Gabapentin Withdrawal

Gabapentin WithdrawalGabapentin, also known as Neurontin, is medication prescribed by doctors to patients with epilepsy, known for its anticonvulsant properties which basically means it prevents and stops the convulsions that happen when epilepsy attacks occur.

When you have a seizure, the chemical reactions and nerve communication is disrupted, meaning it doesn’t carry the signals correctly, orders sent by the brain and other organs getting a little lost in translation. By taking Gabapentin, the nerves and chemicals are controlled by modifying the neurotransmitters, giving you a way to managed your condition.

Not just used to treat patients with epilepsy, Gabapentin can also be used to treat RLS or Restless Leg Syndrome, and also to treat pain coming hand in hand with herpes zoster, also known as shingles or herpes. It can also be used to help treat insomnia, and also other mental disorders such as bipolar disorder.

The use of the drug and to be more precise, the way it works within the body, is not yet fully understood but it is said to mimic the action of various transmitters.

How Long Does Gabapentin Work For? 

When you take Gabapentin, the effects only last for around five to seven hours in total. The drug itself has a relatively short life span, and the half life is very small, often resulting in a higher dependancy or addiction risk. In fact, Gabapentin withdrawal is well known to be very difficult and not something that should be taken lightly.

Gabapentin Withdrawal Symptoms 

As with many drugs that you become addicted to or tolerant on, Gabapentin withdrawal will come hand in hand with many symptoms including the following:

  • Anxiety – ranging from mild to very severe
  • Changes to appetite – some patients experience a complete lack of appetite while others experience more hunger pangs
  • Overemotional 
  • Mood swings
  • Depression 
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia 
  • Headaches
  • Itching skin 
  • Irritability 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Ear problems such as tinnitus or pain 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Vomiting 
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever and shivering
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Seizures and fits
  • Upset stomachs
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Suicidal thoughts 

How Long Does Gabapentin Withdrawal Last?

There seems to be no set pattern for how long Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms last, some patients reporting being back to normal within just a few weeks while others taking over a year before life returns to normality. The process will affect everyone slightly differently and like many other things in life, will depend on a whole host of factors including the following:



How long were you taking the drug? 

Those who have been taking the drug for a long time will generally suffer from withdrawal symptoms than someone who hasn’t been taking the drug for very long at all. The shorter the length of time you were taking it, the easier and quicker it will be to come off it. This is much the same for a lot of drugs.

What dosage were you on? 

If you’re consider a younger person, your doctor is likely to have prescribed you a dose of around 300mg and this should be taken three times daily. Slightly older people may be prescribed up to 1800mg in severe cases, and some doctors may even not use your age to work out your dosage at all, preferring to work with how much you weight instead. The general rule of thumb for this is around 10-15mg for every kilogram you weigh.

The dosage will change the length of time you suffer with Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms. The higher the dose, the harder you will find it to wean yourself away from the drug. The lower your dose, the quicker and less intense it will be to withdraw.

Are you prone to withdrawals? 



If you were a smoker who has tried to quit but found the withdrawals virtually impossible to deal with every time, it could be that your tolerance for these withdrawal symptoms is lower than others. Sometimes your genetics have a part to play in how well you will take to a drug, and also how long it will take to completely remove the drug and it’s effects from your body.

How are you withdrawing from Gabapentin? 

If you are weaning yourself away from Gabapentin, lowering your dosage over time, you may notice that the withdrawals aren’t so difficult to deal with but the length of time it will take to withdraw completely will be longer than going cold turkey.

Just as the name suggests, going cold turkey means cutting the drug out of your life completely at a set time or date. You no longer take any more. This is the quickest way to get the drug out of your system but many patients report this being the hardest way to withdraw from any drug. Going cold turkey is normally too much of an impossible task to complete.

As well as taking into consideration how hard going cold turkey will be, you should also be aware that stopping this medication completely could even cause seizures, the thing you’re trying to stop or prevent by taking the drug in the first place.

Many people attempt going cold turkey first before realising the process is very difficult and eventually weaning themselves away from it, lowering the drug over a period of weeks of months rather than stopping altogether.

