I am a 54-yr-old female. In my twenties I was diagnosed with idiopathic left temporal lobe epilepsy, after a grand mal convulsion. An MRI showed white spots in my brain, but my neurologists couldn't relate that to the convulsions or partial seizures I had. My partial seizures took the form of thoughts that spun out beyond my control, like a dream you recognize but don't remember, and lasted half a minute or so. For decades I took anticonvulsants--Dilantin, and when I was ready to get pregnant, phenobarbitol (I know, now a neurologist would advise the opposite switch, away from phenobarb, but luckily I was on a low dose and my kids have been part of a study and there doesn't seem to have been any effect). Eventually I switched to Neurontin (gabapentin), which because it wasn't using up all my liver enzymes, allowed me to drink wine again, a huge relief. I gained weight, and quit sweating, except when I did perspire it was overwhelmingly smelly, and my hair thinned some, but basically the trade-off seemed worth it. I did have a couple of weird visual-field disturbances followed by migraines, but I had a migraine three days before my period every month and ibuprofen took care of it, so I chalked that up to a development in the epilepsy. Plus the gabapentin helped my restless legs.
I took gabapentin every 8 hours. found that if I stayed up late and took my gabapentin at 1 in the morning instead of 11 p.m. I would have trouble sleeping. During a vacation in France, when, because of the time difference I was effectively taking my gabapentin at what would have been 1 a.m. at home, I began to have horrendous adrenal surges in the middle of the night. I would wake up sweating, with my heart pounding, and worried I was having a heart attack. This went away as soon as I returned home (and began taking the gabapentin at 11 p.m. again).
Then about four years ago, after I'd been taking gabapentin for five years, my health collapsed. I developed rashes, my throat would swell in reaction to all sorts of foods, cold water, perfumes, chemical odors. Hot and cold water could trigger hives. Allergies to dust mites and mold became much more intense. An hour of hitting tennis balls would leave me so tired I could barely function. I had ringing in my ears and tingling and numbness in my extremities. I saw an array of allergy specialists who ruled out many specific allergies. I was tested for mastocytosis, and was told I had an abnormally high level of mast cells, but not mastocyctosis.
About the same time, my children were diagnosed with antibodies to gliadin, and the family stopped eating wheat and other foods with gluten. I also stopped eating dairy products, nuts and chocolate (on the theory that if I developed an allergy to chocolate life would be unbearable). I was treated to get rid of helicobactor pylori.
While all this was going on, I began tapering off on the Neurontin. Every time I had worked my way off anticonvulsants in the past, I had had partial seizures with increasing frequency, and I hadn't had even one partial seizure in months, so I felt OK trying to reduce the dose. My neurologist maintained that the problem could not have anything to do with the Neurontin, since it didn't chemically interact with anything in the body. I couldn't figure out what else was left to change.
Over a period of several months I worked my way down and finally quit the Neurontin. The day I didn't take the last pill, I began sneezing uncontrollably. After several hours I was a bit worried and took another 400 mg., and the sneezing stopped--and started again as soon as that dose wore off. Luckily the sneezing went away after a day or two. But then the night sweats began . . .and my tooth grinding, always a problem, got so extreme that I was starting to break apart my teeth--I have several crowns to show for it. Of course when you're my age and female, night sweats are going to be diagnosed as perimenopausal, but I've had all my hormone levels tested--they're not in the perimenopausla range yet--plus I've tried estrogen replacement, to no avail. The night sweats began the week I stopped taking gabapentin.
I had a 48-hour EEG a couple of weeks after quitting the gabapentin and there were no spikes--a few slow waves, but I have had no partial seizures, no neurological events at all in the intervening four years--the epilepsy has gone. I suspect the epilepsy was the result of an undiagnosed wheat allergy. There's something called gluten ataxia, in which lesions in the brain cause physical jerkiness, and there were those white spots on my brain MRIs . . .Although I tested negative for gluten antibodies, I'd been avoiding wheat for months by the time I was tested, and I don't think my cupcake binge the week of the test was enough to guarantee a good test result. The canker sores (apthous ulcers) in my mouth disappeared completely when I quit eating wheat, as did the intermittant itchy spots on my arms and legs. My face clears up nicely when I avoid dairy--and without dairy I have no migraines. I've found I need to keep foods like corn, rice, almonds, and sesame down to only once a week, and I avoid soy entirely. If I eat those foods too often I get noticeable brain fog and it's like someone switched off my thyroid with a switch--the hands and feet go cold, then later a hot flash. Chocolate seems to be OK, thank heavens.
