What serious side effects may happen if I stop taking Gabapentin and How to treat Gabapentin Withdrawal

Both those who abuse gabapentin and those who take it as prescribed can experience some form of withdrawal when the drug is stopped. Research shows that someone taking gabapentin for as little as 3 weeks, and at doses as low as 400 mg a day, may experience withdrawal.

Gabapentin Neurontin
Gabapentin Neurontin

Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms are similar to those associated with benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal and vary from mild to life-threatening. 

The following are withdrawal symptoms one might experience if they stop taking gabapentin abruptly: 

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Headache
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heart rate or heart palpitations
  • Catatonia or inability to move
  • Status epilepticus – a condition where seizures occur one after another (can be fatal)

A physician or medical professionals at a detox facility can safely manage these symptoms.

Several levels of gabapentin withdrawal and abuse treatment are available, and hundreds of facilities throughout the country offer each level of care. The levels of care include:

  • Detox – Gabapentin detox centers specialize in helping people through the acute phase of substance withdrawal. People are supervised around the clock and receive medical and psychiatric attention. Ongoing substance abuse therapy is not the focus at this stage. But the staff will help arrange continued care at another facility following detox. Programs will typically last 3-10 days.
  • Inpatient treatment – Inpatient or residential treatment facilities also provide around-the-clock supervision and care. People meet with psychiatrists, medical doctors, and therapists on a regular basis. Additionally, they may receive individual, group, family, couples, nutritional, and recreational therapy. Inpatient facilities provide a safe place to recover from addiction and focus on mental, behavioral, and lifestyle changes that contribute to long-term recovery. Program lengths typically start at 28 days and can continue for months.
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) – PHPs and IOPs typically take place at psychiatric centers, hospitals, or private practices and primarily focus on group therapy. These programs may also provide weekly family sessions or individual sessions as needed. Many PHPs will include medication management, but IOPs often expect that people have outside providers managing any medications.
  • Individual therapy – Individual therapy can be helpful for learning ways to cope with chronic pain and to help work through issues driving drug abuse.
At this time, no medications have been approved for gabapentin withdrawal treatment. However, physicians may prescribe medications for some of the more uncomfortable side effects of withdrawal.
Your dose of gabapentin may be tapered down over a period of a week to several months to reduce withdrawal symptoms and to avoid complications associated with stopping gabapentin rapidly.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

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 much 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.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.

In general, treatments for fibromyalgia include both medication and self-care. The emphasis is on minimizing symptoms and improving general health. No one treatment works for all symptoms.

Medications

Medications can help reduce the pain of fibromyalgia and improve sleep. Common choices include:

  • Pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) may be helpful. Your doctor might suggest a prescription pain reliever such as tramadol (Ultram, Conzip). Narcotics are not advised, because they can lead to dependence and may even worsen the pain over time.
  • Antidepressants. Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) may help ease the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. Your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline at night to help promote sleep.
  • Anti-seizure drugs. Medications designed to treat epilepsy are often useful in reducing certain types of pain. Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise) is sometimes helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms, while pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia.

Therapy

Talking with a counselor can help strengthen your belief in your abilities and teach you strategies for dealing with stressful situations.

Drugs associated with Fibromyalgia

 

 

Gabapentin is Used to Treat Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are different, though. They can cause such distress that it interferes with your ability to lead a normal life.

This type of disorder is a serious mental illness. For people who have one, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be disabling. But with treatment, many people can manage those feelings and get back to a fulfilling life.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

Fortunately, much progress has been made in the last two decades in the treatment of people with mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders. Although the exact treatment approach depends on the type of disorder, one or a combination of the following therapies may be used for most anxiety disorders:

  • Medication : Drugs used to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders include many antidepressants, certain anticonvulsant medicines and low-dose antipsychotics, and other anxiety-reducing drugs.
  • Psychotherapy : Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) addresses the emotional response to mental illness. It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their disorder.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This is a particular type of psychotherapy in which the person learns to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings.
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes
  • Relaxation therapy

How can I manage anxiety?

  • Go to counseling as directed. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you understand and change how you react to events that trigger your symptoms.
  • Find ways to manage your symptoms. Activities such as exercise, meditation, or listening to music can help you relax.
  • Practice deep breathing. Breathing can change how your body reacts to stress. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths several times a day, or during an anxiety attack. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine can increase your anxiety. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
  • Do not have caffeine. Caffeine can make your symptoms worse. Do not have foods or drinks that are meant to increase your energy level.
  • Limit or do not drink alcohol. Ask your healthcare provider if alcohol is safe for you. You may not be able to drink alcohol if you take certain anxiety or depression medicines. Limit alcohol to 1 drink per day if you are a woman. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day if you are a man. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

On December 30, 1993, Gabapentin got final approval, which meant that it could be marketed in the United States. It is only marketed as an anticonvulsant. However, it has also been used for restless leg syndrome, pain issues, hot flashes, tremors, anxiety and a wide variety of psychiatric disorders.

more than 81% anxiety said Gabapentin is a good medicine for Anxiety. Tousant agrees Gabapentin is the only thing that has help with my anxiety, I tried others medications but it don’t work. I’m just taking it as needed for my anxiety and help me sleep. You can’t just stop it like that. You have to weaned yourself off it. My anxiety got worse when I lost my mother in 2014. I wish everyone the best. You do what works for you. Everybody is different.

I’ve suffered from bouts of severe anxiety since I was 5 years old. I’m 44 now. The Dr put me on Xanax, but that never seemed to do much for me except finally let me sleep for a few hours if I took more than my prescribed dosage. I also have degenerative disc disease in my lower back & was put on Gaba for nerve pain about a year ago. I couldn’t believe the effect it had on the anxiety. It’s like it snips some internal wire a)& cuts the anxiety off. It’s been a life saver for me, literally. HOWEVER, I say this with a warning. Obviously, not everyone gets this effect from Gaba. And, when I tried stopping cold turkey once, the anxiety came back worse than ever – like super bad. So, it’s a long term commitment, be aware.

Call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain, tightness, or heaviness that may spread to your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck, or back.
  • You feel like hurting yourself or someone else.