Gabapentin Withdrawal (What people have experienced so far?)

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Page last updated: 23/09/2022

In this blog post, we are going to talk about the horrors of gabapentin withdrawal. Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog and is used for a number of conditions. 

However, this medicine is not so simple when it comes to stopping it. This blog will include some real experiences and will also talk about the most proper way to stop this medication. 

Is gabapentin withdrawal difficult? 

Yes, gabapentin withdrawal is extremely difficult, especially for those who have been using this medication for a long time. It is also one hell of a task for people who misuse gabapentin. Make sure you ask your healthcare provider if you wish to stop this medication. Abrupt withdrawal can make your condition worse. 

What people have experienced so far? 

Many people have come forward and revealed the horror of gabapentin withdrawal. Amy, a 36 year old woman stated: 

“Stopping gabapentin was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. I knew about taper schedules and everything and I tried my best to follow it properly, but guess what? I was still not spared! It was not the nausea or vomiting that made me miserable, but it was the everlasting anxiety that made me hate my life.”

She further stated:

“It made everything difficult for me. The thing that shocked me was how I suffered from these withdrawal symptoms even when I properly tapered it off. Please be careful people.”

This is indeed a depressing and concerning review and it raises a question, “Can you still get withdrawal symptoms after tapering it off?”. This practice is done specifically to prevent any withdrawal symptoms.

It is a known fact that you can still get withdrawal symptoms, but much less intense. Then how come Amy got symptoms this severe? It’s something to think about. 

Another 40 year old male stated:

“I have been an obsessive person all my life, and no not with people. I’m not some kind of a freak. I get obsessed with things. When I suffered from neuropathic pain, my doctor first put me on 300 mg gabapentin then the dose was escalated to much higher dose. It helped relief my pain but as I just told you, I got obsessed.”

He continued:

“My obsession with gabapentin led to overdosing. It calmed my anxiety and made my pain disappear. It made me feel so good I kept taking more and more of the drug until I couldn’t take anymore. I started shaking uncontrollably because of the addiction and it took me to the hospital.”

He further stated:

“My doctor figured out I was overdosing on gabapentin as my blood had high concentration of the drug. That’s where he recommended a rehabilitation program to withdraw gabapentin and help me with the addiction. Let’s just say stopping the drug was one hell of a nightmare for me. I’m glad I’m clean now and I feel much better.”

Another user stated:

“Gabapentin withdrawal was extremely difficult for me. The most affected organ was my heart. I suffered from severe arrhythmia and palpitations. Every Time my anxiety got worse, i felt like my heart with just rip my chest apart and run away. It was a gruesome journey. I wish all the people best who are going through this right now.”

It tells us how much of a problem gabapentin withdrawal is. Make sure you use it properly and don’t get too addicted to it. Avoid misusing the drug as much as you can. Don’t think that higher dose will be more effective as it is not truly the case. 

Gabapentin Withdrawal (What people have experienced so far?)

Why does gabapentin withdrawal syndrome occur? 

Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog. Gabapentin mimics the actions of GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works by inhibiting the excessive neuronal firing in the brain which reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures. 

Gabapentin is also used to reduce the intensity of neuropathic pain by inhibiting nociceptors (pain receptors). This medication is a prescription medication and should be taken only at doses determined by your healthcare professional. 

It is not recommended to start or stop using any medication, especially while you’re being on any medication that can affect your brain, with your doctor’s approval.

Experts believe that people who misuse gabapentin are more likely to suffer from terrible withdrawal symptoms as compared to the people who stick to their doctor’s recommended prescription and take their gabapentin properly. 

Several surveys have indicated that withdrawal symptoms are more commonly found in people who have been taking 400-800 mg for more than a month. Some experts believe that these withdrawal symptoms are similar to the symptoms caused by abrupt benzodiazepine withdrawal. 

This may be due to the fact that both of these meds act either on GABA or mimic its activity. Make sure you stick to your doctor’s recommended dose and take it carefully in order to prevent your body from being physically dependent on the medication. 

What is the best way to stop using gabapentin?

