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Old 05-19-2008, 03:29 PM   #1
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Question Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

Has anyone been prescribed Neurontin for nerve pain after spinal fusion surgery or just for nerve pain in general? I had a two-level fusion (lumbar) on March 31, 2008 and started having pretty bad nerve pain around 5-6 weeks post-op. I was prescribed Lyrica but the side affects were too overwhelming. I was dizzy, light-headed, had lots of stomach upset, constipation and a 10 lb. weight gain in just 12 short days. I called my surgeon and he said to stop taking it immediately and he wants to try me on Neurontin instead. Has anyone had any experiences with side affects from taking Neurontin? If so, are they similar to Lyrica?

 
Old 05-19-2008, 06:14 PM   #2
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

Hi DAJ, I had fusion of L5-S1 on January 15th of this year. I started on two 100mg of neurontin at bedtime around the eight week mark for bad nerve pain in my legs and feet. I haven't had any side effects from the drug and have found it somewhat useful. I can not compare it to lyrica since I have not taken it. The surgeon wanted me to take it but from reading about it here on the backboard I preferred to try neurontin. As soon as I finish my current rx for it I will be done with all meds. Nerve pain at your stage of recovery is very common since some of the numbing agents used during surgery are starting to wear off. Don't be to worried at this point what you are feeling is normal and I hope the neurontin works well for you. Take care............Debbie

 
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:55 PM   #3
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Wink Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

I began the Neurontin after my 1st fusion (2004) and it has given me at least 90% relief of my nerve pain. What dosage did your Dr. start you on? Mine told me that since some people get side affects, he was going to start me off on a small amount and then quickly up it, until we got it up to the correct dosage. So, I started out taking 300 mg. twice a day and when I got it up to 1200 mg. ea day, it began to work for me. I have been able to stay at that amount for over 2 1/2 years now and love it.

I hope it works as well for you as it has for me.

Lorie
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:15 AM   #4
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

tho lyrica really did help the most with my pain,it also casued me some really dramatic side effects too so i had to go off of it. neurontin is always worth a shot,you just never really know how any med is going to work just for you and your particular pain process ya know?

what i am wondering about is this pain that you have right now(5/6 weeks post op)? did this just start up at this point or was this already there or got worse or what? or was this just kind of still there after your surgery? did you have it before the surgery too? trying to find the cause of this pain if it is indeed new would really be the most beneficial as far as trying to either get rid of it or finding the best possible treatment for whatever is triggering it. just wondering how this started for you. Marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 05-20-2008, 05:22 AM   #5
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

I had surgrer March 28 and i have taken both lyrica and neurontin. Myself i find the neurontin alot better and i havent had any side affects on the neurontin.

 
Old 05-20-2008, 08:07 AM   #6
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

Hi,
I have been on both neurontin & lyrica, currently on lyrica for pem. nerve damage pain in foot & leg. I was on neuronintin 2700 mg a day for over a year, I have severe nerve damage pain and that is the dosage that helped me, it is a rather high dose for most. It gave me horrible groggy feelings, forgetfullness, dizzy and so on, I didnt' even drive during that time frame.

I now take 450 mg a day of lyrica, it has truely given me back my life. I drive now, no groggy feeling, no dizziness. I function much better on the lyrica even tho the dosage I'm on is a bit higher than it should be, I was told it shouldn't be over 300mg a day. I still feel some nerve pain but it's not unbearable and I don't have the side effects that the neurontin gave me.

Good luck on finding something that helps your pain, I hope this works foryou.

God Bless

Carol
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:26 AM   #7
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

Thanks for all the comments. I forgot to mention that I ruptured in L5/S1 in 2003 and 2006 and had lumbar laminectomies both times. Both times I had issues with nerve pain in the right leg ONLY before surgery; after surgery and PT, I returned to normal, no nerve or leg pain at all. The new nerve pain started 5/6 post-op from my 2-level spinal fusion but this time in BOTH legs. I've never had a problem with my left leg at all.

Neurontin and Lyrica seem to have the same side effects from what I've been reading. I can deal with some of them, but the stomach upset and the weight gain, I can not. I was losing weight before surgery and then shortly after all the surgery bloatness went away, I started losing again. Then my dr. put me on the Lyrica and seemingly overnight the 10 lbs. came. Gaining weight at this rapid rate will defeat the purpose of the spinal fusion surgery. I also noticed from reading about Lyrica and Neurontin that most of the females that were prescribed the medications gained weight, while the males did not. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I was only taking .75 mg of Lyrica twice a day. I haven't picked up the new prescription for Neurontin yet (it was just called in today), but since Neurontin appears to have the same side effects as Lyrica, I'm a little bit nervous about taking it.

 
Old 05-23-2008, 11:36 PM   #8
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

I know this post is a few days old but I wanted to respond anyway.

I was put on Neurontin after my first back surgery. After a year, they changed me to Lyrica because my body was becoming immune to neurontin unless I wanted to take a bazillion pills a day (ok ok a bit of exaggeration lol). I gained 16 lbs the first month on Lyrica. After 2 months and 25 lbs later, I said take me off this NOW!!!

