Gabapentin Dependency

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Patrick Says:


Hi, I've been on Gabapentin about two years, but recently the Dr. increased the dose to 300 mg three times a day...for anxiety. I have been only trying to take it every other day instead. On the off days, I feel crummy. But if i took it daily, then the eventual withdrawal would be horrendous from what I've read. Besides that, I'd build up a tolerance to it pretty quickly and wouldn't be as effective in a short amount of time. Does anyone else take it every other day instead of daily?


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V Says:
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Gabapentin has a short half life of 5 to 7 hours; that’s why it’s typically prescribed 3 times a day and sometimes 4 times a day. Skipping dosages and taking it every other day can cause interdosage withdrawals when you're late on your dosage or skip a day. Gabapentin is also a neuromodulator and there are lawsuits against Doctors for prescribing Gabapentin “as needed”. It causes people emotional disregulation, suicidal thoughts, balance issues, falling all the time that caused injuries, insomnia, RSL and literal seizures. Gabapentin is the kind of medication to take as prescribed according to the half life or tell your Doctor it’s not working for you. It’s not worth it to try to skip dosages trying to avoid side effects or dependence and withdrawals. Gabapentin can cause acute withdrawal that mimics acute Benzodiazepines withdrawals. 10% or less safe tapering guidelines can help reduce if someone is at the acute end of the spectrum. A water titration method can be used or your Doctor can prescribe liquid Gabapentin to help reduce (if he believes Gabapentin can cause dependence and withdrawals, although many don’t).

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Kevin Says:

Patrick,

There is a lot to address here. First I'd like to say it's not a good idea to administer the medication in any other way than instructed. You place yourself at risk by taking the medication at intervals not prescribed.

If you have an issue with the medication that your doctor is prescribing, it should be addressed with him/her and not dealt with secretly. If you think 300 mg is too much or that you are fearful of the withdraw it would be best to bring those concerns up during your appointment.

I understand your concerns but your health and safety should always be your highest priority. I hope that you and your doctor can find a solution that works for you.

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betty Says:

Patrick - I was prescribed Lyrica (same as gabapentin) for nerve pain. I tried to withdraw from it and it was so hard. I felt horrible and had to resume taking it. Never did they tell me how addictive it was!! Anyway, I reduced my dose, little by little, ex. 150 mg, twice a day to 150 in the a.m., then 100 mg in the evening. then 100 mg twice a day and then 100 mg morning and 75 mg at night. This took me months to do. Now I'm down to 50 mg twice a day and tried to decrease to 25 mg - I couldn't stand the withdrawal!!! I am now stuck with 50 mg twice a day. Ask your Dr. to slowly reduce your mg. and switch to another medication for anxiety. It's a terrible drug to get off of and I don't understand why the Dr doesn't warm us!!! Good luck. Did you get horrific headaches??? I thought I had the flu!! I joined this webpage to find out how to get off of Lyrica. Hope you do OK.

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4
DR TIM Says:

Patrick,
Gabapentin is most effective when taken daily; every other day dosing in inappropriate and noncompliant with your doctor's script. By the way, if the original dose was for nerve pain, you are on a very low dose.

Dr. Tim

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Hek Says:
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Same..i get prescribed 300mg. X 3 daily..just use 600mg. Every day at same time.You will be fine.Then your body will develope its own enzymes and will not function the same.Lyrica is not the same as gabapentin!!

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pamelaq Says:

Patrick, Gabapentin and Lyrica work differently on each individual as does the withdrawls but it is extremely important to take as prescribed. A suggestion would be to discuss with your Dr. how "you" have been taking it and how you feel when you don't have it, he/she may want to prescribe something else or at least it's something you 2 need to discuss. Hope all goes well for you. P.S. At one time I was on very high dosages and the withdrawls are awful you might want to consider an alternative if not taking for nerve pain.

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7
Rhonda Says:

You have to take this daily or the side effects are awful. I am no longer in Valentin. I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown, it made me hostile also! Discuss this with your doctor, maybe you will have to be weaned off it! They put me on lyrica which helped but it started to affect my kidneys.

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Donna Says:
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No.. I've been on gabapentin for 6 years for diabetic neuropathy..I take 1200-1800 mg day, & I don't really know if it's helping..I take Klonopin for anxiety! It was used for seizures in the beginning.. I'm going to cut down til I'm off to see if my legs feel any different. You need something else for anxiety... Good luck.

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9
Patrick Says:

V (# 1) --

On taking it every couple days....the main thing that concerns me is that if i were to take it every day, wouldn't I develop a tolerance to it? In other words, it would soon loose it's effectiveness as a mood regulator. That's pretty much why i take it...anxiety and mood. I wouldn't want to try it for a couple week daily just to find out it loose it's effectivness and by that time I'd also would have developed a strong dependency and have to face much stronger withdrawal symptoms to get off of it.....vrs individual short term withdrawal every couple days. In a way, I'm playing it safer by taking it every couple days. But I do understand what you're saying about "as need". I'll re-read it again to make sure.

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10
Patrick Says:

Hek (# 5) --

Hello, have you developed a tolerance to Gabapentin by taking it every day? I mean of course, the calm mood enhancing feeling that you get when you first try it.

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11
NotADrugAddict Says:
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Hello Patrick,

I take gabapentin for my sciatic nerve pain due to spine disc herniation. I am Rx’d 650mg twice a day.

But because there are other prescription medications I take regularly for my conditions (plural), I’ve always been leery of becoming physically dependent on too many medicines at the same time in the event I need to stop, in fear of suffering multiple withdrawals concurrentlyf.

