Pain Management Community
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Avatar universal

Gabapentin (Neurontin)

I am a bit worried about taking Gabapentin.....if it starts to work, and I think it might be.....(which is awesome for the day to day life), but when you're not in pain, you can forget that something is wrong! Im worried that I won't push for an answer as hard and/or something will get missed! I don't want to take this band-aid treatment for the rests of my life.....I want to get better!
15 Responses
144586 tn?1284669764
Years ago I was prescribed Gabapentin for spinal injuries. I found that there was a marked degradation in mental ability, memory, and sentience. I am not suggesting you not take this medication, but I would consult a pain specialist for other alternatives. Taking Gabapentin is a sort of Faustian bargain.
Please contact me about gabapentin use n mental problems my doctor won't beluvev me
1415174 tn?1453246703
Hi Sarsi,
I'm glad you have some pain relief. It is good you get some relief from Neurontin. Neurontin did nothing for my pain all it did was make me unable to remember anything and tired. It took me two months to get off of it due to the insomnia I had as I went down on it. I actually felt better after getting off of it. But, I don't have nerve pain. The first doctor assumed I did but it is myofascial pain syndrome. Sounds llike you don't know the cause of your pain yet? How did you get injured or what happened? You do need to break the pain cycle but it depends on what is going on whether you stay on it. I was on it for about 5 months. The best thing for me has been Flexeril and NSAID's. Have you had an MRI and let me know more about your situation...
547368 tn?1440545385
Hello Sarsi,

Gabapentin (brand names Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Neurontin, Nupentin) can be a wonder drug for some ppls pain and just the opposite for others. You state it eases yours.. wonderful. Everyone responds differently to medications. Don't be overly concerned about taking it as long as it does what it's suppose to do.

It should not stop you from "pushing" to get answers. You should pursue a diagnosis with the same passion but now you can do so with less pain.

Forgive me for not remembering the details of your pain and search, I talk to so many ppl. Sometimes there is not a good, specific answer for Chronic Pain (CP). Why it occurs may not be known... but effectively treating it is key.

I am fortunate to know why I have CP however there is no effective treatment for my conditions. So I take medications knowing that they may dull new symptoms but they reduce my pain and make life tolerable.... and often enjoyable. For some CP sufferers this may be as good as it gets. But I may not feel that way if I did not have diagnoses. So just don't lose sight of your goal and enjoy some pain relief while you search.

I hope this helps... please feel free to post again or just vent. We're all in this together.

Avatar universal
Hi! Thankyou for responding to my post about Gabapentin.

To cut a long story short, I suffer from upper abdominal pain for the past 2 years. It is as yet undiagnosed (still). I had my gallbladder removed back in Dec 09 (laprascopically) and this did nothing to help my pain. It is now thought I suffer from sphincter of oddi dysfunction, or some biliary tree disorder.
I have had all the usual tests, ct, mri, endoscopy, ultrasounds, mrcp, etc etc....and all show normal.

To be truthful, I put this post up thinking it was starting to work, but it turned out to be just a couple of mild days as the rest of this week has been terrible.....but I have only been taking the Gabapentin for about a month.....and it has been explained to me that it can take several weeks to start working, and to find the level that is right for you.

So I'm still taking the painkillers to make it through my day :(
Avatar universal
Thankyou for responding to my post.
It was actually the pain management doctor that prescriped me the Gabapentin.
Im sorry that it didn't help you. I haven't noticed any major side-effects. I did notice when I first took it that I felt restless and a bit down in the dumps....but this passed after a few days.
I hope you are managing your pain now.
Avatar universal
Hi Tuck!
Thankyou for responding to my post.
To be truthful, I posted this thinking the Gabapantin was starting to work, but it turned out to be a couple of mild days, as the rest of this week has been really bad!
I understand that it can take several weeks for Gabapentin to start working, and indeed, to find the right dosage level for you! I have only been taking it for about a month now....so still early days :)
I look forward to living without pain. :)
I understand that you talk to a lot of people here, and it is not possible to remember everyone's individual health issues.
I suffer from daily/constant upper abdominal pain. I had my gallbladder removed in Dec 09 (laparascopically) which did nothing to help my pain. I have had all the usual tests, ct, mri, endescope/colonoscopy, endescopic ultrasound.....all normal!
I have numerous blood tests, and sometimes this shows higher than normal liver enzymes, specifically bilirubin......
I have also noticed that I frequently have dark urine, despite how much water I drink.
So it is thought that I may have sphincter of oddi dysfunction or some other similar biliary tree disease. Or, perhaps even scar tissue/adhesion pain from the surgery to top it off as well!
I have seen a different surgeon a few weeks ago, and he was going to review my case history and test results at my hospital (long and drawn out for him unfortunately LOL) and I go back to see him on Monday to see if he has any recommendations or even referrals.....fingers crossed!
I am desperate for a diagnosis! It is so frustratiting to have doctor after doctor say "I don't know what's wrong with you, but keep taking your painkillers!" Grrrrrr
Even the gastro team at the hospital said that.....and refused to to an ERCP as there is a risk of pancreatitis....but this is the test that would definitively see any problems in my bile ducts and sphincter muscles.....sigh
So I keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing!

