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Gabapentin Question

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by CBS64, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. CBS64


    I had a strange experience with Gabapentin the last couple of nights and would like to hear any comments or feedback from those who have taken it about what might have happened.

    I've been taking Clonazepam (.5mg) and Doxepin liquid (3.25mg) for several months and my doctor gave me a Rx for Gabapentin so that I could slowly taper off the Doxepin (which seems to be impairing my memory and making it harder to recover from a recent concussion/brain injury).

    I took 50mg of Gabapentin (1/2 capsule) with the other sleep meds Wed. night. It took a couple hours to fall asleep (usually takes 1 1/2 hours without the Gabapentin), but I slept deeply for 6 hours, woke up, took some glycine powder and fell back to sleep for a couple more hours.

    When I woke up, my brain felt noticeably better. It seemed like the Gabapentin had helped bring parts of my brain back "online" -- from some of the concussion symptoms and CFS brain symptoms, which was great.

    I took the same sleep meds last night (50mg of Gabapentin plus the other 2) and was awake all night. I took another 50mg of Gabapenting at 3 am, thinking that it might help me fall asleep, but I stayed awake for another several hours before falling asleep. I finally fell asleep around 6am and slept until 9am. So I only got a few hours of sleep, but it was deep sleep.

    Even though I didn't sleep much and feel very tired, my brain still seems to feel better from taking the Gabapentin -- like it's waking up parts of my brain that have been dormant for a while (from the CFS and more recently the brain injury).

    Does anyone know why I might have had two different reactions to the Gabapentin the last couple of nights? I'm afraid to take it again for fear of being up all night, but it seems to be helping my neural pathways or something.

    Has anyone else felt their brain function improve from taking Gabapentin?

    Is there another drug that works similarly to Gabapentin that might be worth trying to help with sleep?

    Thank you very much for your help!
  2. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

    How recently was the concussion? You could have some persisting excitotoxicity that was calmed by the gabapentin.

    Is glycine something you take regularly? How are you sure it was the neurontin and not the glycine (which I believe can affect NMDA receptors, perhaps also downregulating some excitatory neurotoxicity)?

    To answer your other question, I had a similar "brain clearing" effect the first few times I took neurontin, but then it wore off and I never got that result again - just the opposite, in fact, with gabapentin now dulling thought. I was taking some hefty doses, too, up to like 3600-4200mg/day.

    If gabapentin helped, it's possible that some of the other anti-convulsants might help also. But those are considerably way more toxic. Personally, I would never take them, as some can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome, mess up your liver, etc. Mostly nasty stuff, I think, but maybe for some people they work. Magnesium might be another thing to consider, orally and through epsom salt baths or foot baths.
  3. CBS64


    Thanks so much for your reply. I'm sure it wasn't the glycine -- I take that occasionally when I wake up too early and want to fall back to sleep. Sometimes it helps, sometimes not. But I don't take it at bedtime, as it doesn't seem to help then. I'm pretty certain it was the Gabapentin that kept me awake.

    Very interesting that you had the same brain clearing effect. Too bad it didn't last -- I was hoping it would.

    The concussion was last fall (November) and I developed Post-concussion syndrome, which I've been trying to recover from (very hard to do visual things, like using the computer, reading or watching TV; can't be around crowds; more fatigued than with CFS). My sleep got a lot worse after the concussion, which is why my doctor put me on sleep meds. They helped me start to recover.

    I have heard that anti-depressants can help "re-set" neural pathways, so I thought that might be what happened with the Gabapentin.

    I have been taking magnesium daily. I tried Epsom foot baths after the concussion, but my head felt worse, so I stopped.

    Where you taking the Gapabentin for sleep? What are you taking now for sleep?
  4. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

    No, I was taking it because Jay Seastrunk was recommending it for MCS a few years ago. Like I said, when I first took it I experienced a great deal of mental clarity, and also increased energy, so I kept taking it for a while. Then when those effects wore off, I noticed it still had a kind of stabilizing effect on mood at a time when I was having a lot of stress. But then it started making me too drowsy and dulling the brain too much, so I stopped.

    My sleep THANK GOD is in a fair-to-good cycle now, where I'm not needing much except some melatonin and an occasional dose of passionflower. I take 10mg of Natrol time-release melatonin, which seems to be more effective at maintaining sleep than regular melatonin. If I'm especially wired or can't sleep for some reason, I take a small amount of xanax - anywhere from once a week to once a month average (would definitely try to avoid benzos if I had TBI/PCS, though). Sometimes during nasty flares I'll take it for a few nights in a row, or every other night for a while, then stop as things settle down, switching things around with maybe some benadryl one night, then something else another night, etc. Except for the melatonin, I find it's often better to rotate some of these sleep meds so you don't start developing a tolerance.

    SSRI can probably help reset neural pathways that have been disrupted by concussion, and perhaps increase nerve growth factor, neurogenesis, etc. in some parts of the brain. MAO-I like moclobemide probably can also, especially in conjunction with hyperbaric oxygen, if there's any way you could get that.

