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Dr. Sophie :: Neurology
Dr. Sophie :: Neurology, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 2951
Experience:  Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology :: U of California
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I am taking 3600 mg. of gabapentin and want to taper off this

Customer Question

I am taking 3600 mg. of gabapentin and want to taper off this drug. Please help me figure out how to do that. My dr. is not available until next week (maybe, he is traveling) can you help me?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  FamilyPhysician replied 4 years ago.
Why do you want to taper off this medication? Why the urgency of stopping this medicine before talking with your personal physician?

How long have you been on this medication?

Why was this medication originally prescribed?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am having negative side effects recently, blurred vision in the morning when I take other meds, memory issues, and I am concerned about recent driving close calls. I have been on this medication about three months. I had this medication originally prescribed because I had broken my wrist and had surger on it. I had surgery on it in mid Dec. and they removed three major bones from my wrist. I had been on Perocet for almost five months for a variety of reasons and this drug was used to get me off that drug.
Expert:  FamilyPhysician replied 4 years ago.
Indeed, stopping this medication abruptly can lead to serious side effects including an increased risk of seizures.

These withdrawal symptoms can occur even with a short taper
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15898970

You should really discuss your taper with your personal physician who can monitor you and any symptoms you may develop. This taper may take weeks to months to avoid problems.
Expert:  Dr. Sophie :: Neurology replied 4 years ago.

Hello,

Your question was moved to Neurology.

I'll be happy to answer your question how to taper.

How long have you been on this dose (3600mg)?



Edited by Dr. Sevigny :: Neurology on 6/4/2010 at 11:48 PM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Expert:  Dr. Sophie :: Neurology replied 4 years ago.

Hello,

Your question was moved to Neurology.

I'll be happy to answer your question how to taper.

How long have you been on this dose (3600mg)?

Expert:  Dr. Sophie :: Neurology replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

I'm not sure why you are not able to answer my question, but I will answer yours.

It typically makes a difference if you've been on this dose for 1.5 months or for one week, for instance, as how fast you can get off the drug would be different.

I do not advocate patients to alter their own drug dosage, but if a patient experiences significant side effects or potentially life-threatening rash, for example, it seems like a good reason to taper off the medicine.

As a neurologist I use gabapentin a lot and it is not something typically used for post-surgical wrist pain as it works best for nerve pain. Said that, pain specialists have different regimens they like to use.

I don't know whether you take tabs or caps. If you have tabs, this would be really easy as they are scored and you can break them in half.

Assuming you have been on this dose for a month or longer, the best way to taper it to decrease by 1/2 of the daily dose every 2 weeks. So for instance, if you take two 600mg pills (or caps) three times a day, you would take one 600mg three times a day for two weeks, then 300mg three times a day for two weeks, then stop.

The risk of triggering a seizure by sudden withdrawal is relevant in epilepsy patients, so the answer above about increased risk of seizures is irrelevant for you.

I hope this helps.

Please let me know if you have another question.



Edited by Dr. Sevigny :: Neurology on 6/5/2010 at 12:37 AM EST

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