Is Gabapentin ( Neurontin ) Addictive and How to Treat Gabapentin Addiction ?

Gabapentin is used with other medications to prevent and control seizures. It is also used to relieve nerve pain following shingles (a painful rash due to herpes zoster infection) in adults. Gabapentin is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug.

Gabapentin, also known by the brand name Neurontin, is a prescription painkiller belonging to its own drug class, Gabapentinoids. It is considered an anti-convulsant, and is most commonly used to treat epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, and neuropathic pain. It is often used as a less-addictive alternative to opioids; however, Gabapentin addiction and abuse still occur in many patients.

Gabapentin has a similar chemical structure to Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the brain chemical which affects the body’s nervous system. It can produce feelings of relaxation and calmness, which can help with nerve pain, anxiety, and even poor sleep.

Gabapentin is prescribed to treat nerve pain, alcohol and cocaine withdrawals, restless leg syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and seizures. It works by altering one’s calcium channels to reduce seizures and ease nerve pain. Some brand names of Gabapentin are Neurontin and Gralise. The drug’s known street names are “gabbies” or “johnnies.”

Dosages of Gabapentin

Adult and pediatric dosages:

Capsule

      • 100 mg
      • 300 mg
      • 400 mg

Tablet

      • 300 mg (Gralise)
      • 600 mg (Gralise, Neurontin)
      • 800 mg (Neurontin)

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

Reducing the dose, discontinuing the drug, or substituting an alternative medication should be done gradually over a minimum of 1 week or longer.

Geritric dosing considerations:

Renal impairment is present, gabapentin dose reduction may be required, depending on renal function.

Partial Seizures

Neurontin

Adjunctive therapy for partial seizures with or without secondary generalization.

Initial: 300 mg orally every 8 hours.

May increase up to 600 mg orally every 8 hours; up to 2400 mg/day administered and tolerated in clinical studies; up to 3600 mg administered for short duration and tolerated

Post herpetic Neuralgia

Neurontin

Day 1: 300 mg orally once per day.

Day 2: 300 mg orally every 12 hours.

Day 3: 300 mg orally every 8 hours.

Maintenance: Subsequently titrate as needed up to 600 mg orally every 8 hours; doses greater than 1800 mg/day have demonstrated no additional benefit.

Gralise

Dose gradually to 1800 mg/day orally; take once a day with evening meal.

Day 1: 300 mg orally once a day.

Day 2: 600 mg orally once a day.

Days 3-6: 900 mg orally once a day.

Days 7-10: 1200 mg orally once a day.

Days 11-14: 1500 mg orally once a day.

Day 15 and after (maintenance): 1800 mg orally once a day.

Dosing considerations:

Gralise tablets swell in gastric fluid and gradually release gabapentin. Swallow Gralise tablets whole; do not cut, crush, or chew them.

Dosing Modifications:

Renal impairment (Neurontin)

Creatinine clearance greater than 60 mL/min: 300-1200 mg orally twice daily

Creatinine clearance 30-60 mL/min: 200-700 mg every 12 hours

Creatinine clearance 15-29 mL/min: 200-700 mg once per day

Creatinine clearance less than 15 mL/min: 100-300 mg once per day

Hemodialysis (Creatinine clearance less than 15 mL/min):

Administer supplemental dose (range 125-350 mg) post hemodialysis, after each 4 hour dialysis interval; further dose reduction should be in proportion to Creatinine clearance (a Creatinine clearance of 7.5 mL/min should receive one-half daily post hemodialysis dose)

Renal impairment (Gralise):

Creatinine clearance is greater than or equal to 60 mL/min: 1800 mg daily with evening meal

Creatinine clearance 30-59 mL/min: 600-1800 mg daily with evening meal

Creatinine clearance greater than 30 mL/min or hemodialysis: Do not administer

In addition its potentially addictive nature, Gabapentin can cause suicidal thoughts, moods swings, and abrupt changes in a user’s behavior. It can also cause elevated blood pressure, fever, sleep problems, appetite changes, and chest pain.

