I’m weaning from Gabapentin.
I called my neurologist two weeks ago and got the low down on a “safe” weaning process from the dreaded drug.
I’m going to share it with you. I didn’t have a huge problem dropping Oxycodone from my life after 6 months, but I’ve been told weaning from Gabapentin can be much harder than leaving a narcotic behind.
I was on 2700 mg of the nastiness daily for nerve pain for nearly EIGHT MONTHS.
That’s 900 mg 3 times a day.
The program she gave me is this:
900 mg 600 mg 900 mg for a week.
600 mg 600 mg 900 mg for a week.
600 mg 600 mg 600 mg for a week.
300 mg 600 mg 600 mg for a week.
300 mg 300 mg 600 mg for a week.
300 mg 300 mg 300 mg for a week.
Then I should call her to prescribe me 100 mg tablets to continue the slow decline.
The rules: If I am feeling good at the end of the week meaning no added pain, dizziness, weird emotions, etc (In 2009 the manufacturer of gabapentin (Pfizer) went to trial regarding the association between gabapentin and the increased risk of suicide). I’m to move to the next level. If I am having extreme pain at any time, however, I’m to return the previous dosage…(think…8 days earlier) and remain there for at least two weeks before trying again to proceed to the next step to continue weaning from Gabapentin.
Yesterday was my first day on the second step down. I took two weeks on the first tier to be safe. I’m hoping to avoid the horrific withdrawal symptoms about which I’ve been reading.
Although I took an extra week at the first step, yesterday was a challenge.
I imagine I must have felt as a woman in menopause feels when having a hot flash, if it was a frigid nerve stimulated inferno instead. Waves of icy fire began at my hips and pulsed down my lower extremities with what felt like EXTREMELY overactive Icy Hot. Fire and ice weakened my legs and burned my right arm. The back of my neck and my brow glistened with beads of cold sweat while my legs broke into goosebumps.
My lower left coccyx has been a nagging problem since I was hospitalized, but yesterday the simple act of sitting was challenging. It felt as if the little mice that had been stabbing me during my Canoe of Nantahala Lake sent in a few of their most enduring scouts with sledge hammers to wreak havoc on my lumbar region.
Bumps in the car were nearly unbearable. I found myself whimpering audibly over railroad tracks and potholes.
If you know me…You know it takes some epic, SERIOUS pain to make me make an audible sound. I don’t whimper much.
I also became hyper-vigilant in the vehicle. Everything seemed like it would be an accident, and it spooked me over and over, causing me to brace myself for no reason. It felt as if I regressed 3-4 months in my recovery process, with aches everywhere, a slight head ache, and a heart beat that demands introspective attention.
All day it seemed quite easy to drift away to my happy place, an internal safe spot where I turn off the outside world and bodily pain, and just exist without thought. My muscle spasms came on early in the evening and persisted through the night with a vengeance, although I didn’t fall to sleep until after 2:00 AM, as another symptom happens to be insomnia.
There were moments when I needed to vocalize an agitation. I felt an anxiety that was unrealistic. Without reason. John would notice my far away gaze and ask if I was doing OK. I’d have to tell him, no. I refuse to lie to the man of my reality. I’d explain that there was a buzzing in my head and body, a type of caffeinated surge sans the caffeine that comes with a hint of irritation at nothing and everything all at once.
I wanted to have an argument with the fluffy clouds for being…well, fluffy clouds…so, I didn’t instigate it. They wouldn’t have argued back anyway.
John spent hours yesterday researching supplementation that could help with the symptoms and my recovery as per Kay Howe’s guidance. He settled on Bu Nao Wan, which is in the mail right now. He was patient, understanding, and supportive throughout. I couldn’t ask for a greater blessing through this process than that man. As Mickey Wesler said, he is an example for all men; an old, old soul, and our souls cannot be separated.
The point: Gabapentin is a GNARLY drug. I’d highly recommend not using it.
Day 1 of step 2 down.
Many, many more to go.
Wish me luck!
Oh..and remember, tomorrow’s not guaranteed! Embrace everything positive!!! 😀