    I wonder if something like trazadone would help you, as supposedly it allows the brain to go into the deep sleep stages that could be very brain healing?
  5. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

    United States
    A year or two I tried Gabapentin because my doctor thought it would help with pain, but it didn't seem to help with my anxiety (or pain). I was taking 600-900 mg a day. GABA and taurine (which is supposed to act on GABA receptors) don't seem to help either. Is there a reason why those supplements/medication don't seem to help me?
  6. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    I find any more than 200mg x4 day, really makes me sick (I don't mean nauseaous, it's hard to explain, very unpleasant stuff)
    but, Gabapentin does seem to help with the pain and mood.
  7. Lynne B

    Lynne B Senior Member

    sydney, australia
    Hi, CBS64,
    I've been taking 300mg Neurontin twice a day for less than a week but, like SilverbladeTE, I found it really helps my brain and mood and also helps my tremor some of the time. It gives me a little more energy and I sleep well without aching in the legs. (The aching and jerking legs at night was the reason I began using it.) I also take a melatonin and 10mg Amitriptyline for sleep but I'm thinking I don't need the Amitriptyline because the Neurontin may be enough. I'll try it. Also I think you have to take the Neurontin regularly, twice a day.

    The other thing I have to do to help with sleep is to stop reading, watching tv, or anything else intensive about one hour before bedtime. I usually take my pills then, particularly the melatonin, and spend that time moving around a bit, putting things away or organising for the next day, getting ready for bed, cleaning my teeth, doing stretches to free up my muscles—just generally slowing down, then I go to bed when I start yawning. That method helps a lot too, along with the pills.

    As I understand it, the Neurontin is for pain that's caused neurally, so it doesn't help with the pain I get in my feet when I get too hot, or the pain across the top of the shoulders after working on my laptop. I have to stick my feet out of the covers at night to keep them cool and I try stretching or hotpacks for the shoulders.

    I'm sorry the Neurontin doesn't appear to be helping you or Jeffrez and hope you can sort out your medication difficulties soon.
  8. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

    Half-life of neurontin is about 6 hours. So to maintain constant blood levels it's best to take it QID (4x a day).
  9. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

    Cornwall England
    Pre-Gabapentin/Neurontin the brain-pain was dire especially in the mornings when I used to describe it as something akin to a 'pinata' hangover. Post-Gabapentin my mornings are largely pain-free (in terms of my head). It's one of the only drugs that I specifically sought out and my doctors were happy to prescribe. I don't know if it is really meant to help with sleep specifically - rather it probably lessens the neurological pain and permits a better chance of uninterrupted sleep. I'd also say it has helped with my own tremours and works well apparently with the Sodium Valproate I have been prescribed for the seizures. Not for everybody however. As per all drugs - aside from seeking medical advice - this one does seem to provoke side-effects for some who might be intolerant. It took a long time for my body to accept the drug. Important I think to build up the dose slowly and over time. Good luck :)
  10. robertpcx


    Gabapentin is a very seductive drug, and it depletes many vitamins and minerals, http://www.nutritional-solutions.net/images/phocadownload/Rx_DepleteInteractions.pdf Look up Neurontin (Gabapentin)

    It is advisable to not use Gabapentin long term (more than a year) and at more than 1000mg. If you do and decide at some point to taper off of gabapentin you should first discuss this with your doctor for the sake of good communication. You should know that there can be severe withdrawal from this drug like nothing you have ever experienced before. But that you can mitigate or reduce and even eliminate the withdrawal with a magnesium supplement. There is nothing in the PDR about potential withdrawal from this drug so many doctors dont believe there is any withdrawal from this drug. They are in denial, if a doctor has treated more than a handfull of patients that have tapered off of this drug than they have seen the withdrawal first hand. Such was the case with my doctor who did not tell me I could experience withdrawal as she said the evidence of withdrawal was anicdotal. Forwarned is forarmed.

    Magnesium chloride and magnesium citrate are two of the better oral and transdermal magnesium supplements.
    ReMag can be found here, http://www.rnadrops.info/products/remag Jigsaw magnesium w/srt is an other oral magnesium supplement found here, http://www.jigsawhealth.com/supplements/magnesium?source=cj. They are both well absorbed.

    Sometimes when supplementing with magnesium it can make you feel worse, http://drcarolyndean.com/2012/10/when-magnesium-makes-me-worse/

    And how to restore magnesium, http://gotmag.org/how-to-restore-magnesium/

    You can read my real life strugle with gabapentin here, http://archive.aweber.com/drcarolyndean/7Wh6U/h/Magnesium_Anxiety_and_Gall.htm It is the first one on this page.

    For more info on magnesium check out DR. Carolyn Dean, http://drcarolyndean.com/ and her resource page for many different, supplements including magnesium, http://drcarolyndean.com/resources.html
    merylg likes this.
  11. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

    I had a very good experience with Gabapentin/Neurontin a few years ago and it really set me up tackle other ME supps etc needed. Pain throughout the body and no sleep prompted my Doc to allow low dose (100mg X 3) with no relief whatsoever. I raised to Epileptic levels and slept soundly day and night over the course (about 3+ weeks) rising only to eat lightly. No other prescriptions involved at the time though except Thyroxine for thyroid, so no mixing. A brain modulating effect seems to have taken place - I did feel considerably "better" after the course, clearer headed with far less pain.
    (Can't recall how high I took it - probably mid range 300mg X 3, your Doc could advise best).
  12. outdamnspot


    I had a couple of questions, if anyone could help me. I'm seeing a psychiatrist next week and was thinking about asking for Gabapentin. I took it years ago for sleep, at about 900mg a night, and found it excellent for restoring deep sleep and aiding anxiety .. though it left me feeling brain-dead most of the day.

    I tried lower doses on one-off occasions after that and always found it had an energizing effect, without having much impact on my anxiety. I'd heard the energizing thing was common in CFS patients.

    I was curious:

    Did people here find the energizing effect wore off? If it did, did any anxiety relief set in?

    And was anyone able to strike a balance in terms of dose between anxiety/pain relief and side-effects like brain fog etc?
  13. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

    I too had horrendous withdrawal from gabapentin, despite being tapered off it. It lasted for months before and months after the last dose.

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