Gabapentin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

      • drowsiness
      • tiredness or weakness
      • dizziness
      • headache
      • uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
      • double or blurred vision
      • unsteadiness
      • anxiety
      • memory problems
      • strange or unusual thoughts
      • unwanted eye movements
      • nausea
      • vomiting
      • heartburn
      • diarrhea
      • dry mouth
      • constipation
      • increased appetite
      • weight gain
      • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
      • back or joint pain
      • fever
      • runny nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms
      • ear pain
      • red, itchy eyes (sometimes with swelling or discharge)

Some side effects may be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

      • rash
      • itching
      • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
      • hoarseness
      • difficulty swallowing or breathing
      • seizures
      • difficulty breathing; bluish-tinged skin, lips, or fingernails; confusion; or extreme sleepiness

Gabapentin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Gabapentin Abuse

Gabapentin abuse tends to occur in people who already have an addiction to opioids or other drugs. The effects of Gabapentin intoxication have been described as a sense of calm, euphoria, and a high similar to marijuana.

A 2013 study in Kentucky found that of the 503 participants reporting illegal drug use, 15% reported using Gabapentin in addition to other drugs to get high in the previous six months. Another study, working with a sample of participants meant to represent the national population, found almost a quarter of patients with co-prescriptions of opioids and Gabapentin were getting more than three times their prescribed amount to supply their addiction. People using the drug without a prescription is a growing problem in many areas. Due to the drug’s legal status, this is difficult to address from a policing standpoint. States where Gabapentin abuse is becoming more common are beginning to classify the drug as a more strictly controlled substance.

Signs of a Gabapentin Overdose

Effects of excessive Gabapentin use include:

      • Drowsiness
      • Coordination problems
      • Tremors
      • Dizziness
      • Depression
      • Suicidal thoughts/behaviors
      • Changes in mood
      • Dizziness
      • Poor coordination
      • Forgetfulness
      • Anxiety
      • Difficulty speaking
      • Inability to feel pleasure

It is important to try to recognize these symptoms and to be wary of other red flags, such as the presence or abundance of pill bottles. These effects can be detrimental to one’s health, livelihood, and overall safety.

Many Gabapentin users in early recovery abuse Gabapentin because at high doses (800mg or more), they may experience a euphoric-like high that does not show up on drug screens. Gabapentin abusers typically take the drug in addition to opioids to produce their desired high, a dangerous and potentially deadly combination. It is possible to fatally overdose on Gabapentin, both on its own or in conjunction with other drugs. However, there is currently no antidote that can be administered to someone in the case of a Gabapentin overdose as there is with opioid overdoses. If you find a loved one showing signs of an overdose–drowsiness, muscle weakness, lethargy and drooping eyelids, diarrhea, and sedation—seek medical attention immediately.

Signs of Gabapentin Addiction

      • Lying about or exaggerating symptoms to doctors
      • Seeking out multiple doctors to get extra doses
      • Switching doctors after the original doctor refuses to continue prescribing the medication
      • Changes in social habits and/or circles
      • Changes in personal hygiene and grooming habits
      • Constant preoccupation with the drug
      • Unease at the thought of the drug being unavailable
      • Refusal to quit despite social, financial, or legal consequences
      • Failed attempts to quit

Treating a Gabapentin Addiction

Frequent and excessive use of Gabapentin can lead to a physical and psychological dependence on the drug. This is when someone becomes so accustomed to taking a drug that they need it to feel and function normally. Quitting a drug like Gabapentin cold turkey can be dangerous and induce several withdrawal symptoms of varying severity.

These include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, pain, and sweating. Quitting also increases one’s likelihood of having a seizure which can lead to personal injury or the development of medical problems and life-threatening emergencies. Trying to quit should be done at a rehab facility or with the guidance and supervision of a professional during a medical detox.

Gabapentin Is an Effective Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

  • A new study reports the nerve pain reliever gabapentin may be helpful in treating people with serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • Some experts say gabapentin is most effective if used in combination with a benzodiazepine medication.
  • Gabapentin can have serious side effects, including drowsiness and abnormal eye movements.

