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camperboy 07-26-2007 02:41 PM

Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Hey all,

First, thanks to all for your prompt response to my other posts!

I saw my doctor yesterday and we discussed my ongoing back problems. I have been taking vicodin for almost 2 years and really need to wean off it. I was taking morphine sulfate which works but makes me really groggy and out of it.

I brought up Lyrica (which I had heard was good for nerve pain) and my doc said that something similar was worth a shot, so she prescribed gabapentin. [B]Does anyone have any experience taking gabapentin for sciatic pain?[/B] I just started yesterday and it takes a while to work, but just wondering if anyone has any thoughts about using gabapentin or any other nerve-pain/anti-seizure drug for sciatic pain. The goal here is to get the sciatic pain under control to the point where I can work and cut down on vicodin while I wait for a spot on the operating table.


Round1 07-26-2007 03:01 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Is that another brand name for neurontin? Goggle it and see on the web.

Think it is,

round 1

ms_west 07-26-2007 04:23 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Yes it is the same thing. I just started this yesterday myself. Last night was the first night I have slept in ages. There are several people here on the board that are taking it or have taken. I hope that by trying this myself I can get off of my narcotics and get some much needed nerve relief.

Good luck and I pray it works for both of us.

chatterboxsd 07-26-2007 04:33 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Hi, Diet. I took neurontin (gabapentin) for nerve pain for about 6 months. It really helped for a while - especially sleeping. Then it seemed like it didn't help so much, either my condition got worse or the medication wasn't working so well. Who knows. I also put on a LOT of weight on it. I knew this was common and watched my intake meticulously and gained anyway. I think it does something to your metabolism. I gained about 20 lbs. I know you've been working on that, so if this side effect happens maybe have a game plan in mind.

I just started Topamax about 10 days ago. It's in the same category as neurontin. It is helping. I wouldn't say it's a miracle, but I'd say my pain is reduced 25% so far. When I talked with my pain dr. he mentioned neurontin, lyrica, and topamax and he felt topamax was the better one to try just because of the weight issue. I've lost 10 lbs. so far and I really don't want to go up again. I really try to take care of myself and we all know extra weight is the last thing our back need. He agreed. So, here I am.

I'm having an ESI tomorrow at the same level as my surgery on the other side. Hopefully that grumpy nerve will calm down.

Let us know how you do. Best to you!
- Margaret

Arthr Itis 07-26-2007 04:41 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
I've been on neurontin for what seams like forever. Probably three or four years. Yep it does do a number on the waistline. It's had other silly little side effects that made me think I was loosing whats left of my mind. They aren't listed but a PA told me about them. If she wasn't married and a few years too young......!

camperboy 07-26-2007 06:12 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
[QUOTE=123dietdrpepper;3121164]Yes it is the same thing. I just started this yesterday myself. Last night was the first night I have slept in ages. There are several people here on the board that are taking it or have taken. I hope that by trying this myself I can get off of my narcotics and get some much needed nerve relief.

Good luck and I pray it works for both of us.[/QUOTE]

Thanks! I'm pretty hopeful about this medication 'cuz I've heard it works well on the stabby stuff. Unfortunately, my sciatica has been light on the numbness and tingling and heavy on the pain. I'll need an operation eventually no matter what but hopefully this'll make the time a little easier to bear and will let me work on a regular basis.

Thanks guys for your comments!


pooby 07-26-2007 07:23 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Well I have was on Gabapentin for a year up to 1600 mg at bedtime. Then I was on Lyrica 375 mg a day. Then Lyrica and Topamax and now I am back on Gabapentin and Topamax combo....whew. Hmmm. does it give pain relief?? like nothing else I have taken. These drugs target nerve pain like nothing else. Narcotics just don't compare.

The important thing with these seizure meds is to get the dosage right. If the dosage is too low you will not get good results but it will take time to get you up to the dosage that may do you the most good. Gabapentin does cause dizziness and sleepiness especially during the first week or so but then it does slowly wear off. Weight gain is another side effect that you may experience without an increase in food consumption. I did gain 20 lbs but then after 9 months the weight just dropped off with no change in eating habits.

Lyrica is an improved version of gabapentin with less side effects but for me the sedative side effects of gabapentin were beneficial at bedtime. Lyrica made have a verocious appetite. I was starving all the time. No wonder I gained weight.

Topamax has it's own set of side effects weight loss being one. Pop tastes metallic and my hands tingle constantly. Also Topamax has the nickname of Dopamax and can have serious cognitive side effects for some people.

Good luck and I hope that you are one of the lucky ones that don't have any serious problems with these drugs and that you get some good pain relief.

God bless.

syrinx2112 07-26-2007 09:44 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
I have been taking Neurontin (Gabapentin) now for about a month. It does take a while to feel any difference in terms of the pain. When I had a huge reduction in my pain 80-90%, I thought..hey I can do this that and the other thing. Stupid. I was in so much pain for a week or so. I have been watching what I do now and find that I am not taking nearly as much painkiller as I was prior to Neurontin. There are the side effects, but everyone is different. I hope it works for you.


obiemsue 07-27-2007 05:46 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Hi, I was surprised to read that you were taking both Gabapentin AND Topamax, I have just been prescribed the Topamax, and my doc, said I have to taper off the Gabapentin and then start on the Topamax. It sounds like the 2 together are providing you with good relief. I too gained about 20 pounds on gabapentin, and when I asked the my doctor about weight gain as a side effect, she seemed stumped. What is the deal with these doctors acting as if they don't know what the side effects of these meds are?

pooby 07-27-2007 08:17 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
I fortunately have the a neurologist that is an authority on pain management and on the use of these drugs. My family doctor was the one that originally started me on gabapentin but the specialist is the one that has combined my medications to find the best mix.

