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Gabapentin Withdrawal and now worried

candleladyccandlelady Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Pain Medications
I had a two level TLIF S1-L4 on February 22nd. In the hospital I was started on Gabapentin and gradually increased to 2700mgs a day. My nerve pain at almost nine weeks is awful and the Gabapentin is not working. My neurosurgeon is out of town so his PA prescribed Lyrica to try. She said to just swap them out and it would be okay. I get nervous to do that and am tapering the Gaba currently. I have not slept well, feel like I am gonna come out of my skin and wake up dry heaving since the second day of tapering. My back/hip pain has increased but my nerve pain is oddly better. It is almost like the Gaba was making it worse.
I am seriously debating not taking the Lyrica but this also has me very, very nervous about having to come off the Oxycodone IR I take 4 x's a day 5mg tabs and valium 3 xs a day 5mg. If Gaba is this bad, how bad is Oxy/Valium? I would love to trash all the meds. I already got off Ms Contin about 3 weeks ago feeling about the same as I do with the Gaba withdrawal.
Anyone else have the Gaba withdrawal? How about Oxy/Valium withdrawals? I hate that the pain is still bad enough that I HAVE to take the Oxy/Valium just to be able to move and literally get out of bed.


  • Switching to the lyrica, which is just a more concentrated version of the gabapentin, will not cause you to suffer any withdrawls.

    On the other hand, opiate withdrawls (oxy ir) and benzodiazepiene withdrawl (valium) are much more uncomfortable. The OXY should be tapered and not discontinued suddenly. The same goes for the valium as discontinuing cold turkey can cause seizures.
  • So I went cold turkey with the valium and the oxy. It has been a week of hell. Too many symptoms to list and been the ER twice. I wanted off the meds and did it which I realize now was dumb. I tossed all the meds in the trash and went for it. Now I am in serious withdrawal, lost ten pounds, shaking and sick as all get out. Didn't realize this would happen even though I had been on them nine weeks. I am so sick and just want to come out of my skin and wish this would stop and NOW.
  • I can't imagine going off meds CT unless the side effects are so bad from the med itself. I always do a long slow taper when I want to discontinue medication. It's a lot less discomfort doing it that way. Good luck to you and be patient. Things will get better in the days ahead.
  • Thank you so much. I am having good days and bad days right now. My back is in serious pain but I am determined to ride this out. The worst symptoms are anxiety and vomitting. I never had anxiety before so to have it now is crazy plus the throwing up is a bit annoying with two little ones.

    I would advise anyone who is on pain meds/valium to not go this route. I should have tapered but I had no idea it would be like this or that I was actually physically dependent in just nine weeks.
  • My primary care doc gave me Zofran for nausea/vomiting and something for anxiety.....a 30 day supply because even though I taper meds, I still have discomfort, just not as intense. Maybe you can put a call in, explain the situation and they can help. Truly, it sounds like the worst is over.....so sorry you have to suffer. :-( My best to you!
  • the problems you're having with switching meds.

    I hope you talk to the dr. who switched you to Lyrica and know when it comes to medications for pain and high doses, to titrate slowly, wean off the med/drugs.

    I am taking gabapentin 900 mg is high for me, I normally dont need as a high of a dose as others, but if I miss a dose (taking 300 mg 3 X ) I get jumpy and anxious.

    It's an anti-seizure med and anything affecting the neuro-transmitters and chemistry in brain, especially at high doses of 2700 mg; drs I have had always wean off of meds slowly.

    I was taking lamictal and had to do slow wean even though I had side effects and wished I was no longer taking it.

    I hope you are in touch with dr. in this transition of one med to another.
  • I talked to my neurosurgeon this morning and he says there is no way I am still in withdrawal from the valium/oxy or Gabapentin. He just can't believe it cause I was only on it for such a short time. Sigh. He basically made it sound like the ER docs didn't know what they were talking about and that this might be something else.
    I have Zofran and Phenergan to help with the getting sick but it is just not helping. I am also having night sweats with the anxiety. My frustration is through the roof right now and him thinking this is all in my head. Yeah right.
  • how you are not being taken care of with your meds and caught with NS and ER docs not agreeing.

    I found for myself it was well worth finding a good team of Pain Management doctors connected to Univ. near where I live, it's called Spine & Pain Management Dept. and have a staff of 3 Pain Mngmnt Drs, 1 who does strictly spinal injections; the other 2 who do assessments and prescription meds & referrals for physical & aqua therapy (non-interventional therapies).

    I am not post-op but was getting prepared for possible upcoming surgery and with MVA recently and losing arms/hands with nerve damage and big chronic pain shoulders into arms/hands, it was truly a god-send to get established with PM.