When I quit the gabapentin, I found myself craving magnesium-rich foods--raisins, nuts, beans. The online research I've done suggests that since gabapentin works by binding to a calcium receptor to prevent electrical signals between neurons, and since magnesium binds to the same receptors as calcium, years of gabapentin use could lead to a calcium and magnesium deficiciency. And magnesium deficienly would explain a lot of what happened to me when my health went haywire. I now take about 250% of the RDA for magnesium (approx. 675 mg. elemental magnesiuim) per day, and some calcium, though I don't always make the RDA there. So many things have improved. The dust mite allergies have receded noticeably, the seasonal pollen allergies are pretty much gone, the tooth grinding is better. Best of all, the adrenal surges at 2 a.m. stopped as soon as I began taking elevated magnesium doses. Now most nights when I wake up with night sweats I can at least get right back to sleep. The leg cramps are gone until I try to taper down the magnesium to 400 or 500 mg. elemental and then they return.
So here, at last, is my question: Has anyone else had similar experiences with gabapentin, or know anything about it in relation to magensium deficiencies? So many of the gabapentin side effects are consistent with hypothyroidism, but I can't find any research in that direction. And for me at least it's clear that the gabapentin was suppressing my adrenal system, which would surge out of control if the dose of gabapentin was a couple of hours late--which makes sense since I think magnesium counterbalances adrenaline, doesn't it, in that endocrine loop?
I apologize for what a lengthy post this is. I'm new to MedHelp and am not sure of the protocol of posting. Thanks for any advice.
Hi I was taking 2400 mg. at bed time for 10 years and it wasn't doing anything for me and so I began to taper off gabapentin and experienced a god awful withdrawal, my Doctor had no advise as to how to properly taper and so I did on line research and found your post and a couple of other posts suggesting that I might have a magnesium defieciency and decided to check out some of the magnesium supplements available one of them was (ionic-fizz Magnesium plus) I was stuck at 1200 mg. gabapentin and couldn't seem to taper down any farther. I started taking the magnesium supplement and where before the supplement I had spent 11 months trying to stop gabapentin without any luck and after I started the magnesium supplement I was able to stop the gabapentin in 2 weeks. The headaches, nausea, lack of appetite and a general mailaise (I just felt really bad) it all went away. I have been gabapentin free now for 10 days. I don't have any proof that the gabapentin is leaching out the magnesium out of my body but if the gabapentin is blocking the magnesium from it normal functions as a neurotransmitter in the body than the magnesium is not properly used and I could see this as a sort of magnesium defecite.
However the mechanism of magnesium is utilized in the body chemistry there does seem to be a link between gabapentin and magnesium which is counterproductive.
Gabapentin is a seductive drug, my symptoms came on slowly over time and after servral years of usage and after eliminating all of the other druggs I was taking. Gabapentin was making me sick and I sensed an urgency to quit gabapentin as quickly as I could.
I have read a lot of the forums and there are a lot of people out there who have not cought on to magnesium as being the significant mitigator of the withdrawal syndrome. Doctors are not recomending magnesium as an aid to help the taper off process either. It is up to us to get the word out about magnesium.
I started taking 2 at bed time to try to help with sleep, I did so well I started taking 2 in the morning and 2 at bed time after only a couple of days.
Listen to your body if your comfortable taking 2 your can raise it by taking one in the morning and 2 at bed time. See how you do if no discomfort then after a couple of days raise it to 2 in the morning and 2 at bedtime.
You should allow some time for your body to adjust to the increase in magnesium.
Did you experience the sedative effect? You will know when you are taking too much as you will begin to experience loose stool, this is where you back off by 1 pill or untill you no longer experience loose stool.
It is very difficult to OD on magnesium and you shouldent have a problem supplementing with taking 2 in the morning and 2 at bed time.
Since I wrote the post above I have also tried ReMag from Dr. Carolyn Dean it is an other great oral magnesium supplement. you can find it by googleing ReMag Dr. Carolyn Dean.
With experience you will know how much your body can tolerate.
Yes. Yes 2ml. in the morning and 2ml. at bedtime is the recomended dosage yes it also states on the label you can take more. This amounts to 250 mg. since this product is so well absorbed after your body has adjusted to the daily dose of 250 mg. you can easily adjust the dose to 4ml. in the morning and 4 ml. at bedtime = 500 mg.. I was still experiencing severe headaches when taking 500 mg. So I have gradually increased my daily intake to 1000 mg. per day. With no ill effects, (no diarea) there are many days now where I don't experience headaches, still if I indulge in to much Icecream (too much calcium) or too much beer (more than one beer) a day and I will get a headache.
