Hi. Like some of you, I've been on gabapentin quite a while for nerve pain.
And like many of you, I have bad side effects from it, with memory loss, sleepiness, and for me, just the most horrible depression ever., bordering on the suicidal.
I was talking to a gal at the health food section of Top Food and Drug about the drug and wanting to take vitamins and supplements and she printed out a sheet that listed any meds/supplements it interacts with and how it depletes certain nutrients in the body when you take gabapentin. It was quite an eye opener.
Gabapentin depletes the following in your system: biotin, calcium, folic acid, L-carnitine, vitamin A, B12, B6, D, and K.
It said the following may be beneficial to take with gabapentin to reduce the likelihood and or severity of side effects: folic acid, l-carnitine, B12, D and K.
Folic acid was listed as possibly helping the med to work better. It did say too that taking folic acid WITH the supplement (at the same time) is dangerous, so I called the pharmacist and he said it was fine as long as I didn't take anything within 2 hours of the gabapentin.
It did say not to take these supplements (the pharmacist said ANY really) within two hours of taking gabapentin. You shouldn't take any supplements within two hours of taking gabapentin, especially magnesium and calcium and folic acid. So be aware of that. That really goes for any med. He said the magnesium and calcium bind to the drug reducing its efficiency.
So, in my reading about nerve pain, I came across acetyl L-carnitine of all things as possibly helping relieve nerve pain, so I started taking it, remembering what I'd read about how gabapentin depletes it, and on the first does, guess what? My brain felt a whole lot better. It hasn't helped my pain, but it has lifted much of the depression that I think is caused by the gabapentin. the suicidal thoughs evaporated on the first does. I could tell my brain was just way out of sync.
So...as you know the B vitamins are especially helpful to nerve health, and these being depleted is not good. So I also take a Bcomplex daily. The good news too is that though the gabapentin increased my appetite, the B complex and the acetyl L-carnitine have brought it down! My guess is that my body was low on nutrients from the gabapentin and eating was a way of trying to get those! Because my brain screamed at me the first time I took gabapentin, "Eat or you'll die!"
I should note that I read to take acetyl L-carnitine, not just the l-carnitine, because it absorbs better in the body I think. It's harder to find than regular L-carnitine, but Walmart has it cheapest. It's an amino acid. the other amino acid that is supposed to act just like gabapentin for nerve pain is L-glutamine. I started that this week. No luck yet. We'll see.
So, hope that helps guys. I would look this info up yourself and not rely on me for medical direction.
I am off on a nutrition approach to this nerve pain due to the hernitated disk, and will pop in and share on occasion. I want to give my body the nutrients it needs to heal and stay alive. And as you know, the fog and depression and blahs from the med are just horrible. I'd go off it, but my pain is a 10 and I can't tolerate Lyrica so hence, the horrible gabapentin that is now much less horrible. It took me 5 months to get used to gabapentin and still, after a year on it, I was having trouble til I took the acetyl L-carnitine. My memory is still poor, but I am thinking clearer.
Anyways, I will take acetyl L-carnitine for the rest of my life. It is a godsend for me anyways.
I am following the book "The Pain Cure" by Sing Khalsa and in it he lists which supplements to take at what doses if you are curious. My doctors agree it's a fabulous book. Unfortunately, no doctor I've found so far does supplements so I am doing this on my own with the book and I want to do it safely.
Oh, I started on 5-HTP too, and that also helped the pain right away. chronic pain causes lack of serotonin, and serotonin is crucial to closing the pain gateway and keeping the pain down. I'm having some luck, guys. It's worth investigating and trying.
Thanks for this info. Even though many years later, it still is relevant... I used to take gabapentin for pain of fibromyalgia and for sleep. For several years. Then there was an order from the insurance I guess that it could not be prescribed for than anymore, so I went off of it. Now I have a doctor who can get around the codes so I can take it again, but I can't remember exactly what it was like.
In the last 8 years or so I lost about 30 of the extra pounds I had gained in the previouse several years. I can't remember the exact correspondence of the weight gain with what drugs I was taking.
Anyway I still have the pain and trouble sleeping and want to try this again, so I will also add in the acetyl l carnitine. I used to take it also, but stopped because all I could find were the 500 mg capsules and that was too much for me
Now I find they have the lower doses available and at less cost also...
Wow! Thanks for the info. I have been taking Gabapentin for a year and a half now. I am currently on 2700 mg a day. I just had my second spinal fusion surgery 6 days ago and I have permanent nerve damage- pain and numbness. The doc told me it would most likely be permanent because of how bad the compression was when they cut me open. The side effects don't bother me so much (sleepiness and some dizziness), but I do have terrible memory loss and I'm betting it is from the gab after reading your post. The memory loss has been scaring me because I also get chronic migraines and I have wondered occasionally if I have a brain tumor or something I also have noticed since I started taking it again last month that my appetite is HUGE. I had no idea it was from the gab. Thats okay though because I need to gain weight.