You should never attempt to stop taking Gabapentin without first consulting with your doctor. You shouldn’t change your dosage without speaking with your doctor. If you think you have taken your dose incorrectly, to you have taken too many tablets, seek medical advice.

How long does it take to withdraw from Gabapentin? 

The drug itself is believe to stay in your system for a maximum of 48-72 hours after you stop taking it. At this point, your body no longer has the drug it has become accustomed to and at this stage, you’ll start to suffer with the withdrawal symptoms. Your body (or mind) needs that drug and because you can’t have, the above symptoms we mentioned will start, and get more intense, before slowly dissipating. This can take days, weeks, months and in some cases, even years. Each patient and every case is different, and there are a lot of contributing factors.

What can help with Gabapentin withdrawal? 

There are some reports that show taking a supplement of magnesium can help with Gabapentin withdrawal. The receptors react in similar ways to the drug and the mineral, so as you lower your dosage of Gabapentin, you should look at taking magnesium supplements.

As well as looking at magnesium, you may wish to consider speaking with your doctor about taking a daily multivitamin supplement to ensure your body is well-fed from the inside out and ready for the detox ahead. As well as ensuring your vitamin and mineral levels are right, you should look at your diet, making sure you eat healthy and well-balanced foods, don’t drink too much, and ensure you consume plenty of water.

The healthier your body is, the easier you will find it to detox or withdraw from any drug.

Exercise is another tool you have on your side and this can help in a number of ways. Exercise releases happy endorphins and hormones into the body which boost your mood and help you to feel better. The vitamin D you’ll get from stepping outside in the sun will also help to lighten the mood amongst a whole host of other things. Not only that but you will feel better about yourself for exercising and, should you want or need to, losing weight, and when you feel better about yourself, it’s hard to feel irritable from your withdrawals.

Exercise has also been shown to help regulate and promote natural sleep patterns, something many drug-withdrawing patients struggle with.

Meditation and / or counselling or therapy can help when you are feeling at your worst, and some people may even find that anonymous drug addiction groups can help. By using these groups, you will be talking to people just like you – people who are in the same boat, going through the same things, and can maybe even provide you with tips and tricks you hadn’t yet heard of to make the process a little easier.

Therapy can help by dealing with Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, stress and depression. It is also a very wise choice to tell family and friends about your current scenario so they can keep an eye on you and make sure you’re not having too much of a hard time. Withdrawing from any drug is hard but if you have been taking Gabapentin for a long period of time, you may find it very hard.

You should also advise your doctor about any mental health problems prior to taking Gabapentin.

Gabapentin Withdrawal

26 COMMENTS

  1. I was on Gabapentin for about ten years starting with a low dose of 300mg per day and working up to 800mg per day. This was for my restless leg and it did help with that. I have been having dizziness over the past few years which seemed to continually worsen. At first it was on and off and then about a year ago I became completely incapacitated by the dizziness and nausea. I finally just took myself off of this drug and have been off of it for about a month. I am still extremely dizzy and nauseas. Is it possible the dizziness and nausea I have are caused by this drug and how long will this last? I have been tested for everything by my Neurologist to find the cause of the dizziness (Pots, had a brain scan, etc.) I also have Cervical spondylosis and stenosis. I just had a cervical spine fusion and was hoping that would fix the problem but no, sadly still dizzy and it is the worst feeling in the world. The only thing I can figure is it is the medication and I was on multiple ones. I am now only currently taking my Sodium Diclfenac and for the pain I have been taking Aleve when I need too. So far since the surgery I have noticed no problems with the restless leg.

    • Withdrawals can be difficult. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It is certain that you will help other people in the future. Continue to monitor your symptoms at this time. If you find that they reduce over the next month, then you are healing. Buy a notebook and keep a diary of when you feel dizzy and the intensity of your dizziness. If you remain as dizzy at the end of the month as you do now, then make an appointment with a medical professional. Have a great day, Michelle!

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences. It is certain that you will help someone else in the future. Please let us know if you experience any symptoms or unusual experiences. Best of luck, Paul!

