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Neurontin (Gabapentin) Side effects? Stomach?

I was just given a script for Neurontin (Gabapentin) from my neurologist. Need to know side effects. Also, how tolerated is this for a persons stomach or digestive track?
29 Responses
620923 tn?1452915648
Hi....I just had an issue with Gabapentin...I have IBS and was on Miralax to help and it was working...until I took the Gabapentin.....I had one heck of a time getting regulated again.....
Time frame.......almost 2 months to get back on track after stopping the meds.

And may I add...I was on the Miralax the whole month that I took the gabapentin.

May I ask Y u were rx'd it?...maybe another rx will work better.

Good Luck
Avatar universal
Hi there,

The most common side effects of Gabapentin are drowsiness, drowsiness and swelling of extremities. The latter effect is more common in elderly patients. Mood swings and problems in concentration are also seen.
It does not have any effect on digestive tract as such; however, it should be used cautiously in patients with kidney disease. Also please remember that the side effects are not seen in everyone.

Hope this helps!
Avatar universal
I might add, since I take a cousin of the medicine, Lyrica, and also had IBS a few years ago (from a different drug I was taking), that those Gaba medicines can dry out a person a little, which then might goof up digestion sometimes, and also the mouth will dry out sometimes.  A very simple thing to do, to offset that particular side effect, is to drink several extra glasses of water every day.  You can go to some drug websites to read all the side effects, I think drugs.com and rxlist.com are two that will list millions of medications and a bunch of side effects and so forth.  But I WILL say this, you should stay on your Neurontin, it is a good medicine for what ails you, and simply drink extra water, and you should not have a bunch more digestive problems than you already have, except for this note, that all medicines have the side effect to some degree or another of upsetting the tummy, so you have to follow instructions as to whether to take it with or without food...the pharmacy will usually give you a printout all that sort of thing if you'll ask them, or, as I said, you can check some drug websites to see what it says about taking them with food and all.
Avatar universal
I'm 57yrs. old (in a couple weeks I'll be 58). I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in the beginning of last year. I've always have been constipated. My ulcers in my decending colon were bleeding. Was put on Asacol and it seemed to do the trick but my bun & creatine went up but was still within the normal range. Went off Asacol. My liver enzymes have been high normal to high and my pancrease enzymes had been elevated but I think they're okay now. I'm scared of meds. Then I got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis by one rheummy and another one said I don't have it. I took a nuclear whole body scan which revealed all joints are arthritic. Last year I started to have muscle twitches and spasms and some pins and needles in my finger tips and toes. I lost almost 50lbs. without trying. Now the pins and needles are stinging painful whole body from scalp to toe. My nerves are so sensitive that it hurts to wear clothes. My muscles are so sore.
I just took EMG's of all four extremeties showing some peraneal (typo?) in left leg and mild carpal tunnel sydrome in left hand. I also took a SSEP but the results didn't come back.
I'm afraid of what this drug would do to my stomach. For years I've had awful gerd/acid reflux. I now have for several months inflammed stomach tissue and had two polyps taken out. I also have intestinal metaplasia as of March'08. I also have issues with my esphogus and have had errosions. I can't even take certain vitamins without it causing me pain.
Throughout the year I have developed depression and anxiety and need help with that.

Other than that, I've had high serum calcium, osteoporosis and then came high PTH(parathyroid). My vitamin D went down to 8.5 and I'm taking supplements. Took scans of the thyroids and it came back negative so the endo docs are saying that this is secondary. Secondary to what? I don't know if this can all be from the same illness or just separate ones.

Oh..It's hard for me to sleep and while I'm sleeping, I wake up with terrible stinging pain all over and through my body. I can't talk or move and it's so hard me me to catch a breath. My muscles spasm up. When I can, I moan and grunt to wake my husband and he comes around the bed to sit me up and start moving my limbs. What's up with that? I'm schedualed for an EEG. The neurologists are putting me on Gaba to try to tone down the pins and needles.

I also read that Gaba can cause bronchile or upper resperatory infections. I always get them anyway. Has anyone heard of this?

Thanks so much for everyone's answers.
620923 tn?1452915648
Hi, when I went to my gastro dr and told him about the gab...he said I should never have been on it with the issues I had....I told him I questioned the dr that had rx'd it for me and said it was ok.....he said he has seen it to cause issues for those that have an exsisting IBS issue.