Can a drug used primarily to treat nerve pain and partial seizures be effective in helping ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

The anticonvulsant drug gabapentin is used off-label to treat alcohol-related withdrawal, cravings, anxiety, and insomnia. Although it is well tolerated and has demonstrated efficacy for mild alcohol withdrawal and early abstinence, there is concern about its potential for abuse. Gabapentin should be prescribed only as a second-line alternative to standard therapies, and only after screening for opioid or other prescription drug abuse to determine if heightened monitoring is warranted. Clinicians should be aware of gabapentin’s limitations for treating alcohol use disorder and be attentive to emerging data on risks and benefits.

A Trusted Source published this week concluded that gabapentin can relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms but is most effective for people with a history of more severe symptoms after a few days of abstinence.

Gabapentin is known under brand names such as Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant.

It was first developed Trusted Source in Japan during the 1970s and approved for use in the United States in 1993.

The drug was originally used as a muscle relaxer and antispasmodic medication. It’s been used off-label for other conditions.

“It has been used for detoxification — alcohol withdrawal — for many years,” said Dr. Raymond F. Anton, the study’s main author and a professor of medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

“For relapse prevention, other clinical trials have had mixed results. We had published several studies suggesting it would be added to other medications with some success, but it looked like only in those with alcohol withdrawal symptoms prior to treatment,” he said.

“This study proved that gabapentin could work by itself as a relapse prevention medication, but only in this with the higher alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as predicted,” Anton told Healthline.

What the study revealed

Anton’s team looked at 90 people meeting the criteria of serious alcohol use.

Over 16 weeks, 12 of the 44 participants given gabapentin had no heavy drinking days (27 percent) compared with four (9 percent) of those participants given a placebo.

The study found mild to moderate side effects, including dizziness and some fatigue.

“Very few people had significant enough side effects to stop treatment,” Anton said. “It also improved sleep.”

Dr. Meredith Sagan, an addiction psychiatrist at Alo House Recovery Centers in Southern California, says gabapentin is most effective with benzodiazepine medications commonly used for withdrawal.

“Gabapentin cannot necessarily be used safely on its own to support such a detox,” Sagan told Healthline. “It’s always important to consult a medical professional when considering detoxifying from alcohol, as it can be very dangerous due to possible seizure and others risks.”

Individualized treatments

Sagan says the combination of medications and the timeline to take them is specific to each individual.

“Some people may need more or less medication, as well as different types and combinations, depending on their degree of alcohol consumption, in addition to other factors,” she said.

“So, although gabapentin can be a useful adjunct to the benzodiazepine category of medication for alcohol detox, it is not time to say goodbye to ‘benzos’ just yet,” Sagan said.

Benzodiazepines are also used to treat anxiety and seizures as well as to relax muscles. These medications come in many manufactured forms, including Xanax, Klonopin, Librium, Valium, and Ativan.

Participants in the South Carolina study weren’t allowed to take benzodiazepines or opioids.

“For people using gabapentin just for anxiety and not for alcohol withdrawal, gabapentin can be a good non-benzodiazepine alternative,” Sagan said.

“Gabapentin at higher doses can cause an uncomfortable withdrawal when one quits taking it. However, for some people with an addiction history, gabapentin is a safe alternative to benzodiazepines, which over the long term can be physically and psychologically addictive,” she said.

Gabapentin side effects

Common side effects of gabapentin include abnormal eye movements, clumsiness or unsteadiness, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty speaking, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting.

More serious side effects — which may be more common in people with psychiatric disorders — include anger and violent behavior, increased anxiousness, depression, anxiety or irritability, mania, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and insomnia.

“I was prescribed gabapentin when I was struggling with my severely herniated disc,” Janine McKavish Thalblum, a resident of Dublin, California, told Healthline.

“The side effects were longer than an encyclopedia. With all the pain I was in I was borderline suicidal, so I opted not to take them, as that was one of the side effects. When the pharmacist was reading (them) before handing it over, I literally started to cry,” she explained.

Thalblum did take gabapentin for 2 days before opting out. She says she couldn’t tell if the medication contributed to her “overwhelming sense of wanting to give up.”

