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Neurontin Long-Term Effects?


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4 replies to this topic

#1 Halberd of Hope

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 06:50 PM

I'm having a hard time understanding Gabapentin. As I understand from the Neurontin page, it is basically a synthetic version of GABA that can, and does, cross the blood-brain barrier. As such, it seems to me like it is almost more of a supplement than a strong drug. But I often see it referred to as strong, and see that people have a lot of trouble getting off it.

I take 600mg a day (morning and early evening) and it has done wonders for my anxiety, which in turn has lifted my depression enough to function, and so far so good for the migraines, too. I am trying to accept that I will probably need to take something for a long time, if not always. If neurontin continues to work for me, I won't mess with it. What concerns me though is what damage it may do over time, as I am still having troubling effects from 9 years of SSRIs, 6 months after being completely off.

As usual, there don't seem to be many/any long-term studies, and my pdoc has said everything is "fine" to take long-term.

I'd like to hear others' experiences with Neurontin, especially if you've taken it for a year or longer.

Also if you can help me understand what neurontin makes the brain do differently, or what effects that may have over time, I would appreciate it very much.

:mad:
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#2 Serpens

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 11:52 PM

I'm having a hard time understanding Gabapentin. As I understand from the Neurontin page, it is basically a synthetic version of GABA that can, and does, cross the blood-brain barrier. As such, it seems to me like it is almost more of a supplement than a strong drug. But I often see it referred to as strong, and see that people have a lot of trouble getting off it.


This is somewhat outdated. Actually, quite outdated.

When Gabapentin was designed as a drug, they were trying to create a synthetic analogue of GABA that would survive oral ingestion and cross the BBB to act in the brain. While Gabapentin IS a chemical analogue of GABA, it does NOT interact with GABAergic receptors in the brain. The current mechanism of action it is understood to have is to interact with the alpha-2-delta subunit of the voltage gated calcium channel. Voltage gated calcium channels are present in pre-synaptic neurons. When an electrical impulse reaches the end of a neuron, this ion gate opens, and allows calcium to rush into the cell, and triggers the release of neurotransmitters from stored vesicles.

Since various forms of voltage gated calcium channels are present in basically every neuron (though gabapentin does not interact with all, only some). In terms of raw molecular pharmacology, I wouldn't characterize it as a strong drug - it does a very small amount to an individual neuron, but it does it to a very large, very diverse population of neurons all at once. This is part of why it has so many off-label uses, and can be characterized as such an odd drug when compared to most others.

I take 600mg a day (morning and early evening) and it has done wonders for my anxiety, which in turn has lifted my depression enough to function, and so far so good for the migraines, too. I am trying to accept that I will probably need to take something for a long time, if not always. If neurontin continues to work for me, I won't mess with it. What concerns me though is what damage it may do over time, as I am still having troubling effects from 9 years of SSRIs, 6 months after being completely off.

As usual, there don't seem to be many/any long-term studies, and my pdoc has said everything is "fine" to take long-term.

I'd like to hear others' experiences with Neurontin, especially if you've taken it for a year or longer.

Also if you can help me understand what neurontin makes the brain do differently, or what effects that may have over time, I would appreciate it very much.


Gabapentin has been around for in excess of a decade now. While it has a muddled history, primarily due to Parke-Davis promoting it for off-label use, it's emerged as one of the go-to drugs for dealing with neuropathic pain. In the US there are a LOT of people with neuropathic pain, either due to infection with Herpes Simplex, or more commonly, from Diabetes. Gabapentin gets used a lot here, and it gets used quite long term - as these neuropathies are permanent. Thus far, there's been no indication of any sort of dangerous long term effects. Given the amount of use the drug sees, and how long it's been around, if something catastrophically bad were happening with any frequency, the various monitoring systems in place in our regulatory system would have at least some hint of it - but currently it looks pretty benign.
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#3 In_Remission_siglin

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:34 AM

Hi,
I've been taking 1800mg a day of gabapentin for about 5 years, it was prescribed by a neurologist for nerve pain and I was taking alot of codeine at the time. I rarely take codeine any more and although I kept telling doctors that it improved my mood but they wouldn't believe me!
I intend on taking for the foreseeable future, I'd rather have the benefits of functioning now rather than worry about what might happen in the future.
Heather

#4 In_Remission_Mrs Butler

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 12:24 PM

I am on a low dose to combat migraine aura / possible temporal lobe seizures. It has relieved all of my aura symptoms, and unexpectedly relieved chronic long term pain in my shoulder that I didn't mention to the neurologist. I think it has helped my mood, but that might be because I am sleeping so well, or not in pain, or just a placebo affect. Either way, I'm liking it. :mad:

#5 Sholtzee

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:34 AM

I don't know if anyone will read this .. Ever.. But anyways, I started taking it 2 weeks ago and it helped with the back/leg pain.. But even better it seems to be regulating my moods. Which quite frankly I thought were fiery and annoying but just "who I am".. But I'm sleeping better ( with only very mild grogginess when I first open my eyes). I don't feel any side effects at all when I'm awake and I am def starting to feel much more ... Stable.. And I wasn't having any mental health issues b4 but I was always so up and down.. So moody.. And the gabapentin started to regulate my mood almost immediately. And I have to say, it's an effect i NEVER expected and one I would stay on it for.. just for that '!! I'm on a low dose. 2 x 200.. Morning and night. So only 400..
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