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    Gabapentin?

    I recently was prescribed Gabapentin for chronic lower back pain that has nagged me for the last 6 years. To date I have not started it yet as I am leery of it as it is prescribed for seizures and anti-convulsants. also the ramping up of the med scares me off as well. The Dr. has assured me that it is a good medication as he takes it himself for a back problem but it still scares me off.
    Question: is this a bad/good medication? How about side effects?

    Thanks in advance!

    #2
    Hi,

    It is likely that you have "neuropathic" pain in your back as gabapentin (and anti-seizure medications) has been very effective in treating this type of pain.
    The most common side effect is drowsiness, which is why clinicians start at the lowest dose and ramp it up to see how pain is relieved and side effects are tolerated. It is always best to use the lowest dose possible. One should never stop this medication suddenly but under the direction of your clinician.

    If you search this carecure site, you will find much information about gabapentin, which opinions are varied. Here is a general link to drug information:

    http://www.medicinenet.com/gabapentin-oral/article.htm

    AAD
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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      #3
      wheelz,
      I would like to add to what AAD (sounds like an analogy to digital code on a CD !) by saying that the groggy dopey side effects do diminish with time. It took 2 weeks for me before the initial side effect of sleepy, dopey feeling went away with an antiseizure med. But they work. So good luck....

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        #4
        Hey wheelz -
        I too was prescribed Gabapentin about a couple of months ago, and like you, I was also very weary of the drug. I finally started taking it a couple of weeks ago, and I am so glad I did! I do take other medications for the pain, but with the Gabapentin thrown into the mix, I can tell a huge difference. I take a relatively low dose (300 mg 2-3 times a day), but even at this low dose, I can tell a huge difference. My script ran out last night, so I haven't been able to take it yet today, and I can really tell. The back pain I deal with is horrendous, so any little relief is a blessing. I was so worried about the side affects of this drug, and how it would interfere with my other meds. I'm just really glad that I finally decided to start taking it. I should have done it a long time ago.
        Hope this helps!
        Live Every Day Like It's Your Last!

        C3-C4 and T12-L1 since July 1988

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          #5
          Gabapentin has made a difference in my neuro pain. I have taken as much as 1800 mgs/day, but the dopiness was too much for me at that dosage. Now, I take 1200 mgs/day. At this dosage, it takes the edge off, and I add Klonapine in the evening as needed. I'm still in a lot of pain, but the Gabapentin has made it much more tolerable.
          "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

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            #6
            I've been taking it for about 5 years now. I went off of it for a while to try a few other options (Lyrica, Cymbalta, Tegratol,..) but ended up just going right back on the Neurontin. I'm the same as JerseyGirl, 300 mg 2 -3 x a day.
            The only side effect I ever had was gaining a little weight, LOL.
            If the Army & the Navy ever look on heavens scenes, they will see the streets are guarded by United States Marines!

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              #7
              Heather had extreme lower back pain that started about a month after her spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis. They tried different pain meds and nothing helped. They finally after about a week and a half of pain and no sleep put her on gabapentin and I was amazed at the difference. She was finally in no pain. We were able to gradually reduce the dose and within 2 months, she had no pain and was off the meds. They blamed the neurological pain on the stretching of all the muscles since she grew 3 inches with the surgery.
              Mom to Heather, age 16, T-12, 8 years post & Michael, age 19.

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                #8
                I am very sensitive so my experience may be unusual, but I think the stuff is evil. It does work, but I hated the side effects. I never took more than 300mg, and only at night because I couldn’t handle the daytime drunkenness, but still I put on weight, got rosacea (my face got really red after taking it, and I started breaking out), and got totally-divorced-from-reality cheerful. I am generally happy, but I like it to be tied to real life.

                I took it for three years, never exceeded 300mg/day, ramped down over the course of months, and still went down to 96 lbs (healthy at 110-115 when ab and fit; up to 120 on neurontin) and spasticity got incredibly worse when I stopped.

                I was functionally better on it and nothing else I’ve tried has helped the spasticity without making me weak, but I fear too much getting to 90 yo without honest assessment of what I want to do with my life to try it again.

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                  #9
                  Thanks for all the infomation guys - I really appreciate it. I'll start taking it soon when I can find a week that I don't have too much going on as it sounds like I will be drowsy for a bit. Great time of the year to be starting new meds eh?

                  Thanks again!

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                    #10
                    just started on this. I've had cronic nerve pain in the bottoms of both feet. Kinda like they are sunburnt. So far nothing as far as side effects. My doc claims to have been prescribing this for years with no major effects. I was at the point of trying anything. This has gotten me to having the first nearly totally pain free days in years.

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                      #11
                      Gabapentin Side Effects

                      This stuff sucks. I take 2000mg a day (500 qid) since 1999 for neuro pain from c6 sci.

                      Every time I try to reduce dosage even by 100mg a day for a week I have majorly increased spasms, insomnia, depression, thoughts of suicide, blurred vision, anger, rage, snapping for the littlest things.

                      I can't get off it and have tried many times. I explained this to my doc. and she suggested a higher dose. went up to 2400 a day and felt great then about 3 months later I start feeling crappy. The increase made me feel better but seems like when my body got used to it I started feeling like crap. Got back down to 2000 but hate this stuff and afraid to try reducing any more. USE AT YOUR OWN PERIL

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                        #12
                        I've been using it about a year now 300 3/day and it took the edge off that I had before. Along with my oxy's I am almost pain free most of the time, where before I was never pain free. I haven't experienced any of the side effects that others complained about either, although cigarettes tasted kinda funny for the first week or so.

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                          #13
                          Gabapentin is great! It can be quite effective at reducing neuropathic pain. It works by calming the nerve signals so that the brain doesn't react as strongly to a damaged signal from the spinal cord (very much a layman's explanation). Obviously, other nerve signals are "calmed" as well and hence the common side effect of drowsiness. There is a tendency for the body to gradually tolerate a given dosage of Gabapentin, so it may become less effective in preventing pain and a higher dosage is needed.

                          It worked great for me, for a while, and then I needed a dosage increase. I finally worked my way up to 3600 mg/day (900 4/day), which is the maximum dosage. Then my neurologist added Lyrica (150 2/day) and it has helped. So far, I haven't had to increase the Lyrica and it's been 9 months. Between the two, I do feel drowsy a lot and I sleep quite a bit. I'd love to not have to take medication, but I shudder to think what life would be like without them. I think that some day, stem cell treatments would fix my neuropathy, but at my age, I don't know if I'll live long enough to see that day come. (I am hopeful though!)

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                            #14
                            I am on gabapentin also have been for almost a year the first day i took it 3 times a day i mumbled and passed out that day but after that I have been good with it but also im on oxycodone 5mg hcl and tramadol 50mg,flexril 5 mg 3x a day,diclofeniac 75mg,prednisone 5 mg,enbrel 50mg sureclick once a week and lanszoprazole 30 mg 2x a day.

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                              #15
                              I've used Gabapentin for quite a while now as my injury was 17 years ago. I think it has had some good effects but I've been on it so long I can't remember what it was like not to be on it...though I may need to try to higher levels b/c my chronic neurogenic pain is still pretty severe.
                              Anyone on higher levels of Gabapentin?
                              C4/5 incomplete, 17 years since injury

                              "The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” - Carlos Castaneda

                              "We live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom: our body." - Marcel Proust

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