I also have gerd and reflux......

And as for the drowsiness of the drug...not me!...I took it and laid for hours waiting to fall asleep...the dr that rx'd this was a sleep clinic dr!! Not all drugs work the way the insert for the drug implies and it can cause issues not mentioned...we r all different and will react differently to drugs...so no one can tell u how u will feel...only how u could feel....and I know....gabapentin did affect my IBS.

Good luck Lori...and listen to ur body....no one else!

Avatar universal
I am on Gabapentine- I have headaches everyday! They dont help the pain. I fall asleep driving, I forget everything. I have givin it over 5 month's and I need to get off it.

I was told about Zomig. for headaches. So I am going back to the Doc. Again( I have an icecream pale full of medicine ) loads of money spent, nothing works, I am getting very scared for my health.  I am 42 and had head and neck pain for 7 year's now. Nobody seem's to be able to help me out.
Avatar universal
May I suggest that if any of you folks are taking several medications at one time, irregardless of the sequence or length of time, that you check ALL of them for various side effects.  Lori, you mentioned you've always had constipation...I hope you have followed the usual rules for how to eat to make waste pass easier: water, exercise, and fiber.  Altho your conditions have snowballed so badly that a systemic disease is probably at work in you.  Finally, for all, not everyone does well with Neurontin or its cousins, and yet it is indeed prescribed and successfully for all sorts of discomfort, sensitivities, anything to do with nerve pain.  So, since not all meds work for all conditions, if it doesn't work for you or you are suspicious of it, then ask for something else.  For me, it is a miracle drug...I literally could not get out of bed for months, and then after just one pill of Lyrica, I woke up the next morning with NO PAIN.  So, naturally I'm gonna stick up for it, been on it for years.  But everyone is different.  I hope all of you find comfort and good treatment to help you thru your very disastrous medical problems.  I gotta bunch too and it drives me nuts sometimes.    
Avatar universal
Does Neurontin cause weight gain? Also, I'm SOOOO scared it's going to mess up my kidneys.
Avatar universal
Wow!  I was beginning to think it was just me.  Normally I take a small dose of omaprazole (Prilosec brand name) and everything fine.  I started Nuerontin (generic brand - I'm on medicare and can't afford the brand name of any drugs except my Advair which is absolutely necessary) about 3 months ago and have had to sleep sitting up all night - so with your history I cannot imagine you will find this medication does not further irritate your stomach problems.

Barbara 101
Avatar universal
So glad to hear others that can't remember anything after being on Gab.  Being 70, I was beginning to think I had Alzheimers!!!

I am completely active - work every day - real estate and sale of hair combs imported from South Africa.  But just today talking on the phone with a friend it seemed I could not remember every other word.

You have eased my fears

Thank you!!

681148 tn?1437661591
I have peripheral neuropathy.  I had bad reactions to Neurontin when I took the higher doses of it.  So, the doctor prescribed it at 100 mg doses that can be taken up to four times a day for the peripheral neuropathy.  A friend of mine warned me that Neurontin can be dangerous.  And, if you're changing meds, you should not abruptly stop taking Neurontin.  It needs to be tapered down and through directions from the prescribing doctor.  I am very sensitive to meds, so I took my friend's advice seriously.

Recently, someone told me about a supplement called Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA).  I bought some that came in 300 mg doses.  The maximum amount that can be taken in one day is 600 mg.  I noticed a difference in the amount and severity of the peripheral neuropathy I experience when I took this supplement twice a day.  I told my PCP that I was taking this supplement instead of the Neurontin and she is fine with it.  She works in a clinic that has graduates of the natural health university doing their internships in the rooms that are not exam rooms for the conventional doctors.  So, she has heard of this supplement and knew what it was for.  It hasn't gotten rid of all of the neuropathy, but it has taken care of the debilitating waves of the neuropathy.

Avatar universal
I have been on Gabapentine for over 4 yrs and I must say that I have very slight side effects. I have been taking it for lower back pain (tethered cord) and neuro pains. It has been helping manage the pain.

