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Gabapentin- Side Effects

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Are gabapentin side effects different from other toxic medications? As a long-term cancer survivor I am more than familiar with the concept of adverse events aka short, long-term and late stage side effects. All toxic therapies bring side effects. This is just a fact.

Unfortunately gabapentin seems to go above and beyond my experience with the usual adverse events. Just as important, gabapentin in the only FDA approved therapy for nerve pain. That I know of anyway…

Multiple Myeloma Diagnostic Criteria

Let me qualify that statement. There are many medications that are used for nerve pain that are approved by the FDA- think opioids- that may be used to manage nerve pain. But I’m talking about the medication specifically prescribed for nerve pain. And that will be gabapentin.

You’ve developed serious nerve pain and you go see your M.D. He or she prescribes gabapentin. Your nerve pain feels a bit better but you experience…pick any of the common side effects below.

My question to you is, are these side effects worth the reduction in nerve pain? And will you experience any of the long-term side effects from gabapentin…some day down the road?

If you were to pursue one or more of the evidence-based but non-conventional therapies listed below- say lidocaine as a topical numbing therapy, coupled with moderate exercise, oils, CBD oil, others, you would moderate your nerve pain and not experience any of the side effects listed below.

FYI- I have a lot of nerve damage from radiation therapy long ago. The good news is that I live with a great deal of numbness- my legs don’t feel much of anything- but no pain to speak of. Therefore I rely on mechanical therapies to strengthen my lower body. Think ankle-foot orthotics, things like this.

The bottom line is, and this is the norm in my experience, is that conventional FDA approved therapies just aren’t worth the hassle. I say this as a cancer survivor who lives with more than a dozen life-altering side effects from his FDA approved, “safe and effective” standard-of-care therapies prescribed by my board-certified oncologist.

Do your homework. Talk with your doctor but you make any decision affecting your body.

Scroll down the page, post a question or a comment.

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Gabapentin Side Effects

Summary-Commonly reported side effects of gabapentin include: ataxia, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, fever, nystagmus disorder, sedated state, and viral infection.

Other side effects include: blurred vision, diplopia, peripheral edema, tremor, amblyopia, irritability, and xerostomia. Continue reading for a comprehensive list of adverse effects…

Serious side effects of Gabapentin

Along with its needed effects, gabapentin may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking gabapentin:

More common

  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • continuous, uncontrolled, back-and-forth, or rolling eye movements..

Other side effects of Gabapentin

Some side effects of gabapentin may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersomeor if you have any questions about them…

Perioperative Gabapentin Increases Adverse Clinical Events in Older Adults

“Perioperative gabapentin is linked to a significantly increased risk for in-hospital delirium, new antipsychotic medication use and pneumonia in older patients after major surgery, according to a retrospective cohort study (JAMA Intern Med 2022 Sep 19. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.3680).

“In recent years, there has been a focus on reducing opioid use in the postoperative period for pain control,” said principal investigator Dae Hyun Kim, MD, ScD, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, in Boston. “The emphasis has been to use nonopioid pain medications, including acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and gabapentin.”

“The most common reason for a geriatric consult after major surgery is postoperative delirium,” he said. “I suspected that gabapentin might be related to increased risk of delirium after major surgery in older patients….”

Home Remedies for Nerve Pain

Walk it off.Exercise releases natural painkillers called endorphins. Exercise also promotes bloodflow to the nerves in the legs and feet. Researchers believe that regular exercise may create a long-lasting expansion in blood vessels in the feet, nourishing damaged nerves back to health. Start with a daily walk, gradually increasing pace and distance.

Pamper your feet. If the feet are affected by nerve pain, it’s time to focus on good foot care. Nerve pain usually means impaired sensation, making injuries and infections more likely. Reduce the risk by examining your feet daily, wearing comfortable shoes, and seeing a podiatrist regularly. No wound or injury to your feet is too minor for a consultation with a doctor.

Soak it away. A warm bath might be the easiest — and least expensive — home treatment for nerve pain. Warm water temporarily increases blood flow to the legs and can help ease stress as well. Avoid burns by measuring water temperature with your arm before stepping in.

Skip happy hour. Heavy alcohol use is toxic to nerves and can worsen nerve pain. There’s no magic number for how many alcoholic beverages you can have and still avoid nerve pain, but some experts advise four drinks or less per week.

Sleep on it. Nerve pain can worsen at night, disrupting sleep and making it more difficult to cope with pain. Help break the cycle with good sleep habits. Limit afternoon caffeine intake, keep a consistent bedtime that allows for eight hours of sleep, and reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex.

Burn it out.Capsaicin cream, made from hot chili peppers, causes an uncomfortable burning sensation when initially applied. Some individuals find the burning sensation to be intolerable, especially when they are already suffering from a painful condition. But those who stick with it for weeks often report improvement in nerve pain (and less burning over time).
Numb it up. The anesthetic lidocaine — in gel, ointment, or patches — is available in prescription and over-the-counter preparations. The relief from lidocaine is satisfying, although temporary.Rub it out. Some studies have shown that applying botanical oils such as geranium oil can reduce the pain of postherpetic neuralgia. Other oils, such as lavender oil, have been shown to help relax people, which may also help take the mind off nerve pain.Meditate on it. Techniques such as guided imagery, meditation, biofeedback, and hypnosis help some people with nerve pain live better. Finding the right professional at a reasonable price can be challenging. Do your homework and ask for a referral from your doctor or someone whose advice you trust.”



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