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Barbarannamated

MD in Western PA on mission to cold switch all benzodiazepines to gabapentin / Neurontin

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Barbarannamated

Just spoke with my sister in Western PA hometown where psych care is worse than most with no continuitity of doctors. Apparently, there is a new doc in town who is on a mission to rid the area of all benzodiazepines by cold switching to gabapentin. My sister was on 3 mg of clonazepam and switched to gabapentin (not sure of dose). She went into a bad spiral on top of her abuse of barbiturates. That was a few months ago and she's since gotten back on clonazepam (and Paxil 40mg) and seems stable compared to how I've heard her in past.

 

I don't know if this is a renegade doctor, but thought I'd post in case this is some new marketing or addiction industry approach.

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compsports

Hmm, since most drug companies instruct doctors to not cold turkey off of a med, wouldn't she be violating the standard of care? Wow is all I can say.

 

Did your sister have to switch to someone else to get back on clonazepam?  That is scary.

 

CS

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Marie

The "doctor" sounds dumb to me. Gabapentin is not a benzo, but docs often offer it as adjunct help with tapering.

 

And the "good" news is that it doesn't always help with withdrawl sx, and it is another "brain med" that requires a taper to get off of.

 

Some people, however, do find it helpful for painful nerve sx, while others do not. And the tapers also vary for people from easy to extremely difficult.

 

My doctor wrote me an Rx for it last year for nerve pain associated with trying to withdraw off clonazepam. I filled it, but have not used it.

 

It's also a drug that one might find being used in a benzo detox as it's used for seizure control. Geez, could we ever get some doctors who understand any of these drugs since they literally throw them at people?

 

I admit to not being totally clear on gabapentins true uses, and several years back, i used to call it a drug in search of a disease as i saw a co-worker having it Rxed for migraines. Since then, "they" seem to have narrowed it down to seizure control and nerve pain management.

 

Well, thank goodness. Wouldn't want a "viable" drug to go to waste would we as there's money to be made.

 

Marie

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GiaK

shoot...this sort of thing is so messed up...I wrote about a similar phenomena a while back...

 

they get it in their heads that the way they've been prescribing is dangerous but then make issues much much worse...it's infuriating and of course far too common...

 

I wrote about Kentucky taking people off benzos...and the potential problems...

if interested it's here:

 

Shrinks get patients hooked on drugs and then cut the cord http://beyondmeds.com/2011/09/16/clinicxanax/

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Barbarannamated

Hmm, since most drug companies instruct doctors to not cold turkey off of a med, wouldn't she be violating the standard of care? Wow is all I can say.Did your sister have to switch to someone else to get back on clonazepam? That is scary.CS

CS, She did have to get clonazepam from different doctor but there is a revolving door of docs through the area and people in the government funded psych clinics rarely see same doc 2x in a row. Even the pharmacist was shocked by the abrupt change happening to many people. I suspect the thinking is that gabapentin is an ok change because they are both related to GABA and gabapentin might theoretically protect against seizures from too rapid DC of benzos. Gia's article explains it much better!

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Altostrata

This is a doctor who has an idiosyncratic theory about gabapentin. Eventually, she will get so many complaints, she'll stop.

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GiaK

I'm not sure it's idiosyncratic...it's done a lot in "addiction" medicine...gabapentin for benzos. 

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Barbarannamated

I'm not sure it's idiosyncratic...it's done a lot in "addiction" medicine...gabapentin for benzos.

Addiction medicine/ specialists scare the s**** outa me. Much more than psychiatrists. Scare tactics, incentive and brainwashing to use drugs (SS/NRIs, neuroleptics, anticonvulsants, etc) we know to be much harder to discontinue than the "addictive drugs" they are DCing. ***Shudder***

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Zoe

My nurse practitioner told me that they were using Gabapentin for hot flashes also. I was switched from xanax to gabapentin. Thank you for letting us know that that one needs to be tapered also. 

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Altostrata

Yeah, maybe she read this: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/804740 

Trends in Prescription Drug Abuse: 'Bridging Medications'Michael G. O'Neil, PharmD May 28, 2013 QuestionOutside of approved traditional opioid maintenance programs, I've heard that some drug addicts are using prescription drugs for "bridging." What is this practice, and which prescription drugs may be involved? ....Opioid withdrawal is frequently characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, tachycardia, sweating, abdominal cramping, and muscle cramping. Although none of these symptoms are life-threatening by themselves, in combination with other comorbidities, such as heart disease or seizure disorders, they may lead to poor outcomes. Benzodiazepine withdrawal has a higher incidence of risk. Common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to seizures, high anxiety levels, agitation, tremors, paranoia, muscle cramping, diaphoresis, and tachycardia. Active addicts experiencing withdrawal from an opioid or benzodiazepine agree that it is a miserable experience frequently causing several days of complete incapacitation. These distressing physiologic and emotional effects may result in bridging behavior. Minimizing the effects of drug withdrawal becomes almost as critical as obtaining the high.....Benzodiazepine addicts use other agents to bridge their highs. Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant agent that has many medical uses but is commonly used to treat neuropathic pain. Gabapentin has not been recognized as a drug of abuse owing to its nonscheduled drug status, but reports of abuse have surfaced. Because of its sedative and anxiolytic properties as well as its intermediate half-life, gabapentin is used by active addicts to minimize withdrawal effects from benzodiazepines.....