  2. I wasn’t aware that I needed to talk with my doctor about stopping Gabapentin- I know that sounds silly but I just stopped taking it 10 days ago. I guess I thought that by not taking it, maybe the headaches would stop and I wanted to see if I would feel any differently without it. I took 600mg once a day for probably 2 years or so for potential Fibromylgia and damage from knee surgery. I have experienced the sweating and upset stomach. And weirdly enough, I googled heart attack symptoms yesterday because of the pain. I feel like it will all pass. But I am worried now that I should contact my doctor tomorrow. My pills would have to be cut in half- should I go back to them 10 days later? Worried I am causing greater damage now. Besides what I think are withdrawel symptoms, I don’t feel any different. Please advise.

      • Make an appointment at this time. Call your doctor to ask if you should resume taking your medications. If you want to quit, then explain your feelings with your doctor. If your doctor is unwilling to give you advice on how to remove yourself from your medications, then find a new doctor. Best of luck, Emily!

    • Make an appointment at this time. Call your doctor to ask if you should resume taking your medications. If you want to quit, then explain your feelings with your doctor. If your doctor is unwilling to give you advice on how to remove yourself from your medications, then find a new doctor. Best of luck, Emily!

  3. I was put on gabapentin while in the hospital (for 8 days) with a herniated disc. They said it was safe. I was on 300 mg 3x day for 3 weeks. My PCP upped the dose to 600 mg 3x a day for 6 weeks. So, 9 weeks total. I saw my PCP on Tuesday, just after the 9 week mark and discussed discontinuing the drug. She said no problem. Go cold turkey. I said no way, I want to taper. But she was unable to offer any advice on how. So I cut out half my morning dose. I’m having very unpleasant flu-like symptoms that seem to be getting worse: jittery, nauseous, dizzy, fatigued, hot flashes, plus insomnia. How long will this last? I don’t want to reduce again until I feel more stable.

    I also have to say that I am terribly fearful of trying to get off this drug. But I don’t want to be on it, either! Terrible psychological side effects. Please help.

    • Continue the progress that you are making. If you find that extreme reduction in medications is causing you unpleasant sensations, then reduce more slowly. Take three-quarters of your normal dose, then reduce to half, and so on. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having so you can make sure that you are healthy. Best of luck, Cathe!

  4. I was having trouble sleeping, feeling depressed/anxious, palpitations, jitters and experiencing other withdrawal side effects of methylprednisone. I talked to a friend about it who gave me a few tabs of xanax and about 12 gabapentins. 300 mg capsules. I was already starting to sleep better but took the xanax anyway as I was still dealing with anxiety and depression. That Monday I decided to try out a gabapentin because I was feeling really weird and depressed. He said it would help me sleep and curb the anxiety and depression. I felt amazing after I took that first one. I was so happy and ready to take on the day. I felt like I had so much energy and was still able to sleep that night. After the day I started taking 2 one in the morning and one in the afternoon and it wasn’t having the same effect. I took these over the course of about 6 days and stopped em after my last day of only taking one again. The day after I stopped I began having increased anxiety/depression, trouble sleeping, palpitations, stomach troubles and now a splitting headache that wouldnt go away. The headaches finally subsided yesterday after about 12 days. I slept much better last night and everyday it’s getting better. The anxiety/depression seems to have subsided a couple days ago but the palpitations and stomach issues are still there. The first few days of WD were hell. I was trying to take a bunch of benedryl to knock me out and it would barely work. A few days in I started using valerian root to sleep. It worked a little better. Now I take valerian root capsules w/passionflowe and hops in it. Come to find out taking 1 every 4 hours or so during the day really help with the anxiety and depression. I also started taking a magnesium, calcium and zinc supplement which seems to help. Ibuprofen didn’t help with the headaches at all. Aspirin seemed to work a little bit but they were still there. My brain felt like it was thumping/pulsating. So horrible. I would never wish this upon my worst enemy. I hope this finds anyone well that’s struggling and wants to know if it will end. It will.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us. It is certain that you words will help other people in the future. Please feel free to share more of your thoughts in the future. Have a great day and good luck, Johnny!

  5. I’ve been taking the Gabepentin for 7 years.I take 3700mgs. A day . my mind stays fuzzy I can’t process things anymore, IV lot my taste smell vocabulary is really bad & my short term memory has caused problems at home with some family members.