Avatar universal
A high dose can make you feel really dopey, especially if you have not eaten for a couple hours.
Avatar universal
The most commonly observed adverse events associated with the use of Neurontin in adults are dizziness, somnolence, and peripheral edema. But it does affect the whole body . The effects on digestive system are – diarrhea , constipation , flatulence , nausea and vomiting . For complete information, please visit - http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm. Hope this helps you . Take care and regards !
Avatar universal
Experience from someone using high doses: After going through the gamut for neuro pain attacks, it took getting up to 3600mg/d of gabapentin to get it under control.  At 2400, I still was getting milder attacks. The side effects/negatives for me with gabapentin were much less than muscle relaxers, SSRI’s, epitol, pain meds, trigger point injections, topical combinations, lidocaine patches, etc.   I believe gabapentin caused my feet to slightly swell to where I use diabetic socks to keep from cutting off circulation and getting cold feet.  My vision changes anytime the dosage of gabapentin is changed, so I have had to update glasses almost every dosage change.  Noticed certain fluorescent lights take time to adjust to, but can't say if it is connected to gaba.  Initially when on 300mg/d, I learned if I skipped gaba a couple days, I would go through the adjustment side effects of dizziness, etc. all over again the next time I took it.  Even though it says to stay away from grapefruit and maybe other citrus while on gaba, I also discovered that drinking Squirt and some other popular clear sodas with citrus will greatly interact with gaba and cause a feeling of being slightly drunk (they should mention grapefruit AND Squirt on the insert and the neurontin website because people don't think of grapefruit with sodas).  I have gained about 15 pounds either from inactivity or gaba or both over the last two years.  I have extreme gerd/acid reflux and gaba doesn't seem to bother me, but have noticed PPI's, ranitidine, sucralfate, and other digestive meds do give me some of their listed side effects.  I take gaba with and without food and doesn't seem to bother me.  Pertaining to all meds, certain gerd meds may block the amount of dosage absorbed, so a person with gerd can get the side effects of changing gaba dosages if not timing when meds are taken. I have had multiple pneumonias, but can't say gaba was a factor, because my pain is/was at such a level, I wasn't able to breath deeply to keep my lower lobes in use, so fluid could pool for infections.  I am a computer programmer and have to admit, I cannot do those 25 step calculations in my head anymore. I think my concentration regained somewhat after a long term adjustment to the dosage.  My creatine and bun have been good. I am sure side effects are different for each person, but gabapentin allows me to get back some of my life.  
Avatar universal
I've been on Neurontin/Gappapentin for 2 years and stopped talking it two days ago. Life changing results. I hadn't exercised for nearly 7 years and now, touch wood, my nerve pain is nearly non-exsistant. Your stomach does get s burning feeling while you are on it, particularly if you consume alcohol, resembeling hunger pains. I just made sure I chose healthy options when I could and had small snacks to take the edge off. Granted I'm exercising again, but I lost weight while taking it.
144586 tn?1284666164
If you don't mind dropping your IQ a couple of dozen points take the gabapentin.

It works, but then again so does hypnosis, acupuncture and a TENS device.

I think the drug stinks.

But then again, I don't work as a pharmaceutical salesman.
Avatar universal

I was just tested positive for Lymes disease that I have been walking around with for all this time. I had a PICC line put in and got IV therapy daily for 28 days. Didn't feel any better. Now I have Chronic Lymes which is very hard to treat. ALSO..I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroidosis(autoimmue destroying my thryoid). Also hypothyroid due to the Hashimoto's. Taking Synthroid now along with my Gabapentin. Have inflammatory arthritis. Now I have to get a lumbar puncture to see if the Lymes went to my brain. Yuk!  My parathesia and gait imbalance probably came from the Lymes but I'm not absolutely sure. My RA Factor is high and my ANA just became low positive.

I have NO idea what's going on with my body!! I'm 59yrs old now and I think I posted here at 57 turning 58.