Andrea Johnson, a resident of Oakland, California, and her late wife, Julie, both took gabapentin for pain. They had vastly different experiences.

“She had chronic pain from her legs having been shattered in a car crash. Her doctors prescribed gabapentin about 10 years ago under its brand name of Neurontin,” Johnson told Healthline.

“She stopped it after a week because it put her into a constant dream state. She was sort of awake and could do things but without being conscious of what she was doing. When I caught her rolling a cigarette without realizing that she was doing it, I put a stop to the gabapentin and told her doctor why,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s doctor prescribed her gabapentin last year for arthritis in her hips.

“I was concerned about it because of Julie’s experience, but I didn’t get the psych effects that she did,” Johnson said. “By the end of a month, it still wasn’t having an effect on my pain either, so I stopped it.”

Gabapentin and opioids

In recent years, gabapentin has been involved in opioid overdose deaths and been dubbed “an emerging threat” in a national bulletin to law enforcement.

It’s listed as a controlled substance in some states, although officials say it’s usually not the main cause of death and not as dangerous as opioids.

Pfizer, which developed gabapentin, paid $430 million in 2004 under an agreement with government prosecutors over fraudulent claims the company was accused of making about the drug’s uses.

Anton says researchers are still looking at whether gabapentin can be used as an anti-craving drug like naltrexone.

“Right now, it is estimated that only 20 percent of individuals who might benefit from reducing or stopping drinking actually receive treatment,” Anton said.

“And, of those 20 percent, only 20 percent receive any medication-assisted treatment. The standard of care in the U.S. has historically been an AA (Alcohol Anonymous) or 12-step counseling model. While that model has helped many people, many others do not want to partake in it, or haven’t found it useful.

“Medications that can be prescribed by specialized and/or primary care providers can encourage many more people to consider treatment for their alcohol use disorder,” he added.

Gabapentin is a prescription anticonvulsant used to treat epileptic seizures, postherpetic neuralgia, and restless legs syndrome. Postherpetic neuralgia is pain caused by shingles, which can last many months after having the illness.

While the exact mechanism of action of gabapentin is not fully understood, it may work by decreasing excitatory brain signaling. This can prevent seizures and change the way the brain responds to pain signals. This medication can be found as a capsule, tablet, or oral solution.

Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol Addiction

The following 11 questions are designed to help you better understand your relationship to alcohol. They will help you to tell if it resembles abuse or addiction, or is if it closer to average.

1. Do you tend to drink more than you expected to? And for longer periods of time?

2. Do you wish you could drink less, and struggle to cut down your alcohol intake?

3. Does drinking consume much of your time? In other words, do you spend a lot of your time trying to obtain, use, or recover from alcohol hangovers?

4. Do you have very strong cravings or urges to drink? Does it feel like you “need” it to get by?

5. Does drinking cause problems for you at work, in school, or in your family obligations? Does this happen frequently?

6. If drinking does cause these social and interpersonal problems for you, do you continue to drink anyway?

7. Have you given up activities that used to be meaningful for you? For example, have you quit a sport or left friendships because you don’t seem to have the time or energy anymore?

8. Do you use alcohol even when it makes your activity physically dangerous? This could be drinking while driving, using certain prescription drugs, or working with heavy machinery.

9. Do you continue to drink even after discovering that it exacerbates, worsens, or even causes other physical or mental illnesses?

10. Are you developing a tolerance for alcohol? This could show up as a decreased effect after drinking the same quantity of alcohol that you used to use, or having to drink more and more alcohol to achieve the desired level of intoxication.

11. Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms after not drinking any alcohol for a while? These include a racing heart, trouble sleeping, shakiness, sweating, fever, restlessness, nausea, or even auditory or visual hallucinations? Does more alcohol relieve these feelings?

As an Addiction Treatment Medication

The medical research community has made great strides in synthesizing thousands of drugs over the years to treat physical ailments, mental illness, and other health conditions.

Addiction is just one of the many conditions that can be treated with specific medications. And while there are presently only a handful of FDA-approved medications used to manage substance dependence, gabapentin has been considered for off-label use for as an addiction treatment drug.