The best way to stop using gabapentin is to taper the dose gradually. Abrupt withdrawal can lead to the symptoms which can become too hard to bear. Make sure you talk to your doctor and follow the taper schedule properly in order for safe withdrawal. 

Pfizer, the company which manufactures gabapentin, advises to stop using this medication over a period of one week minimum. The exact schedule is determined according to the conditions of the patient and the duration of his or her treatment. 

The current dose of the drug also plays a major role. If someone is on higher doses, he or she will have to go for different tapered doses in order to achieve the lowest effective dose, after which the drug is discontinued. 

Age and underlying health conditions can also make a huge difference. If the condition for which gabapentin has been prescribed is not getting any better then the treatment should not be discontinued, unless you suffer from an allergic reaction or unusual side effects. 

Unnecessary withdrawal can lead to exacerbation of your condition. Age is a factor because the process of withdrawal should proceed slowly in  elderly patients who can be affected when the dose is reduced as their bodies are much more sensitive to the concentration of medications. 

If you are taking gabapentin and you wish to stop using it, ask your healthcare provider. Do not stop this medication on your own. If you have been misusing gabapentin and want to stop doing so, ask your healthcare provider. 

You can also get help from rehabilitation, where you can safely taper off gabapentin and learn new lifestyle changes to help you deal with your addictions. 

Immediately talk to your healthcare provider if you experience unusual side effects while taking gabapentin. Do not recommend this drug to someone else and use it as long as your doctor has advised. 

Inform your doctor if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. It is extremely important to ensure safety of your meds during your pregnancy. Some meds can cross placenta and are capable of causing unwanted side effects in the growing fetus. 

Inform your doctor if you’re a breastfeeding mother. Gabapentin may be capable of passing into the breastmilk and may cause side effects in newborns. 

Do not stop gabapentin abruptly. If it’s time for you to stop this med, your doctor will simply recommend a taper schedule for you, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. 

Make sure you use this medication or any other medication only when your doctor has advised it. Using medications which can affect your brain is not something ideal and should not be encouraged unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed what actual people have experienced while tapering off gabapentin. The withdrawal of this medication is extremely difficult, especially for those who have been using this medication for a long time. 

It is also one hell of a task for people who misuse gabapentin. Make sure you ask your healthcare provider if you wish to stop this medication. Abrupt withdrawal can make your condition worse. Do not stop gabapentin abruptly. 

If it’s time for you to stop this med, your doctor will simply recommend a taper schedule for you, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. 

FAQs: gabapentin withdrawal stories  

What happens to your body when you stop taking gabapentin?

Gabapentin is associated with withdrawal syndrome when you abruptly stop taking this medication. Experts believe that people who misuse gabapentin are more likely to suffer from terrible withdrawal symptoms as compared to the people who stick to their doctor’s recommended prescription and take their gabapentin properly. 

Several surveys have indicated that withdrawal symptoms are more commonly found in people who have been taking 400-800 mg for more than a month.

How long does it take for gabapentin to wear off after stopping?

It is quite difficult to give an exact amount of time taken by gabapentin to be eliminated from your body completely because of its variable effects in different individuals. Withdrawal symptoms may last up to 7 to 14 days.

However, this too depends on the duration of your treatment and the dose at which you were. Make sure you ask your healthcare provider if you wish to stop this medication. Abrupt withdrawal can make your condition worse. Do not stop gabapentin abruptly.

Is 300mg of gabapentin a lot?

300 mg is usually considered the initial dose of your treatment with gabapentin. This dose is later escalated to much higher doses in order to meet the needs of your treatment goal. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose and do not stop taking the medication without your doctor’s approval. 

Is it difficult to get off gabapentin?

It can be difficult to get off gabapentin because it might produce dependence, especially in people who have been taking this medication for a long time now. It is advised to not stop this medication abruptly. Sudden withdrawal can lead to the relapse of epileptic seizures and you can also suffer from tremors and other psychological symptoms. 

Can gabapentin withdrawal cause panic attacks?

Gabapentin withdrawal may cause panic attacks. Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue 
  • Insomnia or inability to sleep
  • Photosensitivity 
  • Pain 
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremors
  • Hypertension

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