 

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Needmylifeback

I also do not think this is an isolated dr. This is exactly what happened to me this year!!

 

After suffering pain from several broken bones which spent years not healing bc the drs at the ER and hospital missed the brain trauma that cut my pituitary stem.... I no longer make any GH. So sores on my body (reactions to naproxen) lasted more than two years until someone figured out what was wrong and began GH injections.... Then my skin and finally my bones healed. I was still dealing with the long term effects of having a shattered hip for more than two years and the damage to my IT band, trochanteric bursa, SI joint, lumbar region, etc..... While my ex began bogus modifications of our decree when I was still in traction in the hospital... And continued throwing legal crap at me as I was trying to find my way thru the physical healing. That's when the drs placed me on Xanax.

 

But this past year spring 2013, the head of the clinic decided ALL patients on benzos had to be switched. I was able to convince my dr not to switch things right away but by Sept he said he had to. Enter buspar and my liver shutting down.

 

Now I have to wean buspar down before I can begin to deal with the Xanax. The buspar was causing dangerously toxic liver problems.

 

Someone somewhere has written something that these drs are all having a knee jerk response to.

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Altostrata

There's been more publicity recently about benzos being part of the addiction to prescription drugs epidemic, along with oxycontin and other painkillers.

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beconscious

The sooner benzos are pulled off market, and production ceased, the better.  When family members or friends reveal that doctors have handed them a prescription for benzos I sit them down to a 15 minute discussion on what these can do to you, and how your body and mind will respond. 

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btdt

 

Yeah, maybe she read this: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/804740 

Trends in Prescription Drug Abuse: 'Bridging Medications'Michael G. O'Neil, PharmD May 28, 2013 QuestionOutside of approved traditional opioid maintenance programs, I've heard that some drug addicts are using prescription drugs for "bridging." What is this practice, and which prescription drugs may be involved? ....Opioid withdrawal is frequently characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, tachycardia, sweating, abdominal cramping, and muscle cramping. Although none of these symptoms are life-threatening by themselves, in combination with other comorbidities, such as heart disease or seizure disorders, they may lead to poor outcomes. Benzodiazepine withdrawal has a higher incidence of risk. Common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to seizures, high anxiety levels, agitation, tremors, paranoia, muscle cramping, diaphoresis, and tachycardia. Active addicts experiencing withdrawal from an opioid or benzodiazepine agree that it is a miserable experience frequently causing several days of complete incapacitation. These distressing physiologic and emotional effects may result in bridging behavior. Minimizing the effects of drug withdrawal becomes almost as critical as obtaining the high.....Benzodiazepine addicts use other agents to bridge their highs. Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant agent that has many medical uses but is commonly used to treat neuropathic pain. Gabapentin has not been recognized as a drug of abuse owing to its nonscheduled drug status, but reports of abuse have surfaced. Because of its sedative and anxiolytic properties as well as its intermediate half-life, gabapentin is used by active addicts to minimize withdrawal effects from benzodiazepines.....

 

 

It was given to me with mirapex ... 

can't recall if that was just before or just after I quit effexor... I know both were given by a neurologist and I could not tolerate either... 

 

A friend of a friend came out of an opiate withdrawal center a few years back he had a few new drugs to keep him on the wagon including this one... he lifted up his pant leg to show us all how his muscles were twitching ... I could see the nerves in his leg jumping like there was something under the skin moving around.. withdrawal centers scare the crap out of me too...no faith at all after seeing that.  He has not done well since. 

 

Another f of f.  is diabetic... was given this for neuralgia had a psych reaction to it drove his car into the ditch to prove to his wife that she should have faith in God ... I am not kidding this really happened.  I suggested to this friend who is a nurse that she ask the wife to tell the doc who gave him this drug that he may be having side effects... but who knows what went on... and if that is good advice as the doc may up the anti not knowing side effects and give him something worse

 

It is a hard call other than advising people to get clean do it slowly it is not safe to recommend anything even going to a doctor can be dangerous to your health...depending on the doc and what he believes.  He is older and retired he believes everything the doctors says and would take any drug suggested... I feel so sorry for the older people who are not computer literate and trust their doctors and drugs.  

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btdt

There's been more publicity recently about benzos being part of the addiction to prescription drugs epidemic, along with oxycontin and other painkillers.

Priming the market to sell more SNRI to treat pain. 

That is what I see... how about a way to stop the pain as from my experience with SNRI for pain control they are a night mare... totally not the way to go. 

When other drugs get a bad rap and there is no place else to go you can bet this is where they are headed. 

At my last visit my one doc a pain specialist went thru a list of drugs he could suggest... 10 maybe 15 drugs... 

 

did it did it did it.. nope know too much about it ... nope can't take it... that is how it went... 

 

Thank god for physio therapists. 

I would rather take a small dose of an opiate and take my chances... go back to the serotonin snake pit... 