Different companies, including Parke-Davis, Greenstone, and Teva, manufacture several varieties of the generic drug. Other drugs that have been used to treat the symptoms of addiction withdrawal, for specific substances, include:

    • Clondine
    • Other anticonvulsants, such as Tegretol and Depakote
    • Methadone and buprenorphine
    • Naltrexone

Typical Application

Doses range from 100 mg to 800 mg. The frequency of administration may be based on various factors such as withdrawal symptom severity and withdrawal progress. The drug’s half-life is around 5-7 hours.

Gabapentin has been evaluated for use during medical detox and throughout subsequent treatment modalities to support relapse prevention while clients adjust to their new sober lifestyles.

Treating Substance Abuse

According to Medscape, gabapentin can inflict users with suicidal thoughts and abrupt changes in behavior. For this reason, it should only be used under medical supervision. It can also cause elevated blood pressure, fever, sleep problems, appetite changes, and chest pain.

While it has been used to treat addictions to other substances, gabapentin is most often used to treat alcoholism — an addiction some 16.6 million adults suffered from in 2013, per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

During withdrawal from alcohol abuse or dependency, clients may experience anxiety, tremors, agitation, and irritability. In order to understand how gabapentin works, there must be a basic understanding of how the brain works first. A balance of excitatory and inhibitory nervous system activity is, in part, mediated by neurotransmitters known as GABA and glutamate. Gabapentin may work by potentiating the inhibitory signaling of GABA and reducing the neural excitation associated with glutamate activity. As a result, signals for pain, agitation, and anxiety are reduced, too.

An American Journal of Psychiatry study showed impressive results during the 16-week treatment of 150 people who were dependent on alcohol, noting better results among those who were treated with both gabapentin and naltrexone than the latter alone. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported on another study in which individuals treated for alcoholism with gabapentin showed a significant reduction in how much they drank and a greater rate of abstinence than those in the placebo group.

Gabapentin may have a similar calming effect on individuals who are detoxing from marijuana and benzodiazepines. Despite claims from fans of the plant-based drug, marijuana is indeed addictive. In 2012, 305,560 people checked into rehab citing cannabis as their primary drug of abuse, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. One Neuropsychopharmacology study that analyzed the use of gabapentin in the treatment of marijuana addiction and withdrawal noted individuals in the gabapentin treatment group used less marijuana, had fewer withdrawal symptoms, and experienced improvements in cognitive functioning, compared to the placebo group.

While not quite as prevalent as a substance of abuse, benzodiazepines still accounted for 17,019 admissions to treatment in 2012, per SAMHSA. Individuals who have been abusing marijuana or benzodiazepines for a long period of time may have difficulty achieving a state of relaxation without those drugs, and gabapentin can help individuals remain calm while they’re recovering from addiction.

Adverse Reactions in Pooled Placebo-Controlled Trials in Postherpetic Neuralgia

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Postherpetic Neuralgia

The most common adverse reactions associated with the use of NEURONTIN in adults, not seen at an equivalent frequency among placebo-treated patients, were dizziness, somnolence, and peripheral edema.

In the 2 controlled trials in postherpetic neuralgia, 16% of the 336 patients who received NEURONTIN and 9% of the 227 patients who received placebo discontinued treatment because of an adverse reaction. The adverse reactions that most frequently led to withdrawal in NEURONTIN-treated patients were dizziness, somnolence, and nausea.

Following table lists adverse reactions that occurred in at least 1% of NEURONTIN-treated patients with postherpetic neuralgia participating in placebo-controlled trials and that were numerically more frequent in the NEURONTIN group than in the placebo group.