That said, I have never taken gabapentin as Rx’d. I have always taken it whenever I needed it. So, when my sciatic nerve pain strikes I will go to my 100mg first, instead of directly to 650mg; which, I have, because gaba is one of those medicines that is slowly increased over time. And 650mg would be too high an amount, not fatal for me, but just more than necessary to take the edge off the nerve pain. If the pain persists, I may take another 100mg capsule later that evening. Needless to say, I have more gabapentin in my medicine bin than I could ever take before it “truly” expires.

Chronic pain suffers may be able to relate to a medicine bin, as opposed to the medicine cabinet. From the 800mg Motrin to random OTC meds, we have a steady arsenal for when pain strikes like lightening. Also, I say “truly” expires because I’ve often checked with my pharmacist on whether a medicine is still stable to take after the expiration date on the bottle which at my pharmacy is just a standard 2 years for all medicines. I will not give any advice as it pertains to medication expiration but will advise that before taking any expired, according to the date on the bottle, medicines always seek professional advice from your doctor or pharmacist because some medicines can become unstable, harmful, and even fatal for some after expiration. But I have tons of gabapentin that will last for a very long time.

So, I find it interesting that gabapentin is also used to treat anxiety. Is that an off label usage? I also suffer from a generalized anxiety during high stress piques, so I’d love to know more about how it helps your anxiety because perhaps I can speak to my doctor about dual purpose dosing.

Oh, to answer the question, my apologies for this verbosity, I usually take it once or twice every couple of days. At times I may need it for a week straight, and then not for a few week. So my usage is very infrequent. I hope that helps.

I Wish You all More Pain Free Days than not, Quality of life, and Peace of Mind.

Sincerely,
NADA

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12
Corrine Says:

Hek (# 5) --

Horrible drugs to withdraw from...And yes it works on the GABA receptors just like anxiety meds,really no different.

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13
Patrick Says:

Rhonda (# 7) --

Hi Rhonda, I THINK i understand about the hostile thing. I'm not hostile, but I get paranoid to where I am feeling hostile towards everyone around me and scared to death i could have some kind of altercation with someone, if they said something to me directly about how I appear or something.

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14
Rhonda Says:

Patrick (# 13) --

That was me too perhaps you are having a reaction, please get a second opinion! I care and know it is no fun feeling this way ! Prayers for you!

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Patrick Says:

Rhonda (# 14) --

Hi Rhonda, well, i have psychiatric conditions anyway. But that medicine among alot....just really enhances the pre-existing conditions i already deal with. I mean, i can't even go at a traffic light without practically freaking out that the guy next to me is evaluating me.

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pamelaq Says:

Hek (# 5) --

Hi Hek! I'm so glad you stated "Lyrica" is not the same. It's NOT. It's in the same family but is stronger. A 150mg tablet of Lyrica is like 300mg or higher of gaba. The long term side effects of Lyrica are horrible. They can shut down urinary, bowel and esophagus. It relaxes the muscles so they don't work properly on their own. Many pain patient's are in really bad positions; i.e., if they take the meds they have all kinds of side effects and additional discomfort if they don't they pain level is off the charts. I hope this information helps. Long term use of these meds cause severe problems. I know I took both Gabba and Lyrica for 9 1/2 years and ended in a colon resection. I am now drug free but it was a long haul getting here. Still have pain but learning to cope by using Tai Chai (modified), meditation, mild muscle relaxer and lots of prayer.

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17
HOUSE Says:
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NotADrugAddict (# 11) --

Hello, sorry, But no, this medication does absolutely nothing for anxiety! In fact, I personally don't know of anyone that has been helped with this placebo"..

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Old Guy with a Computer Says:

I am prescribed Gabapentin at 900 mg (3x300 mg) at bedtime, for neuropathy. I have been taking it for over 4 years, without any known side effects. I know that without it I experience severe pain in my feet, which prevents me from sleeping (hence, the "at bedtime" in the prescription).

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19
MDParamedic Says:

HOUSE (# 17) --

The idea that Neurontin or Gabapentin is not used to treat anxiety is incorrect, it is a has been found to have a variety of off label uses, including the treatment of insomnia, ADD/ADHD, depression, bi-polar disorder, and various anxiety disorders; it has even been shown to be an effective treatment for alcohol dependence. There are a variety of case reports that have been published! That being said, there is no such thing as an addictive drug.....HOWEVER they can cause physical and psychological dependence. According to PFIZER;

Gabapentin does not exhibit affinity for benzodiazepine, opiate (mu, delta or kappa), or cannabinoid 1 receptor sites. A small number of postmarketing cases report gabapentin misuse and abuse. These individuals were taking higher than recommended doses of gabapentin for unapproved uses. Most of the individuals described in these reports had a history of poly-substance abuse or used gabapentin to relieve symptoms of withdrawal from other substances. When prescribing gabapentin carefully evaluate patients for a history of drug abuse and observe them for signs and symptoms of gabapentin misuse or abuse (e.g., development of tolerance, self-dose escalation, and drug-seeking behavior).

There are rare postmarketing reports of individuals experiencing withdrawal symptoms shortly after discontinuing higher than recommended doses of gabapentin used to treat illnesses for which the drug is not approved. Such symptoms included agitation, disorientation and confusion after suddenly discontinuing gabapentin that resolved after restarting gabapentin. Most of these individuals had a history of poly-substance abuse or used gabapentin to relieve symptoms of withdrawal from other substances. The dependence and abuse potential of gabapentin has not been evaluated in human studies.

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NotADrugAddict Says:
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HOUSE (# 17) --

Thanks for sharing the knowledge. I had never heard of gabapentin being used for anxiety; however, it makes me sleepy, so I wonder if the sleepiness is what seems to hell with relaxation and anxiety.

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