I have been on Neurontin ever since. As mentioned, building up the dosage on neurontin is the best thing to do to avoid the side effects. I was in la la land for a week when I first went on Neurontin but the 2nd time we worked our way up to my current dosage and it was a MUCH better experience.

Neurontin has been a godsend for my back and leg pain. I only wish it helped my neck pain.

 
Old 05-24-2008, 07:29 AM   #9
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

one BIG difference between lyrica and neurontin in me anyways was the weight gain thing. wow,being that my body has been kind of 'stuck' in the fight or flight response from sympathetic damage from SCI in 03,i had been losing all my fat and some muscle and it has been EXTREMELY difficult for me to even gain one lb since that mode also tends to speed up your metabolism in some cases up to almost 100%(didn;t know that til recently) i didn;t think anything could possibly make ME gain wieght,but lyrica did,too much actually. i went from around 95-98lbs to about 124 in just a matter of weeks on lyrica. it was very insane for me to even do this at all,believe me. but lyrica did that to me. never ever had even one side effect from neurontin tho(and i mean NOTHING at all) but it also didnt do a whole lot for my pain way back when either. and this was at 3200 mgs. while lyrica did give me some major side effects while on it, but it also did actually help my pain in ways no other med had even come close to before. it sucked to have to go off it.

what will and wont actually work on anyones particular pain process is very much highly individual. the med simply needs to be tried to see how it will work or not work for you and what makes up your pain. just a question for ya. from what you posted,it sounds like you were actually pretty much pain free til recently from a surgery you had like two years ago? is that correct? if this is indeed the case,i would very highly recommend another MRI to really look at that area to see what may have,in some cases actually completely changed in those two years. alot can happen with time and simple wear and tear and age too. and of course the scar tissue thing. i would give any med a good solid try for at least one month just to see how things go. by the end of that much time you would pretty much know either way if this is really helping or not,and if any real side effects have dissipated away for you with time too. hope it helps. marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
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9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 05-24-2008, 10:56 PM   #10
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

I started out on Neurontin for a period of 1 1/2 yrs then I was switched to Lyrica. Lyrica is thought to have less side effects. Well I gained weight on Neurontin but after 9 mos the weight just fell off. Then of course just when I was pleased with the weight loss I was switched to Lyrica. Lyrica made me as hungry as a bear and craving sweets I quickly put all the weight back on. Then my neurologist added Topamax into the mix. Topamax is known to help with weight loss. On the combo of Lyrica and Topamax I loss 8 lbs the first couple of weeks. Eventually I was put back on Neurontin as I didn't care for the Topamax side effects.

For me Neurontin is the best and I take 2100mg. My large bedtime dosage does make me tired and dizzy. These are common side effects. Hopefully after I have been on it for 9 mos or so my body will aclimatize and I will start to lose the 25 lbs I gained. I did not have a change of appetite like Lyrica but still the weight piled on without any change in eating habits. My doctor says the weight gain just happens and they really don't know why.

Neurontin helps my nerve pain better than anything else.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:06 AM   #11
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

I was on Lurica for a while, but did not work well on my pain. I didn't have many side effects (dizziness mostly) though. DR switched me to Neurontin and I got better pain relieve from it. The only thing when he increased my dose a month later i got severe side effects: my legs, feet, hands, face got very swollen and huge.
He immideately stopped and now I am back on Lurica don't even know why. Does not help much.
Very soon I believe he puts me back on Keppra, which worked much better for me with fewer side effects.

 
Old 05-26-2008, 12:15 PM   #12
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

Thanks for all the comments. I FINALLY decided to give the Neurontin a try last night when the nerve pain was just too much to handle -- I've been off of the Lyrica since May 19. My dr. has me taking it three times a day (100 mg. pills) and it's actually the generic form called Gabpentin. Already the lightheadedness, dizzyness, tiredness and stomach upset has kicked in. I will give this a try for a least 10 days to see if the side effects subside. But I will say this, I slept for 4 straight hours last night and that's the first time since I've been home from the hospital (surgery was March 31 and I came home on April 4).

Take care everyone and I'll update in about 10 days or so. Wish me luck!

 
Old 05-27-2008, 07:23 AM   #13
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

glad you at least are giving it a shot. hopefully those side effects will go away with time. sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. just give it a full month run if you can. that amount of time should be able to tell you whether or not it is actually working and also if the side effects hopefully will subside for you. good luck and please keep us posted,Marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 05-27-2008, 08:53 AM   #14
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

You are on a pretty low dosage to begin and you may need to have an increase to get the full benefit. Also the side effects do diminish with time. In the beginning I felt dizzy with even the 100 mg dosage now I take 1500 mg in one dose. Believe me the side effects do lessen.
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:36 PM   #15
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Re: Neurontin instead of Lyrica for Nerve Pain after Spinal Fusion Surgery

I was in extreme pain a few months after my op last year and was put on 900m Gabapentin (Neurontin). All the pain dissapeared after a week but I was so out of it I couldnt even talk and dribbled almost all the time. I finally stopped taking it two weeks ago after tapering it down to 100m since March and the 'cold turkey' was really bad and my brain is still jelly now. No one here in the UK told me there would be any withdrawals but I think thats because it is a relatively new drug here

A Great Painkiller but dont take it for too long or the withdrawals can be frightening

>K<
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