I said to him the pain is in my body not my brain.. leave my brain alone I need it. Sadly the focus is on treating the censors in the brain so you don't notice the pain as much.. tones it all down including your 

memory feelings well you all know the list.

 

It is not an appropriate or legitimate treatment in my mind. 

With little done in the way of research on new drugs this is what you will find making as much as they can off the drugs they have.

We know the effects of these drugs on lives... it does not matter what they are trying to treat the effects are the same. 

Bad enough to have pain but to have pain and a new drug induced psych issue ... just not appropriate like I said already. 

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Cryptopsy

I never knew how bad Benzos were until I read this thread.

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Marie

Yeah, benzos are "not good." Ive got real life experience there. Just read my signature. It is not a "pretty one," And Ive recently added a new one to benzo buddies that is really much more up to the moment. I wouldn't recommend a benzo to my worst enemy just from my experience alone. But Im one individual here, and from what I read, these benzos do have a function in many cases for people, so when people suggest they should be taken off the market, I have some thoughts about that also.

 

First of all, Klonopin (the one Im on) is regularly used for seizure control in hospitals when one is seizing uncontrollably. Well, that's what Ive been told from a friend who is a nurse. And there are many other instances where, medically speaking, they are used. They are also used to taper someone off of alcohol in an alcohol detox. And this does work as I have a family member who went through this, and he has successfully stayed off alcohol for 2 years now and is not addicted to any benzo. And Im just not well versed in all the uses, but they are there.

 

Secondly, when ever someone just blatantly suggests that all benzos should be banned and taken off the market immediately, will they please come up with a good plan that doctors and recovery personnel recognize and approve of and will use? I mean, seriously, just banning these drugs outright right now will leave many people who are dependent/addicted (whichever you prefer, although Iatrogenic addiction is the preferred terminology). And that means that one become dependant because they followed their doctors recommendations to use the drugs continuously to treat some malady like anxiety and sleep issues, but it could also be other problems also. So, they listened to their doctor, who then wrote Rxes, and they filled them like dutiful patients, and then became dependent. So before we just ban these outright, could those of us who have become dependent please have that plan so we don't have to experience a major CT or go to a detox center?

 

Well, these are my thoughts on this subject. If youre not on a benzo, you most likely do not know all the implications, side effects, and that getting off of them requires a taper of some sort just like ADs and APs do, and these tapers are no fun just as with other psych meds.

 

And yes, w/o doubt, gabapentin has been used for many "ailments" including hot flashes, It was being used by JoAnn E. Manson, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School for this as written in her book, which I have, "Hot Flashes, Hormones, & Your Health," for several sx of menopause.

 

And I do happen to think that there are plenty of "brain meds" as I call them that do require a taper to get off of them. Not everyone will need this Im supposing, but many people will. So therefore, I would always taper Neurontin/gabapentin if I were going to take it.

 

Marie

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Meimeiquest

The story of my over-medicated mother-in-law amazes me. She started on an AD in the late '80's. Added lorazepam for insomnia maybe 20 years ago. Had all sorts of meds added due to anxiety and depression, especially when her husband descended into dementia, which she now has mildly.. Stopped Xanax after 3 fender benders. Her list was something like Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Celexa, gabapentin, lorazepam. A little over a year ago she moved and new dr. said her cocktail was unbelievable and senseless and he started pulling drugs. He did it "very slowly" over about SIX months, took her off everything but Lexapro, added Trazadone for insomnia...and she did not have one whit of difficulty with the changes. Which makes me feel very weird.

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Rhiannon

 

There's been more publicity recently about benzos being part of the addiction to prescription drugs epidemic, along with oxycontin and other painkillers.

Priming the market to sell more SNRI to treat pain. 

That is what I see... how about a way to stop the pain as from my experience with SNRI for pain control they are a night mare... totally not the way to go. 

When other drugs get a bad rap and there is no place else to go you can bet this is where they are headed. 

 

 

 

I bet you're right. Benzos are all available as generics now, so they're not as profitable as the newer SNRIs and other drugs (like Abilify) that are still under patent.

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Utahgal

Gabapentin is great if you can get away with it. I couldn't! No one ever told me that I could become dependent on it. I went into severe withdrawal trying to get off 300 mgs. Thankfully I found this site and Rhi and Alto have been helping me. I'm finally down to 200 mgs after 4 months of tapering, 10 mgs at a time. Gabapentin has been a nightmare for me.

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hacilar

Benzos are 'worse than heroin'- this is a direct quote from a Dr. who I can't (natch) recall.  I've been reading gobs about all this online when I get a connection.  Some people have very little difficulty getting off the benzos, but there are thousands and thousands and thousands of us who will apparently go thru hell for months/years...our brains have been damaged...some suggest it is permanent.

 

I know mine has been.  This is torture.

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Wildflower0214

The sooner benzos are pulled off market, and production ceased, the better. When family members or friends reveal that doctors have handed them a prescription for benzos I sit them down to a 15 minute discussion on what these can do to you, and how your body and mind will respond.

Not for those of us still on them, who are in the throes of another WD and cannot taper at this point.

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