Weight gain is a very well known side effect of these meds although in the case of Lyrica it was not acknowledged in the beginning. Just take a look around the net and you will read countless reports of weight gain. Believe me it is true. Weight gain WITHOUT change in eating habits does occur. My specialist has stated this is most certainly true. They just don't know the reason why this happens.
Some type of metabolic change does take place. Just because the medical profession does not know the exact cause does not mean that it doesnt exit.

ms_west 07-27-2007 09:14 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Interesting my doc says weight gain does not happen in all people.

pooby 07-27-2007 10:00 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
No weight gain does not happen in all people that is true.
It was explained to me in this way as I posted in a previous post.

Group 1 Gain no weight

Group 2 Have large increase in appetite and as a result have weight gain

Group 3 Have no increase in appetite nor do they consume more calories but they do gain weight. The reason for this is unknown.

This guy is an expert in his field and I have to believe him.

ms_west 07-28-2007 04:17 AM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Pooby that is what my doc was saying as well. Basically, meds affect each patient differently. Personally, I don't want to gain any weight. I just worked very hard to lose 20 lbs.

This morning my hands are very swollen which happened with the elavil. I will continue on the meds but if they continue swelling I will be calling the doctor.

camperboy 07-29-2007 04:08 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Well, 5 days on gabapentin and I seem to be doing okay. Had a marked increase in both sleepiness and appetite, both of which are good for me right now. Have slight headaches and a little dizziness on occasion but nothing horrible. I know it's gonna take a while to feel the effects - somebody said a month? Hope the swelling goes away for you, pepper... they told me to watch out for that but I've been lucky. Thinking good thoughts for you!


Fiona_Jo 07-29-2007 10:59 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
I've taking neurontin/gabapentin for nerve related pain and migraines and it's worked wonders for me. I know people are different and have different experiences with medication - for me it's been a wonder drug and extremely helpful. To be able to take a medication that helps control my migraines AND helps with nerve pain is INCREDIBLE!!

As far as weight gain goes I had been feeling so awful before I started gabapentin that I had lost weight and was having trouble keeping weight on. I do recall an increased appetite which was actually good for me and I did have some bloating (I could tell by how my rings were fitting). But, I just drank lots of water - which I think is important anyway and I didn't have ANY weight gain and the bloating went down.

~ Jo :angel:

camperboy 07-30-2007 12:02 AM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
I might as well ask... how long did it take y'all to really feel the effects? I'm starting on 300mg and working up to 900mg over the next week or so. Thanks for all your great answers!


pooby 07-30-2007 05:50 AM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
I didn't have that much success until I reached the 1600mg level taken all at once at bedtime. My pain comes when I lie down so that my daytime pain was never the issue but my nightime pain was unbearable. You should be getting some relief over the first couple of weeks but perhaps not to the degree that you will eventually experience as the drug builds up in your system. This is not a drug that you use as you need. It has to be taken all of the time and the dosage has to be at the appropriate level.

You will know it when it begins to work because the change usually is dramatic. Remember it does not work for back pain only for leg pain. It is strictly for referred nerve pain.

camperboy 07-30-2007 05:45 PM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Thanks for the info. I may have to get my doc to up the dose, but we'll see how 900mg goes.

I must say I'm excited and hopeful :) . Epidural injections have not worked, a lot of the narcotics I tried had uncomfortable side effects. The vicodin works pretty good, but I've been taking it for nearly 2 years and I'm definitely building up a tolerance to it. Morphine works but I get REALLY dopey.

I've had a little pain at the site of the disc problem but almost all of my pain has been sciatic pain - mostly in the glute and the outside of my calf. So again I'm really hopeful about this! But we'll see.


barbie62 07-31-2007 12:51 AM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Hi Davey, I have been on Gabapentin for around 7 months. My dose just keeps getting increased. I have extreme nerve pain in my right leg from RSD and failed back syndrome. Anyway, I take 600 in the am, 600 in afternoon, around 5, depending on when I get up and then I have just added another one in the evening and I take 1200 and bedtime. So I guess that is in 3000 mg's a day. I also take methadone, blood pressure med, depression med and dilaudid for break thru. The main problem I have is the sleepyness. I was not able to stay awake at first. It has taken me this long to be able to stay awake most of the day. Of course I take alot of meds so it is hard to say what is causing my side effects. I have no appetite but I think that is not due to the gabapentin. I know that when I forget a dose my pain gets worse. That is how if figured out it was working because all of my pain is not gone and it never will be. I will always be on some sort of pain management.
I hope this helps you with your siatic pain. And yes it does take some time to get the full effect. So don't give up on it.

Take Care,

camperboy 07-31-2007 02:40 AM

Re: Gabapentin for sciatic pain?
Hey Barbara... I noticed the sleepiness is starting to diminish a little, I've had to "adjust" to meds before so I know the drill. Wow, sounds like a lot of meds, but I think I'll be up there with you some point soon... I'm going to have to go on a statin for cholesterol (it's hereditary) in addition to my SSRI and the gaba. All these meds do something to me but the tradeoff is worth it, I guess. I'd rather be a little sleepy than crawling on my hands and knees to the bathroom. But, we'll see how it goes.

Take care!


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