Anyway, thats enough whining for today
I hope you are all having a good day :)
874521 tn?1424120397
as Tuck mentioned gabapentin is prescribed for nerve pain therefor if your pain isn't nerve related its not going to be of much help...I've been on this med for at least 7 years now, and its been a goodsend for me despite some of the side effects mentioned...as with all medications the proshave to be weighted against the cons. It sounds to me like your doctor is just throwing this out at you in the hopes that something will give you some relief...sometimes too for them thats easier than coming up with a proper dx.
I would think if you hadn't noticed any reduction by now than its not going to be a med that will be of any help, if I remember correctly I felt relief almost immediately..
good luck on your search...bless you♥
Avatar universal
I agree with those that say if it has not helped within a month it probably will not help in the future and you do have to think about the side effects. For me they include what caregiver said. It really affects your mental abilities. Too many times I will be talking to someone and can't come up with the word I want to say. It slows you down as far as where memory is concerned as well. Like too many people say, you have to weigh the pro with the cons. If it helps your pain then it's not that big a deal when you can't think of a word, but when it does nothing for you I can't see why anyone would want to stay on it. It has been a wonder drug for those with nerve pain, but for other pain issues I just can't see how it helps.

I know it must be very frustrating not knowing what is wrong and why you have the pain and where is it coming from. Sounds like you are doing a really good job at being your own advocate. And don't ever think just because a med helps your pain when you don't know where it is coming from means you might stop searching for the diagnoses. You don't seem like that type and most people want to know what is wrong and why, so keep searching. Sometimes it can take doctor after doctor after doctor to get that answer, but you know in your heart the answer you are looking for and what you will settle for. So rest assured and keep being your own advocate. Good Luck.
Avatar universal
Thankyou for your response.....and for recognising that I am my own advocate....sad to say though, that I have had to be! As the doctors don't seem to care......

After reading a few of these comments, and still being in pain after a month of taking it, Im starting to wonder if it will work for me.....I have an appointment back with the pain clinic late June, so I might stick with it until then, and if it is not helping by then, wean myself of it....there's no point taking medications with serious side-effects mentally if there's no benefit....

Thankyou for caring to respond.
Bless you xx
Avatar universal
Thankyou for responding to my query.

As I mentioned above to nurseaudrea, I have an appointment back with the pain clinic in late June.....and if I haven't started to notice any effect with my pain levels, I will start to wean myself off it.....

Thankyou very much for caring enough to respond.
Bless you xx
547368 tn?1440545385
This medication usually begins to be effective several days after ingestion and will peak within one to two weeks. After a month the therapeutic blood levels have been reached. If you have no significant pain relief, unfortunately it probably isn't going to be effective.

It's my guess that your physician is at a loss... and he's trying different medications to judge their effectiveness. If you respond to Gabapentin then, "Ah ha it's nerve pain."  If you don't respond then it's back to square one... other then they have eliminated the possibility that you are suffering from nerve involvement.

I am so very sorry that you have no answers. I know how very frustrating that can be. It took years for me to find the right diagnosis.... and from where I least expected it and when I least expected it. So hang in sweetie... there is hope.

I'll be looking for post following your Monday appointment. Good luck our friend in pain.
Avatar universal
Hi Tuck

I actually had a thought last night, and thought I would run it past the group here and see what people thought.....

It has been suggested previously that I may have two sources of pain. A deep URQ Sphincter of oddi/biliary type pain (as I get the pain radiating into my back, bright coloured/dark urine, and nausea) and also perhaps a scar tissue/nerve entrapment pain from the actual gallbladder surgery back in 09.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been still experiencing severe pain, but it occured to me last night that it has been the more URQ SOD type pain, and not the tight band around my middle type pain (which I find is relieved a lot by heat packs and posture)......so perhaps the Gabapentin is working for the secondary cause of pain after all!

Is it feasable that as both sources of pain are so close together in the same area on my body (upper abdomen), that the brain finds it hard to differentiate between the two, but when one is minimised, the other pain becomes more prominent......

If so, then this is something positive! (apart from the fact I am still in pain daily)

Hopefully the surgeon can provide some plans of attack and/or referrals about this biliary/liver type pain.....fingers crossed and praying hard!
Avatar universal
Hi sarsi,

I'm sorry that I'm late to the party - but I also have been taking Gabapentin and I've just recently quit taking it because of the side-effects.  I just couldn't handle the severe drowsiness and over-all groggy feeling that it gave me.  :(   It helps a lot of people but I just didn't get enough relief to put up with the other effects from it.  

What you said above, is true in a lot of ways.  When I had my RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation) done on my left and right sides of my Lumbar, it stopped the pain and caused what I perceived to be more pain in the middle of my back.  My PM Doctor told me that the reason it felt it had escalated was because the pain from my lower back had ceased and I could now feel the mid-back pain much stronger now.  The lower pain had been the predominant one, covering up the other pain.  He said this happens quite often.  So what you are experiencing could be some of that effect.  Whereas, the pain meds are helping you and now you are feeling the other pain more prominently than you did before.  Our brain can play a lot of games with all of us when it comes to our pain. We have to figure it out, with the help of our Doctor's, and hope that our Doctor's can come up with the answers for us.

I wish you the very best and I'm very happy that you have joined our Forum!!  :)

Best wishes and I'll be looking for more of your updates........Sherry  :)
547368 tn?1440545385
I know when you have two source of pain it can become blurred. At those times you just think "pain" without really trying to define what it is and where it is coming from... at least that has been my experience at times.

However when you are trying to a new medication or treatment (TX) it's important (as you know) that you try to evaluate the pain and effectiveness of the newly introduced TX or med. You might find that keeping a journal will assist you in this process.

Please share with us the results of your surgical consult today. I'll look forward to hearing your update.... and wish you well!!

My Best,
Avatar universal
Hi Tuck

I am happy to report that the surgeon referred me to the senior Gastro-enterologist at my hospital. The referral is through his Office and not the Gastro clinic at the hospital (currently about a 12 month wait) to get things moving quicker.

He feels that I need to investigate further this biliary pain, and feels like an ERCP is really the only option left for this, and perhaps a sphincterotomy of the sphincter of oddi.

So hopefully I will have a diagnosis and treatment soon! :)

On a negative note, the pain got so bad last night I ended up in the ED again for some pain relief.......

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