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Prevention Medications

Gabapentin

  • By Jess Anderson

    Hello everyone,
    In March 2015 my headache specialist put me on Gabapentin as a preventative for my chronic intractable migraines. She started me off slow and now I’m taking 3 100mg capsules two times a day. So far I’ve not noticed any decrease in frequency or severity of my migraines. I’m also doing the Botox and using the Cefaly headband device.

    My question to the community is has anyone had success being on Gabapentin? I’m not sure if I just need to give the medicine more time or if I need an adjustment to it or if it’s time to give up on it. I’ve already been on a bunch of other preventatives that have failed including Inderal, Topamax, Depakote, and Zonegram.

    Any help/feedback/or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Jess,

    I’m not sure if your doctor mentioned it can take up to 90 days before we see a reduction in our migraine frequency and severity when we start new medications. And this isn’t until we are at the proper dose. Also during this time potential side effects can lessen as our body adjusts to new medication. This can feel like forever when we continually have attacks. It is however, important to give each medication a fair trial or we’ll never know if it would have been THE medication that would have worked. Does that make sense?

    Let me know what you think,
    Nancy

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  • By cdfjones

    I just started gabapentin. I’m on my 2nd complete day. I started in the afternoon so l took 2 on the first day. Afternoon and before bed. I’m trying to adjust to the “buzzing” feeling but it is definitely helping. I’m very excited. The list of things I have tried and failed over 5 years is too long to type right now. I also get Botox and use inderal. I use a tens unit at home and ice packs. My rescue medicine is imitrex the “air” shot. Hurts really bad for a minute. Anyway, my Dr told me to adjust to gabapentin as my body needed to start, take one if I did well take the second that day. I got results pretty fast so I counted the hours until I could take #2. It was beginning to return by the time it was time to take the next dose. I’m going to give it a good solid try, it seems to be giving me some relief and I have not had any hope in a while! Prayers to you that you find relief, too.

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  • By Kay Dee

    Hi Jess, Hope your starting to feel better.

    I’ve been on gabapentin twice (currently reduced to 600mg from 3000mg daily), having gone back to topamax as my main preventative. I have fibromyalgia, neuropathy due to injuries, as well as chronic migraine. After 3 years on the gabapentin, it had quit working, so my Dr and I decided to switch back to topamax. During the weaning off, switch over, I ended up finding somewhat happy place of full dose topamax, little bit gabapentin that might actually be my correct balance. Probably be another couple of months to know for sure. Goodness knows we’ve tried and abandoned so many combo’s of other medications.

    Gapapentin by itself has never been a great migraine preventative for me. It reduced the intensity of the migraines, reduced the nausea, reduced the visual auras, but “never reduced the # of migraines” I got.

    Topamax is just the opposite for me (also been on it before). It reduces the “# of migraines” by 50% which means 3-4 migraine free days a week, as well as reducing other symptoms, but not the intensity. Turned out it was also better for my nerve pain as well significantly reducing my need for pain relief for my sciatica, yeh.

    Have you gotten any help from the Cefaly headband device?

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  • By cdfjones

    I am now taking gabapenton 100 mg, two in the morning and afternoon and 1 at night. I think it has helped the frequency of my intractable chronic migraines to a small degree, but the intensity more. Also I understand it makes most people calm and tired, it has jumped my energy level up 300%. I can’t believe the difference. If I’m not having an attack I actually do something other than sit on the couch. I’m loving it. A little better quality of life. Thank you, Lord!

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  • By Dizzy1i

    Gabapentin is a quite successful drug for me but not by itself. I take 1200 mg/day gabapentin, 35 mg nortriptylene, and 50 mg metroprolol. This drug cocktail keeps attacks to less than 1x/year. The nortriptylene doubles my heart rate to 90 bps and the metroprolol slows the rate to around 75 bps. My blood pressure is always fine.

    Unlike most people on this board I suffer from vestibular migraines. My migraines have little pain but I can suffer vicious vertigo with all its unmentionable side effects. During attacks I cannot tolerate light or sound, nor can I even crawl to the bathroom.

