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gettingthere17: Quitting Gabapentin (pure HELL!!)


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I am trying to taper off of gabapentin and Suboxone. I have not always taken these medications correctly but, now am doing so. I am prescribed gabapentin 800mg tablet 3x daily and Suboxone 4mg once per day (although I take somewhere around 2mg per day). I want to get off of both of these medications so I can really live and not have to wake up every single day needing something to get through the day or to even start the day for that matter.


I am a mother of 4 with a husband and mother I help care for so inpatient treatment programs are not an option and I certainly don't want to spend the next 15 years or so continue with this cycle until they are grown and I have missed out. I started Suboxone in 2010 and Lyrica in 2011 or 2012 and switched to Gabapentin last year when I changed doctors as he said it was "much safer than Lyrica". At first like all meds, it worked great. Then I had to have more to achieve the same effect ( that should have told me this was not a good drug to take). So fast forward to now and I am taking the amount I am actually prescribed which does make me feel better. It is a step in the right direction.


I have a problem though. My doctor canceled my refills that were left in the pharmacy. I want to continue my taper but I know what happens when you quit cold turkey. The suboxone is easy to taper. Much easier than the gabapentin. I taper and then a few days or a week later I can taper more. Most that will happen is I am less talkative than normal and I may keep to myself some as well as small sleep interruptions. Now Gabapentin... the taper has been fine up until now. Now I am getting anxiety (maybe from having no more available to me at the moment) and restless legs at 6-630 every single morning. I used to have to take one at bedtime to sleep well but I figured I would cut that dose out because anything that helps you sleep is a lot harder to quit. I figured if my body could get used to sleeping without anything I would be better off when the real storm hit me.


I have tried magnesium before when I was out of Gabapentin and it worked. I felt really great for a while and then I took a little more once it evened out because not being super into knowing the science behind it all I thought maybe it was wearing off and was so afraid of withdrawal. I think I may have taken too much. I was up all night that night with extreme hot flashes and chills as well as my breathing was slightly off. I didn't really drink any water with it and I read it can make your body toxic if you take too much in too short a period of time and don't drink water. I don't know if that is true or not. I would like to give the magnesium another go because I really REALLY want to stop taking any and all prescription medications. I want to be free. I know mindset has a lot to do with it but there are REAL actual withdrawals symptoms and like I said I have 4 children so I can not afford to lay in bed all day or stay in my room having panic attacks because I stopped taking a medication.


What is the lowest dose one should taper to before they just stop? How much magnesium should I take? I have tapered from taking 4 3 or 4 times a day (way too much! I know! I kick myself for being that dumb!) to taking either 1 3x a day or 1 1/2 two times a day from May until current (mid July) (but I got down to 3 per day towards the end of June)

The Suboxone started out in 2010 taking almost 5 strips a day!!( yes i am amazed I am still alive) down to one strip per day around 2 or 3 years ago and then finally decided enough was enough and started my taper from one a day to 2mg a day 3 months ago. I am not sure if anyone will answer this but I would like some insight and some help here on what to do. Please don't focus on the insane amounts I used to take because I am doing better for myself and family here and now. I just need help making it the rest of the way through the race. The finish line is so close I can taste it!


Also, I have heard things about Niacin helping and calcium as well.. if so are there any specifics about either of them I should be aware of? Like the magnesium has to be chloride not oxide (sp?) in order to be really helpful. I also take Advil p.m. around 10 every single night and since that comes up positive for benzo's ( something I never have really gotten into) in a DT at my doctor's office I imagine that can't be very good for me either.. how well does melatonin work? what about restful legs (OTC)? And I know it was the Advil p.m. because when I stopped taking it for a short while because I just ran out and I didn't need help sleeping Benzo's stopped showing up on my DT and oh yeah!  I don't take benzos.


I really only need some guidance and helpful facts about the more natural way to live my life while still  being able to be a good mama to my kids (who are all young and completely clueless to how stupid their mother is for ever starting this in the first place) I am over weight thanks partially to the gabapentin but I started walking 2 miles a day (half a mile there and half a mile back morning and afternoon) to take my kids to school and pick them up the gabapentin made it impossible for me to lose weight I just stayed the same and I walked every single day for months and did not each very much. Does exercise really help? I also want to apologize for this post kind of being all over the place with thoughts. I have A.D.D. as well but absolutely REFUSE to take any medication for it because I just don't need any more problems and I don't need any more addictions.


