor
Gabapentin is only available on prescription, so people will need to visit a doctor to obtain this medication.
It is vital to discuss the potential side effects of Gabapentin, as well as any necessary precautions, with the doctor. A doctor will likely:
Offer dietary and lifestyle advice, particularly if weight gain from Gabapentin is a concern
Advise the individual not to drive or operate heavy machinery while taking gabapentin
Recommend over-the-counter medications that can help with some common side effects
People already taking the medication should contact a doctor if the side effects become bothersome. It is important not to stop gabapentin treatment without speaking with a doctor first.
Suddenly stopping the drug can lead to withdrawal, seizures, and other serious problems. A doctor can offer advice on managing side effects and provide medical supervision to allow a person to start or stop taking the medication safely.
What will happen if you miss significant doses of Gabapentin and what do you do?
Nothing much will happen. Just that if you have missed significant doses of the drug, it will not be effective or potent enough to treat you for the ailment you took it for.
Do the following if you have missed dose on significant doses;
- If you forget to take one or more doses: take your next dose at the usual time and in the average amount. Do not take any more than your doctor prescribed.
- If you miss one dose, skip it and continue with your normal schedule.
- Do not increase the dosage to catch up with the missed doses.
You should consult your doctor on what to do if you don’t know what to do.
What will happen if you overdose on Gabapentin and what do you do?
Overdosing on Gabapentin can also cause several severe side effects which I have outlined in this article. So if you have overdosed or someone close to you has overdosed, consult your healthcare provider immediately.
Is Gabapentin FDA approved?
Gabapentin is FDA-approved for a variety of conditions, including seizures, nerve pain, and restless legs syndrome.
Our evaluation shows that the use of such medicines, often referred to as gabapentinoids, has been growing for prescribed medical use, as well as misuse and abuse.
Final thoughts from Healthsoothe on the issue of “how Gabapentin ruined my life”
Please note that Gabapentin cannot cure epilepsy, but it can be used to prevent seizures.
It can also treat symptoms of restless leg syndrome but doctors should not prescribe gabapentin to treat arthritis pain or acute pain that results from minor injuries.
This is what I have since learned about the drug: Stanford University did a study on gabapentin in 2009 and found that it prevents the formation of new synapses in the brain.
Many who take it long-term eventually develop cognitive impairment and short-term memory loss. Gabapentin affects GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid—a “calming” element) in the body.
When taking the drug, one’s body will adjust to the artificially induced GABA and start to produce less of its own. (That fact is similar to benzodiazepines except that gabapentin affects GABA through calcium receptors rather than GABA receptors.)
Though not technically addictive, dependency can happen very quickly. If taken incorrectly, stopped abruptly, or tapered too quickly or the wrong way (or if one has developed a tolerance), before the body can rebuild GABA, lots of “uncalm” things can happen (insomnia, anxiety, sweating, heart palpitations, panic attacks, muscle tightness & pain, twitching, akathisia, digestive issues, breathing difficulties, nerve excitement—burning, itching, tingling, numbness, etc.) because there is not enough naturally produced GABA available.
Some people had built up a tolerance—called “kindling”—to the drug through going off and on several times. It takes much longer than most people expect for the body to rebuild GABA, which is why a slow taper-off is so important.
Gabapentin has a half-life of five to seven hours and should be taken three or four times per day in equal amounts.
People who take it once or twice per day can develop inter-dose withdrawal over time, and that is when negative effects often start to appear. (Also, many report teeth crumbling and loss from gabapentin, among many other adverse reactions or events.)
It can take a while for the body to reset after discontinuing the drug—especially if not done properly.
Dr. Heather Ashton developed a method for tapering psychopharmaceuticals approximately two decades ago. Though her work was mainly with benzodiazepine users, her methods have been found to be the safest for all psych drugs.
But I am amazed at how many doctors do not follow her advice. Most typically recommend a too-fast taper or even a cold turkey.
The rule of thumb on most gabapentin sites is no more than a 10% drop every two weeks or more.
When one gets to the lower doses, the drug has more efficacy, so many only taper 5%. Those who taper correctly the first time and never reinstate gabapentin have the best long-term results.
All right, guys, that is it for now on the issue of “Gabapentin ruined my life.” I hope Healthsoothe answered any questions you had concerning this.