    For many years 50 mg/day nortriptylene with 50 mg metroprolol suppressed my attacks to 1/month; however, as the number of attacks per month increased, my dose increased to 100 mg nortriptylene/100 mg metroprolol–which is the maximum useful dose. Then, the two-drug cocktail ceased to work at all. For Christmas 2011 I experienced 5 attacks of 2-3 hours each.

    My neurologist added anti-seizure meds to my cocktail–first sodium valproate then Topamax. Neither reduced the migraines, but both had very scary sexual and cognitive side effects. For me, Gabapentin is free of side effects.

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    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      Hi Dizzy1,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I’m happy to hear you’ve found a combination of drugs that have helped your migraines.

      Medication can “wear out” or stop working for some people, I know I have had to faze out of a number of medications due to poor efficacy.

      Happy Holidays!
      Nancy

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  • By Laura

    I take 2400 mg of gabapentin a day for my go to. I went from 50’to 100 of topamax from my GP. He sent me to a Nero. He increased the topamax to 500 mg a day. It doesn’t do anything but make my drinks taste funny. I have had this migraine now for about 10’days. I have take all my imatrex had 3 Nubian and phenerghan shots. I hate the Nero dr. He is worthless. I am at the point of I can’t take much more. I can’t live on xanex and Percocet and all this other meds to survive. Life is to short. I am tired and want to feel better. Any great remedies would be great! So tired of pain and crappy meds. Uncaring doctors. Nero don’t even bother to return calls GP is like we think you need to see him as there could be under lying issues. Well he doesn’t call back. He stinks!!!

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Laura,

    I’m so sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time. Migraine pain is exhausting and frustrating. Let me see what information I can give you that will help.

    I wonder if it’s time to see a doctor who is an expert in treating migraine and headache disorders rather than a neurologist. I understand how frustrating it is to see doctor after doctor, but we owe it to ourselves to find a doctor who is knowledgeable in migraine and headache disorders. Let me explain- neurologists may be fine doctors but have a hard time being experts in one area because they treat so many other conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, stroke and others. Migraine/headache doctors are experts in one area- migraine and headache and are board certified in headache medicine which is different than being certified in neurology. Here is information on how these doctors are special and how to find one; https://migraine.com/blog/really-find-headache-specialist/ and http://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/.

    Topamax can be very beneficial for migraine prevention. However, migraine experts suggest taking no more than 200 mgs (100 mg in the AM and 100 mg at bedtime) because studies show more than that is not effective for migraine. You can read more about that here; https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/topamax/how-well-topamax-works/.

    Something else I wanted to mention is called medication overuse headache or moh which was formerly called rebound. We can unknowingly create moh if we take migraine medications (Imitrex) and/or pain relievers, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, more than two to three days a week. If we take these medications this often our migraine attacks will be more difficult to treat and we can end up in a daily cycle of pain that is hard to break. You can read more about moh here; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/.

    Hang in there, we are here for you!
    Nancy

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  • By kdsweeney

    I started getting migraines in 1981 after I was bodily hit by a car. They got worse in 1990 after my parcel delivery van was hit by a tractor trailer.
    I am currently taking 3200mg of Gabapentin per day as well as 800mg of Carbamazepine.
    After some testing, they finally determined my migraines are Vestibular Migraines. Even with all the meds I am taking, I am dizzy just about every minute I am awake. There are worse symptoms as well.

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    • By Dizzy1i

      Medications for migraines are not a one size fits all prescription. The cocktail used to suppress my vestibular migraines (given above), which includes 1200 mg/day gabapentin, may be ineffective for you and most others. Your statement indicates that gabinpentin is actually a trigger.

      My successful suppression therapy took 2-3 years of tinkering with a very dedicated, empathetic neurologist, who listened carefully to my reports. Lucky migraineurs find such doctors. Others here are not so lucky. I was reminded of my good luck when my neurologist took maternity leave for several months. Her replacement was on the “best doctors” list locally, but he was relatively uninterested in my case. At the time I was suffering increased attacks, and I was in need of a drug cocktail adjustment. Upon her return, we quickly found a efficacious drug mixture.

      As I have found several times in my life with neurological, orthopaedic, and several other medical problems, the knowledge, empathy, and skill of your doctor governs the probably that your problem is resolved satisfactorily. Be nice, but fire doctors that aren’t helping.

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