TABLE 3. Adverse Reactions in Pooled Placebo-Controlled Trials in Postherpetic Neuralgia
NEURONTIN
N=336
%
Placebo
N=227
%
Reported as blurred vision
Body as a Whole
  Asthenia 6 5
  Infection 5 4
  Accidental injury 3 1
Digestive System
  Diarrhea 6 3
  Dry mouth 5 1
  Constipation 4 2
  Nausea 4 3
  Vomiting 3 2
Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders
  Peripheral edema 8 2
  Weight gain 2 0
  Hyperglycemia 1 0
Nervous System
  Dizziness 28 8
  Somnolence 21 5
  Ataxia 3 0
  Abnormal thinking 3 0
  Abnormal gait 2 0
  Incoordination 2 0
Respiratory System
  Pharyngitis 1 0
Special Senses
  Amblyopia 3 1
  Conjunctivitis 1 0
  Diplopia 1 0
  Otitis media 1 0

Other reactions in more than 1% of patients but equally or more frequent in the placebo group included pain, tremor, neuralgia, back pain, dyspepsia, dyspnea, and flu syndrome.

There were no clinically important differences between men and women in the types and incidence of adverse reactions. Because there were few patients whose race was reported as other than white, there are insufficient data to support a statement regarding the distribution of adverse reactions by race.

 

Gabapentin is used to treat Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder of the part of the nervous system that causes an urge to move the legs. Because it usually interferes with sleep, it also is considered a sleep disorder.

 

Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome

In most cases, doctors do not know the cause of restless legs syndrome; however, they suspect that genes play a role. Nearly half of people with RLS also have a family member with the condition.

Other factors associated with the development or worsening of restless legs syndrome include:

  • Chronic diseases. Certain chronic diseases and medical conditions, including iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure,diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy often include symptoms of RLS. Treating these conditions often gives some relief from RLS symptoms.
  • Medications. Some types of medications, including antinausea drugs, antipsychotic drugs, some antidepressants, and cold and allergymedications containing sedating antihistamines, may worsen symptoms.
  • Pregnancy. Some women experience RLS during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. Symptoms usually go away within a month after delivery.

Other factors, including alcohol use and sleep deprivation, may trigger symptoms or make them worse. Improving sleep or eliminating alcohol use in these cases may relieve symptoms.

Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome

Treatment for RLS is targeted at easing symptoms. In people with mild to moderate restless legs syndrome, lifestyle changes, such as beginning a regular exercise program, establishing regular sleep patterns, and eliminating or decreasing the use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, may be helpful. Treatment of an RLS-associated condition also may provide relief of symptoms.

Other non-drug RLS treatments may include:

Leg massages
Hot baths or heating pads or ice packs applied to the legs
Good sleep habits
A vibrating pad called Relaxis
Medications may be helpful as RLS treatments, but the same drugs are not helpful for everyone. In fact, a drug that relieves symptoms in one person may worsen them in another. In other cases, a drug that works for a while may lose its effectiveness over time.

Drugs used to treat RLS include:

  • Dopaminergic drugs, which act on the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain.
  • Mirapex, Neupro, and Requip are FDA-approved for treatment of moderate to severe RLS. Others, such as levodopa, may also be prescribed.
  • Benzodiazepines, a class of sedative medications, may be used to help with sleep, but they can cause daytime drowsiness.
  • Narcotic pain relievers may be used for severe pain.
  • Anticonvulsants, or antiseizure drugs, such as Tegretol, Lyrica, Gabapentin ( Neurontin ), and Horizant.

Although there is no cure for restless legs syndrome, current treatments can help control the condition, decrease symptoms, and improve sleep.

Usual Adult Dose for Restless Legs Syndrome

Gabapentin enacarbil available under the trade name Horizant (R):
600 mg orally once daily with food at about 5 PM

Gabapentin is also used for Prevention of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a muscular condition that affects many people. It refers to muscle fatigue and pain felt across different muscle groups in the body, not just on isolated areas.  Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

The term fibromyalgia directly means pain that is embedded in the tissues of the muscles, specifically the fibrous tissues.  This very acute pain starts from the ligaments, the tendons, and other such connective muscle tissues that are present all over the muscular system of the body.  Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men.  Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

There are however some controversial theories regarding  Fibromyalgia that propose that this condition is a psychosomatic illness, that is, it is a disorder brought about by psychological factors and not necessarily physical factors. This reasoning is mainly brought about by the strong evidence available that relates Fibromyalgia to major depression.

