General Question

2davidc8's avatar

Has anyone taken Gabapentin (aka Neurontin)?

Asked by 2davidc8 (4984 points ) June 12th, 2014

Today I was prescribed gabapentin for left upper arm pain. After reading about the possible side effects (mood changes, thoughts of suicide, temporary memory loss, loss of coordination/balance, drowsiness, confusion, suppression of new neurons, even pancreatic cancer), I am scared to take it.

Has anyone taken this drug, and was it helpful?

Of course, I will talk to my doctor about this, but I was wondering what others’ experience with this drug might be.

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10 Answers

anniereborn's avatar

I have been taking it for about ten years for Bipolar Disorder symptoms. It has helped me greatly. As for side effects, I do have some short term memory problems.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

My spouse has been taking that medication for years. He has had no side effects at all.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I would also be suspicious of a drug which is used to treat anxiety and BPD being prescribed for physical pain. Your doctor must realize it is going to have an effect on your mood and mental state. Is there nothing else you can take? Is it chronic pain, or something that will go away in time?

RocketGuy's avatar

I took it for nerve pain. I built up my dosage to 2x a day. I got several side effects:
blurred vision (actually, super slow focus)
crankiness/short temper
slight dizziness
drowsiness
But it did reduce my nerve pain.

After I told my Dr., she prescribed Nortriptyline. It works better and I have fewer side effects:
early on, feelings of hopelessness, but fine now
drowsiness

my eyes are starting to focus faster now, after being off Gabapentine for 3 weeks. I had built up to 2x a day (even 3x one day), but have backed off to 1x a day.

2davidc8's avatar

Thank you all for your responses. Yes, I am being prescribed this drug for physical pain. My doctor has determined that my shoulder is OK, it’s not a muscle or bone problem. The pain is in my left upper arm and left side of my neck (no shoulder pain), and the two are interconnected because moving one affects the other. He doesn’t want to prescribe prescription-level Motrin (ibuprofen) because I am already taking aspirin as a blood thinner.

So, he prescribed Gabapentine, starting with the lowest dose and gradually working up.

And yes, he also told me to go to physical therapy.

Darth_Algar's avatar

It is not uncommon for gabapentin to be prescribed for neuropathic pain. Since it was originally developed to treat neurological disorders it can also be useful for treating other symptoms of the nervous system, such as nerve pain.

RocketGuy's avatar

Mine was constriction around C5, but felt painful near T1 (close to right shoulder blade). If you get severe enough side effects, ask for Nortriptyline.

2davidc8's avatar

@RocketGuy You said you’ve “backed off to 1x a day”. So, are you taking both Gabapentin and Nortriptyline?

RocketGuy's avatar

No I went from one to the other. For either one, Dr told me to ramp up 1 to 2 to 3… as needed for pain. Then ramp down as I get better. Never stop suddenly e.g. from 3 to 0.

2davidc8's avatar

Oh, I see. OK, thanks for your answer!

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