    Do you have access to anything like this where you live?

    So hope you can get pain support in place soon for a smoother recovery from your lumbar surgery and good healing.
  • How are you doing? I hope you are feeling better. I'm on my second week of weaning off Tramadol....not fun.
  • Thanks for checking in on me. I am having good and bad days but overall having major anxiety attacks and tingling all over my body. I still continue to vomit and am now down like 18lbs from this. Saturday I had a great day but then Sunday during the night I awoke sweating and in a panic attack. I have never had issues with anxiety so this is a new feeling that I do not like at all.

    My husband is military so we don't have much choice in doctors right now. I thought my neurosurgeon was good but now that I need him, he just plain sucks. He was very well aware of my sensitivities to medications and I feel before I was given any medication that I made aware of the risk. I was swithced onto them following surgery and I can honestly say I don't remember much but hubby said for sure there was no discussion of tapering any of those meds or warnings at all. I was too out of it to know any better.
  • Do you have a primary care physician? Maybe he/she can prescribe anxiety/nausea meds short term to help you through this rough time. Have you tried any OTC meds for vomiting? Also, I've found plain old ginger ale works well for an upset stomach.
  • Primary care is on maternity leave and I am getting passed around as noone wants to handle this. Gotta love military health care. Sigh. I had a great day yesterday but today has been terrible. I think I am peaking from the withdrawal from valium and I am hoping to be getting to the other side of this.
  • maddysmom said:
    How are you doing? I hope you are feeling better. I'm on my second week of weaning off Tramadol....not fun.
    oh.... dear GOD that is the worst. Tramadol is a nightmare to stop. I sneezed for a week straight, and that was just the annoying part. I wanted to die coming off that stuff. It worked pretty well, but I will never take it again because of the w/d when stopping.

    Candlelady: how are you doing? In my experiences, withdrawal symptoms have never lasted more than a week. Even my worst ones (tramadololol) peaked after 2 or 3 days, then started to rapidly go away. You are at extreme health risk going cold turkey from some of those meds. You need a doctor that will respond to this immediately, get back to the ER, then follow-up with a good doctor and stay on top of them. Go to their supervisor if you have to. I was in the Army for 10 years so I know how to play that game. GO TO THE PATIENT ADVOCATE NOW.

    I was on 1500mg/day of Gabapentin. It worked very well for me, until it started to cause anxiety/panic attacks. I had a panic attack in an MRI machine, and that was the end of it for me, I had my doc taper me off them. I haven't had anxiety problems since.

    Please read the withdrawal information for neurontin (gabapentin) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabapentin#Withdrawal it is extremely dangerous.

  • Please see my earlier response. Go to the patient advocate's office. Stopping those meds cold turkey is like playing russian roulette
  • robrobt33rrobrobt33 MichiganPosts: 11
    edited 02/14/2016 - 8:52 AM

    Switching to the lyrica, which is just a more concentrated version of the gabapentin, will not cause you to suffer any withdrawls.

    On the other hand, opiate withdrawls (oxy ir) and benzodiazepiene withdrawl (valium) are much more uncomfortable. The OXY should be tapered and not discontinued suddenly. The same goes for the valium as discontinuing cold turkey can cause seizures.

    Which are you commenting to?  The way you using quote, it appears that you did not make any comment and just quoting someone else.
  • robrobt33rrobrobt33 MichiganPosts: 11
    I had L5-S1 fusion on December 21,2016 and a cervical laminectomy on February 21,2015 (C4, C5, C6, C7)  to remove a tumor.   I have been on gabapentin for a year now. My highest dosage was 2400 mg per day. I am now taperd down to 1500 mg per day and am hoping to completely get off from gabapentin.  I don't feel that the gabapentin has been helping at all.   The tapering down has been very  difficult. I initially was tapering off at 600 mg per day per week. Therefore,  my first week of tapering was down to 1800 mg per day for the week. The second week I tried to taper down to 1200 mg per week.   That was where my big problems really started. I became very nauseous  and the skin on my head was very painful to touch with shooting pains down into my face.  I immediately took more gabapentin than and the nausea and pain went away.  I have now then started my tapering of gabapentin down to 1500 mg per day for each week.   I can see this will be a long and slow  difficult  journey.    I am thinking that my tapering will be 300 mg per day for each week  and I am hoping that will work. This gabapentin is some wicked stuff.  Not to mention the emotional impact it has had on me. I am a war veteran and have done just about anything and everything on my bucket list.  However since taking this medicine I am very unsteady on my feet and the withdrawal symptoms have caused me to become exceptionally emotional about anything and do al lot of what I consider, inappropriate crying. 
     Wishing you well and good luck on your journey. 
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