Thanks everyone!
Avatar universal
I work for a chiropractor as a Massage Therapist.  I have a severely herniated cervical disc that is causing excrutiating pain in my left neck, shoulder, and down into the arm.  I have been to pain management and got an epidural that lasted all of 4 days, and a Rx for Gabapentin 300mg 3x a day & Percocet 10/325 2x a day.  I was having to take the Gaba once every 2 HOURS to keep ahead of the pain curve, since I can't take Percs while working.  The doc changed the Rx to 600mg of Gaba 4 x a day.  I took 2 before getting in bed for sleep... and I'm noticing a lot of involuntary muscle twitches.  Not spasms, they don't hurt, just a jerk of the leg here, a hand twitch there.  I haven't read any place where that is a side effect, though, so I'm wondering about it.  Anyone else have that issue?

Also, about the constipation thing: look online for a product called Natural Calm; I believe it is manufactured by Natural Vitality.  It is a powdered Magnesium supplement, and it works GREAT for keeping you regular!  I had issueswith constipation when I first started the Percs, but I take about 1 tbsp per night and everything stays moving well.  It is also great for leg cramping; most of us have a magnesium deficiency, and it is hard to find in stores.
Avatar universal
On the outside chance someone (like myself!) might be reading this older post looking for info on Gaba: my drug interaction info says to not take any oral magnesium while on Gaba.  I noticed it because I have been using Epsom salts for soaks and wondered if it was also a problem (probably not, but will lay off of them for now).
Avatar universal

Everybody has to tell their respective. Doctors how they feel....and those doctors need to LISTEN!
The drug reps are not doctors......yet tooooooo many doctors rely on questions that the drug reps feel qualified to
The FDA has a phone number to call, and drug.com has a comment section where u can report severe side effects you feel you are getting from any drug.
Too many of the newer meds  side effects  are not reported by the very people that take the medication..

7254644 tn?1389587578
Hello and good day!  I just read your post, looking for some info on Gabapentin.  Have you solved your problem yet or gotten a dx?  I have MS.  Have you been checked for it?  
Avatar universal
Hello, I hope you are still on the forums!
Thank you for responding to my concerns about GABA meds..I am currently taking NONE of them or opiates for pain..I was told my problem was neuropathy pain..it was/is..welllllll!
I saw a neurologist in 2012 as my increasing pain..trigeminal,dysthetic vulvadynia,rectal pudendal nerve pain was getting worse though my pain specialist was increasing gabapentin and opiates..then had taken me from off gabapentin to lyrica....the neurologist added yet another GABA ...the pain was still exploding and my skin was on fire....tripling my opiate dose in 4 months was only making things worse...and I was bedridden....so.....reading about hyperalgesia from Taking more meds caught my eye...I revolted but I think I saved my life!..with my pain specialist's help!..
It took me 9 months to get off all GABA meds and down to 1/10th the opiate dose..
Today, 9 months later I only take excedrine or Tylenol ..I still have pains popping up but not striking jabbing pain....I have opiate meds but I would only take if absolutely necessary short term..something you can't do with GABA meds..
I requested but was not tested for MS or MG because I have no muscle weakness..not an excuse..but I have to use c-pap now and take nuvigil as a sleep study showed sleep apnea with narcolepsy(mild)...I was diagnosed with Autoimmune hypothyroidism in the middle of the pain uprising and am being seen every 4 months by an endocrinologist who has my "numbers" in order but ....my energy, thinning hair, gut problems etc could be from that or my having been on so many meds..
As I gradually took myself off the GABA and opiates my pain had lessened..sharp stabbing pain alleviated.....I could have stopped the opiates much faster than the GABA ...I had tried to stop lyrica in a month but could not so took it slowly..in reading about receptor sites these meds affect....I am lucky to be as active as I am now....I am trying to re-boot my nervous system...
I ask my pain doctor if he would have tried to lower my dose of everything ..when I was so very sick and I never get a straight answer....opiate or GABA  induced hyperalgesia? ..autonomic neuropathy?
I just want better quality life for myself and everybody ! blessings..
Avatar universal
Hi there, it's great to hear a positive outcome and I hope you continue to go strength to strength. Keep your diet 100 percent clean and stay active! Happiness is key! :).  Can I ask if you stayed on for two years and then came off because you felt better? Or did you come off and feel better as a result of that? I have been taking Gapapentin for about 6 months for post surgery knee pain. Recently I have developed tingling in my fingers and feet and suspect it's a reaction to the Gaba. I'm considering coming off to find out. Can I also ask, did you taper of or come off suddenly?

Kind regards

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