Gabapentin is one of the two most common medicines prescribed to help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Gabapentin was initially developed to treat seizures and then was found to successfully treat the symptoms of nerve pain. Before my fibromyalgia diagnosis, I was prescribed a low dose of Gabapentin for my Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Immediately after my fibromyalgia diagnosis, I was prescribed a much higher dose of Gabapentin to help manage my fibromyalgia symptoms.
As stated above, Gabapentin was developed to control seizures. It’s highly successful in this treatment as it works by controlling brain impulses as well as slowing down the electrical activity in the neural network. By slowing down the electrical impulses, it slows down the impulses that work hard with fibromyalgia to transmit overactive pain messages. One of the main components of fibromyalgia is a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system.
Every medication has drawbacks, including Gabapentin. Everyone tolerates these side-effects differently. One of the major complaints about the drug is that it induces “morning fog,” meaning that when you wake up, for a couple of hours each morning, you experience difficulty focusing and possibly some confusion. With “fibro fog” being one of the concerns with the fibro diagnosis, patients are often hesitant to take the drug. However, most doctors will still recommend Gabapentin because it’s benefits outweigh the potentially bothersome side-effects. My own experience is that dosage is the key thing to focus on. Initially, for me, the dosage was too low so it wasn’t addressing the fibromyalgia symptoms. Then, the dosage was too high and I could barely focus, much less stay awake. The doctor and I finally found a dosage that balanced the benefits and side-effects that worked for me.
I chose to write about Gabapentin because of my personal experience; but, also due to its success for many in treating fibromyalgia patients. Other common drugs that treat fibromyalgia are Lyrica (which is in a similar drug class as Gabapentin) and Cymbalta. It’s important to have an open dialogue with your prescribing doctor in order to find the right medication that works for you. Make sure to note side-effects as it could just be a matter of what time of day that you take the medicine to experience the least amount of side effects.
I am by no means a doctor; however, I am happy to discuss my experiences with Gabapentin and other fibromyalgia related medications I have used. I can share the positives and negatives of all of them. If you are interested in a medication to help with the symptoms of the fibromyalgia, talking to your doctor OR a fibromyalgia advisor/coach can be beneficial. I’m available to help you talk about these issues. Feel free to set up an appointment for a free consultation today. I’m usually able to book you in less than a week from the time you contact me. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!
I’m Kate Straus and I’m a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor. I help Jewish women feel confident in their ability to practice their faith while navigating the ups and downs of fibromyalgia. I’m using the disease that at one time knocked me down, to help support others live life to their fullest.