I'm not a bad person. I just made poor choices in my 20's. I let others influence me because I was young and nieve. But now I am ready to be older and wiser. So any help at all on these questions would be GREAT! Then maybe when I am completely done with the meds I can pass on my knowledge to someone else in need. The questions are as follows (since they're kind of just mixed in there somewhere)

  • How slow of a taper should I do for gabapentin?
  • How much magnesium should I take and how many times per day to counter act the w/D's from Gabapentin?
  • Does Niacin work? Does Calcium work? If they do any specifics I should know about them?
  • Does exercise really help with w/d?
  • How long do I need to take these individual supplements for before I can either choose to just stop or take one multi vitamin? As in, how long does it take my body to start stocking its own supply of these or will it always be dependant on me taking them in order to make it? (Like I said I wasn't super into Science- English/ Grammar were my things even though you may not be able to tell here in this post) So, any and all help is appreciated GREATLY!


I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and try to stay positive. We are stronger than we know!

Edited by scallywag
isolate each question as a bullet point; previous - Paragraph breaks
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to gettingthere17: Quitting Gabapentin (pure HELL!!)
  • Moderator Emeritus

gettingthere17 -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)


Your doctor cancelled your refills for gabapentin?  Yikes!! Is there any way that you can get a new prescription called in?


Some questions about your recent history with gabapentin:

  1. When did you start taking it?
  2. On what day did you take your last dose?
  3. What was the amount of the last dose?
  4. How many doses per day were you taking?
  5. How many capsules of gabapentin do you have now?


Suddenly stopping a medication that acts on your CNS (central nervous system) is highly inadvisable. It is much better to taper off such drugs gradually. Please read:

Before you begin tapering -- what you need to know.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.

Tips for tapering off Neurontin (gabapentin)


Answers to your questions:

  • We suggest a taper that decreases dose by no more than 10% once per month. (links for more information just above this block of answers)
  • The only known and effective way to reduce withdrawal symptoms is to either hold steady at current dose until your CNS (central nervous system) can catch up to the new dose or to increase dose attentively by small amounts allowing 3-4 weeks for your CNS to "register" the increased dose.
  • Magnesium, niacin & calcium: The only known way to reduce w/d symptoms is to hold steady on your current dose , allow time for symptoms to stabilize then to continue decreases but very gradual ones, less than 10% of your current dose at the time.
  • Exercise can help during withdrawal.  Walking for 30 minutes/day -- exactly what you are doing -- is usually what we suggest.
  • Magnesium and calcium work together for bone strength and counteract each other somewhat in the nervous system -- magnesium can be a relaxant and calcium a stimulant. Members here have found that magnesium is more helpful during withdrawal. Please read: Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker.
  • Our members report mixed experiences on niacin: Vitamin B3, Niacin, Niacinamide
  • I suggest that you consider stopping calcium supplementation for w/d. If you're taking it for other reasons then you'd be best asking whoever advised you to take it.


A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

Lots of questions for you to answer and one thing to do -- your medication history signature.  Please take a few minutes to do the signature -- it helps us help you faster when we can see this information quickly.


I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

Edited by scallywag

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I see Scallywag posted while I was typing. We are like buses, wait for ages then 2 come at once ;)


Hi Gettingthere, welcome to SA.  I apologise for the delay in approving your post, we are all volunteers in all parts of the world so usually there are some of us here most of the time but sometimes we are all away together with life's necessities.  I hope you managed to get a script for the gabapantin, cold turkey of any drug is not recommended! I can't understand doctors sometimes, cancelling a script like that is reckless.  if it is quite recent, it is the last 2 years of drug history which are most important. How are you tapering suboxone? Do you have a taper plan in place?  You need to taper carefully if you want to be free of drugs, rushing leads to failure, as many of us here can testify. ( Myself included ) .  We have topics for all the supplements you have mentioned, we recommend magnesium and fish oil universally and most find them beneficial but as with everything we recommend starting at low doses and increasing gradually. Start one at a time and wait a week before starting another, or making any changes to drug doses. This means that if there are any problems you can easily tell if it is the new supplement that is the cause. I will get some links for you to read, that will advise on the best way to taper. I am not sure if we have a suboxone topic because it is a drug normally prescribed to cross taper opiates. Gabapentin needs tapering like other psych drugs. We ALL wanted off our drugs NOW, but learned that the only way to get off them successfully was a very careful taper. You can be off the drugs and be the momma you want to be while tapering.


 The most important things right now is that you are stable, and in a good place to start your taper. YOu need to be taking the same doses every day for at least a month before you change anything so that your nervous system is as stable as can be. We ask all our members to fill in their signature with their drug history. The most recent (last 2 years) are the most important. You will find instructions here. 



Tapering gabapentin




Tapering psychiatric drugs ( we don't have suboxone topic.)



You will find links to the supplements you mentioned here... 



Edited by mammaP

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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