Could it also possibly cause your potassium to drop? I have been in the hospital twice since last summer due to dangerously low potassium. One time I was going into cardiac arrest and had to be put on oxygen. They had a hard time stabalizing me. Also, when I went in for surgery last Saturday they drew blood and discovered my potassium was low AGAIN. They almost didn't do surgery but decided to go ahead with it and start potassium intraveiniously. It took 5 bags to get my potassium up to 3.6, when 3.5 is the minimum of normal. I have just had a hard time keeping it up for the last year. It has been low many times when I wasn't hospitalized for it. Maybe one of the other nutrients it depletes can deplete potassium. I'm just curious because it is a huge mystery to me as to why I cab't keep my potassium up.
That is also very helpful advice about not taking supplements within 2 hours of taking Gab. I take Calcium and a prenatal vitamin (not pregnant), and I also take my last 900 mg dose of Gab at night. Not at the same time but I'm betting within 2 hours.
I will say though that Gab helps with my anxiety. I have anxiety and depression (have had depression for 14 years- anxiety began as a result of my spine issues). When I am taking Gab I don't feel anxiety at all. I talked with my psychiatrist about it and he confirmed that Gab does help with anxiety. They actually prescribe it to people for anxiety who can not have controlled substances such as valium or ativan because they have a history of drug or alcohole abuse.
I just don't understand why doctors would prescribe it if it was this dangerous. My doctors know everything I take, including my OTC meds and supplements. But I am definitely bringing this up to him.
Thanks for your post!
I am a 54 year old male who has a incomplete spinal fusion & was place on neurontin, 16 years ago, and I am still on it. I was also diagnosed with Fibro 13 years ago. I take 2400 mg of neurontin. I have gotten so used to the odd dreams and the somethimes not being able to tell if something actually happened or if I dreamt it.
[B][FONT="Arial Black"][SIZE="3"]BEFORE, I WOUlD TAKE ADVICE FORM SOMEONE IN THE HEALTH FOOD STORE, WHO BASICLY HAS LITTLE OR NO TRAINING. I WOULD TAKE THE PRINTOUTS THAT WERE GIVEN TO ME , AT THE HEATH FOOD STORE AND TAKE THEM TO A RHEUOTOLOGIST & MY OTHER DRS.[/SIZE][/FONT][/B]
In fact, I was part of the orginal off label study, of the use of Neurontin for general pain, for Parke Davis, (who orginally developed and sold it, until they were caught by the FDA marketing it for pain, which is still an off label use, (Nuerontin is only approved for epislepsy, which is rare enough to classify it as an orphan drug, meaning it will never go off patent and the rx company can charge mega bucks for it.
The fine form the FDA was so huge, that Parke Davis litterally went out of business, it placed itself for sale and Pfizer bought out Park Davis, they then used on going research on Nuerontin and changed the location of several molocules within the chemcial structure of Nuerontin. That is how Lyrica came to be.
If at any time Nuerontin was approved for general pain, it would have lost it's orphan drug status at once, and go geneneric. A general rule of thumb for RX patents, the patent is appoved while the rx research is on going, The approval process takes approx 7 years, thus giving the RX firm 7 years to have rip off pricing, then it goes generic.
This way, Pfizer, did not get approval for nuerontin for general pain, until Lyrica was approved and ready for the market place. Pfizer sought approval fot nuertonin for genral pain, which meant it's orphan rx status ended, and it went generic.
Which is great b/c at one time, my monthly rx costs were over $1300 a month, most of that cost was for nuerontin. That caused my nuerontin costs to plunge to $4 a month, that is right $4 a month. My drs. discussed with me changing to Lyrica forn nuerontin, and we all decided not to. In order to do so, it it done over many months, with you dropping the level of intake and blood level of Nuerontin while you slowly increase the use of Lyrica. Pfizer warned my drs and I that it would more than likely lead to a huge uptick in pain until I was completley swtichedto Lyrica and my blood levels of Lyrica, reached a certain point.
Regardless of what Pfizer has stated that the number of patients showing side effects, is very low. However, both my Cranial base surgeon/Nuerosurgon and my Rhuemotologist both tell me the number of patients having side effects form lyrica is almost the same. They feel it was noto worth the risk of having me deal with horrendius pain, until the lyrica would kick in and there would be no gauarentee that I would not just have less side effects, that it woudl hep with my pain levels at all)).
BTW, I do take supplements, but I only take things that my Rheumotologist approves me taking. My Dr. is very open minded about vitiams and supplements and keeps up with all of her reading and research. However, I would not put too much trust in "some guy that works in a health food store", who prints up a list for you.
BTW, there is a great deal of contoversy about Neurontin effecting serotion levels, as an antidepresent would. The bottom line, is no one knows exactly why nuerontin or lyrica helps with general pain.