    • You may want to speak with your doctor. Perhaps your doctor has an alternative option for you to try. You may also want to ask if there is anything else that can be done. Remain positive as you move forward. Have a great week, Regina!

  6. I was abusing gabapentin to get me off oxycoden. Now I quit taking gabapentin cold turkey. I must say the withdrawals are way worse! Felt like I was goin die the first couple days. Horrible migraines stomach pain& no energy. Felt like I had a fever & sweating. I started taking magnesium prenatal vitamins vitamin c& d along w muscle relaxer & ibuprofen. It’s day 6 & im feeling so much better. Not back to normal yet but it’s manageable. Good luck it’s a horrible drug!

    • Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. It is certain that your words will help someone in the future. Please feel free to contribute to our community in the future. We always appreciate such positive comments. Have a great day, Rachel!

  7. I’ve been trying to find out how soon withdrawal symptoms can start. I was away from home for a long period of time and forgot to take my gabapentin with me. I take 600mg 3x a day for Fibro pain, been taking it overall for 3 years, been on this high of a dose for nearly 1 year. I normally take a dose around 5-6:30 and missed that one. Around 9:30/10 I started having strange muscle spasms, like quick jerks all over. My right hand started shaking so bad I had trouble dialing the phone. I’ve had small muscle spasms before but never this bad or for so long so it was never much of a cause for concern to me before. I kept getting them on and off, and my head just felt fuzzy and strange. I’m home now and took it about an hour ago (11:30) and the spasms seem to have stopped so far.
    Is it possible missing that one dose could have given me such strong withdrawal symptoms? I had trouble withdrawing off Flexeril in the past, I never thought gabapentin would be so bad.

    • It would be wise of you to speak with your doctor. They will have the information that you need. Make an appointment as soon as possible. Continue to monitor the experiences and changes that you are having. This will help you better answer your doctor’s questions at that time. Remain mindful as you move forward. Good luck, Tiffany!

    • Yes! The exact same jerky nerve pain happened immediately after I tried stopping cold turkey… like clock work, right around the time I normally would take it my body started spasming horribly with sharp pains! It is the WORST obstacle health wise that I have experienced. Tapering SLOW IS A MUST.

      • Thank you for sharing your experiences. Please feel free to share more of your thoughts in the future. Have a great day, UsofA!

  8. Hi! I just wanted to say thank you for this article! I am an opiates addict. Who was put on gabapentin for back pain. Sadly even though it is helping a lot. It’s physical effects are very similar to opiates. So I found myself taking dangerous amounts of this drug. Trying to Chace that feeling I got in the beginning. Sadly I was dumb enough to trust my doctor. And thought of this stuff as my miracle drug! HA!! Now I’m stuck with another medication that has severe withdrawal. Just like the suboxone I’m on! So I’ve decided to quit this med. Before I’m stuck on it forever!! And I am really hoping and praying that my withdrawal is short and manageable! So wish me luck!! I will repost at a later time to share my experience! Good luck to anyone else going through this same thing!!

    • Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. Before you take any action, it would be most wise of you to speak with your medical provider. They will have the proper schedule for you to remove yourself from this drug. Doing so without their support may cause you more pain and grief than benefits. Remain mindful and positive as you move forward. Best of luck, Tina!

  9. I took 24 tablets in a 12 day period (gabapentin) 300mg daily fir pain neuralgia I’m niw on my 17 th day with out a tablet and I’m crying gave anxiety and depression please tell me this is normal and it will soon go I had 4 dats where I though thank goodness it’s gone but it hadn’t and it’s all come back

    • Many people find that withdrawal symptoms go away within a few weeks. If you experience serious symptoms or your depression does not improve, you may want to talk to your doctor about your options. You only took the drug for 12 days though, so your withdrawal symptoms should be much easier to handle than someone who has been on it for longer. Good luck, Suzanne!

  10. I took gabapentin for more than 10 years. During that time I was taking 2100 mg each evening. I went off the drug about 2 months ago. Now I have the chills all the time. Could going off the drug be the cause?

    • If you had no problems for the last couple of months, it is unlikely that this is the cause, although it still could be. I would just go to your doctor to discuss any symptoms that you are having and get checked out. Good luck, Bill Meulemans!

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