I just purchased Dr. Carolyn Deans book "The Magnesium Miracle" from amazon. I'm hopeful that my Doctor will want to read it.
As I suspect that I'm experienceing a sever magnesium deficeiciency my thinking, if I am to build up the stores or magnesium in my body I have got to take much more the RDA which for women is 350 mg. per day and for men 420 mg. per day. I have been slowly able to reduce the amount the amount of beer I drink per day. I was self medicating with alcahol because of my anxiety and depression. But the magnesium has eliminated nearly all of my anxiety and depression and it has been relatively easy to reduce the amount of alcahol I consume. I have cut my sugar intake by more than 50% and reduced my Coffee intake by a third. I am eating more whole foods high in magnesium and have reduced processed food like fast food and quick prepare pre-packeged processed foods as the processing removes as much as 80% of the magnesium.
It may be possable to clear the plaq out of my arteries by restricting my intake of calcium for a couple of more months, by allowing the magnesium to do it's job. Then I will try adding calcium back into my diet.
I have gotten away from the mainstream multivitamin. I purchased the liquid multvitamin recomended by Dr. Carolyn Dean found on her resource page.
I conducted an informal survey of the Multivitamins available at local pharmacies and grocery stores and with out exception they all used calcium carbonate and magnesium Oxid, these are the 2 least absorbable forms of these minerals, it's like eating chalk. If you have pets and you feed them a comercial brand of dog or cat food. If you read the label of contents you will see that they use magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate so even our pets are not getting enough magnesium in their diets. These forms are not well digested.
We are on the cusp of a new paradym shift into wholistic medicine useing nutrition like we use prescription drugs today, it wont happen over night but I believe it will happen.
Supplementing with magnesium I feel I no longer need medication for my anxiety and depression.
There is a movie available on youtube called "The Marketing Of Madness" it details how big Pharma doesn't make Drugs to heal but makes drugs like paxil to keep you hooked on their pill for the rest of your life.
Your advice is very much appreciated. My wife is desperately trying to lower her gabapentin dose from 1200 mg daily, but is stuck. She's tried Mg for a couple of days, but taking it too close to the Gabapentin makes her feel worse. She currently takes one 200 mg capsule of magnesium asporotate (mix of aspartate,citrate,irritate), once a day, mid way between gabapentin doses, at late morning.Nighttime is especially rough for her.
How did you stagger the Mg with the gabapentin? I want to give my wife some relief....thank you so much in advance!
Hey... 18 year old male here... Hope I can contribute to this very old thread. I was prescribed 2400mg gabapentin a day for a year, and since I started it has felt like I am sick all the time, but it took the pain from a bad opiate habit away, my scoliosis, and my never ending anxiety about the first two. I started eating about 3200mg a day, more like 3800mg because it made me so foggy I forgot if I had taken a dose or not, so I figured I should be over and not under and anxious.
I recently started tapering, and to my great agony I got down to 1200mg over two months. I was flying off the handle so bad all day I started a prescription for Xanax.
Thank you for posting this, as all that gabapentin use has most likely ripped me of all my magnesium. I felt like a sloth for a year and hopefully it will be over soon!
Congratulations on your opiate recovery and your tapering! You are so brave to endure the suffering of both. I do believe neurotin creates some pretty serious calcium/magnesium deficiencies. I took 1,200 mg for 1.5 years for anxiety and sleep. Because I was too a sloth, I starting tapering last May. It hasn't bothered my anxiety but I had learned some awesome skills on how to process and regulate my emotions before that through DBT therapy. And mindful activities like yoga, art... Help a lot. I also finally found an antidepressant that works. My withdrawal issues are with sleep and horrible muscle cramps and pain. So I take a magnesium glycinate supplement, soak in mag. salt baths, mix the mag. powder in warm water at night, take a calcium supplement. I exercise - not too hard - and stretch out, then drink a magnesium enriched muscle restore drink after. All of these things do help but what helps the most is reading these posts on how difficult it is to taper even over months and how long it takes for your body to restore. It helps me to know that is how it is and it will get better. I have been off for one month. My mind is more alert so I know I am out of the fog of the med. My sleep has been bad but is getting better. My leg pains come and go. It makes sense that magnesium is the mineral that helps our minds relax, brings us into sleep, and restores our muscles after exercise. Calming. Hope this helps and hang in there!
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