An in-depth review regarding the association of major depression disorders with Fibromyalgia brought out significant similarities between the two in terms of psychological characteristics and neuroendoctrine abnormalities in the patients.

Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain’s pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals.

Medications designed to treat epilepsy are often useful in reducing certain types of nerve pain. Gabapentin (Neurontin) is sometimes helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms.  Gabapentin is a medicine used to treat pain caused by nerves that are not working properly.   Gabapentin changes the way that the nerves send messages to the brain. It can be taken in a tablet or a liquid, with or without food.  Doses are usually 1200 mg to 2400 mg each day. At the start of treatment low doses are used to minimise side effects, but the dose is usually increased after a few weeks.

At the reviews of gabapentin for fibromyalgia in drugs.com ,  almost 70% Fibromyalgia Patients think Gabapentin can cure their fiobromyalgia disease.  But almost 20% fiobromyalgia Patients think it doesnot work. ( Rating 1 -2 %),  another 15% patients think it do work but the effect is not that good ( Rating 3 – 5 ).

One of the patient said:

“I have had fibro for 7 years, finally have a doctor that prescribed me Gabapentin. It’s amazing I feel like a normal person again. I sleep through the night, with no pain anymore. My anxiety is gone also, which is awesome. I know everyone is different, but it works for me. I have had little to no side effects yet. First few doses was a bit of an air head other than that no complaints. Being able to function pain free and agitation free is a blessing.”

Another Fiobro patient said:

“I had the best results, in relieving the pain, with gabapentin. I was able to work through the other symptoms. The etodolac helped with the inflammation. I was doing well, until the muscle spasms started, again. I suspect the mould allergies exasperated the symptoms. So, cyclobenzeprine was added. I don’t know what happened, but I was jobless, homeless, and very sick by the time a CVS pharmacist recognized the V.A. had put me on another toxic, prescription drug cocktail. When I brought it to the V.A.s attention, as usual, it was ignored. The medications that help, are the ones the V.A. will not prescribe to veterans like myself. They say speak up, if you do, expect to be classified as mentally ill, violent, aggressive, involuntarily committed”

NatalieW555 Said:
“I was suffering from fibromyalgia pain most of my adult life, I’m 52 by the way, not realizing there was this wonderful medication available to me…I started it about 2 years ago and it really makes a HUGE difference in how my body feels. I take 300 mg 3X daily. I hope it never quits working for me…you should give it a try….It has no side effects on me.”

Member Annabqnm Said:

“Pretty much saved my life. 13 years ago fibromyalgia symptoms (severe pain especially legs and shoulders), started. My father was taking high doses of gabapentin for chronic guillaune barre. He urged me to try it–and it was the first real sleep I had in months! My rheumatologist had me on 1600mg. 3x, gradually lowered to 1600 mg. 2x. Studies at Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins show very few (and very mild) side effects, even at high doses. The only problem I have is if I forget to take them. Then I get flu like symptoms. I was able to continue my career (elementary school teacher) with no problems. Retired this year age 66 and very active. BTW my memory seems better than most friends my age.”

But 30% Fibro customers think Gabapentin is not effective for their Fibro disease. I looked the reviews they have wrote, I found most of them are just back pain or leg pain but not Fiobromyalgia. But some Fibro patients do think it has some side effects, especially thought problems such as depression.

One of the Fibro patient said:

“I have “fibromyalgia,” severe muscle pain from a twisted spine/congenitally deformed vertebrae. I was getting better with yoga, but hurt my back/rib muscles overdoing. I developed depression on gabapentin after a few weeks. At first it dulled the pain and made me feel lightheaded, and I had memory problems. Then my anxiety increased and the pain continued, and hit a real low. I spent two weeks in a psych ward until a brilliant psych nurse who believed in treating muscle pain. I am now recovering on a mix of robaxin, a muscle relaxer, a low dose of valium for rib spasms, and prozac and remeron (for sleep) and hope to get off all of them once I can exercise again. Similar reaction to Lyrica four years ago.”

Gabapentin is effective for Fibro. But you need consider whether you can endure the side effects of gabapentin. Please check our website for the Gabapentin Side Effects.