This is one of my most popular posts:
It seems that a lot of people are curious, confused, and worried about the use of Neurontin, Gabapentin, and Lyrica — all anti-seizure medications that are also used off-label for a bunch of other conditions, including the treatment of pain. Here are some of the questions in my search terms:
does lyrica lower your immune system
can neurontin cause long lasting brain damage
how do you know if neurontin gave you brain damage
does taking gabapentin stop my tattoo from healing
gabapentin immune system
reviews on gabapentin for anxiety
will lyrica hury my brian (Oops! Too late.)
I don’t think anyone really knows the answers to these questions, even the one about a tattoo. A patient may experience a side effect or two, or none at all. And if your doctor tells you that these drugs have been proven to work, he’s relying on opinion, not medical science (what little remains of it). Unfortunately, doctors haven’t figured out yet that each patient may have different reactions to each drug. (Just like the food we eat, which are different kinds of chemicals.)
These drugs are used to treat seizures, mostly from epilepsy. Doctors (and government agencies) say that seizures and nerve pain travel on the same brain pathways, which is why these drugs are sometimes used to treat pain.
Really, if you think about it, we use all of our brain pathways, like intersecting highways, so this reason for why anti-seizure medications work to treat pain doesn’t make much sense to me. (I wonder, does cancer pain have a different brain pathway than chronic pain?)
But considering the large number of patients who aren’t helped by anti-seizure drugs, and the large number of adverse reactions, I don’t think the “experts” really know how these drugs work. For patients, using them is a crap shoot.
Keep in mind, when looking at the patient populations that use anti-seizure medications, you have to separate out those who take it for epilepsy and those who take it for chronic pain. You’re going to see a higher success rate for the treatment of epilepsy, and a much spottier record for the treatment of pain.
In case you didn’t know, cannabis is also considered an anti-epileptic, just with a higher success rate (and fewer side effects), both for the treatment of epilepsy and chronic pain. Medical science hasn’t proven that yet, but millions of patients already know it.
Anti-epileptics aren’t considered dangerous because it takes a very large amount to produce a toxic overdose. (Just like cannabis, which is still listed at the highest level on the DEA’s drug scheduling list.) Gabapentin is not on the list, even though it “produces psychoactive effects,” which is supposed to be the hallmark of a potentially addictive drug.
I only have experience with Neurontin, and it was a long time ago. But I don’t remember it being a useful drug, at least for me, and I don’t recall that it produced any of the side effects that others have suffered from:
Got a bunch of Neurontin (gabapentin) from an older prescription I never used much of. Mostly been using it as an occasional sleep aid, but it’s an interesting buzz in itself… mostly drowsiness & cottonmouth, but some alcohol-like impairment as well, along with benzo-like relaxation. A kind of heavy feeling in the head & limbs. Dizziness is apparently a common side effect…
it’s trade name is “neurontin” and doctors lovingly call it “morontin”
There are a few reported cases of Gabapentin overdose, like this one:
Described herein are the circumstances and autopsy findings of a 62-year-old woman with a history of depression, whose death was caused by intentional ingestion of excess gabapentin…
But I think one of the major problems with anti-seizure medications is their use with other drugs, like alcohol, antidepressants, and benzos. When you combine drugs, which everyone does, you won’t know as much about the potential side effects, including how deadly they can be.
Just think what the list of side effects would look like if you combined two or three drugs, instead of the long list you get for each separate one. The reason every list of side effects is so long is because everyone is different, which makes the list pretty much useless. I mean, if a handful of people get a headache after taking a drug, it’s a side effect. Yeah, but what if these patients were suffering from a hunger headache?
It’s hard to pin the side effects from drugs on an already deteriorating medical condition, so if a patient were to suffer brain damage from Neurontin, I don’t know how you could prove that. An MRI might show brain damage, but it won’t show the cause.
Late last year the Beattyville Enterprise reported that pharmacists in the town were appealing to drug companies for greater control over another prescription medicine, Neurontin, which is increasingly in demand and has been found at the scene of overdose deaths.