How To Safely Stop Gabapentin

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses how to safely stop taking gabapentin.

Question

I’m on a pretty high dose of gabapentin and I’m trying go taper off of it. But I’ve been reading a lot of people’s experiences and they say it destroyed their life. I’ve only been on it for 4 months at 3000 mg. I take it for my migraines.

Asked by Silent On Apr 18, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Apr 18, 2018

There is not a set in stone recommendation for tapering off of gabapentin and usually, physicians have their own recommendation for their patients.


In your case since you have been on such a high dose, a slow taper is recommended. 

  • Typically you can reduce your dose by 25% each week to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Whenever taping a medication,  if you have any withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended to return to the previous dose for a week and then resume the taper.


Everyone's experience tapering gabapentin is different and it is important to be aware of potneital withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rebound migraines
  • Sleep disturbances


Don’t be afraid to return to a week’s previous dose if you think you are starting to develop withdrawal symptoms. You may want to try adding a magnesium supplement to your medication regimen as well as this might help to lessen the severity of symptoms if they do develop.


Please be sure to also let your physician know that you are stopping the medication so they are able to keep a complete and accurate medication list on your chart. 


Gabapentin Information

Gabapentin is an anti-seizure medication that works on the GABA receptor in the brain. It has been used for a wide range of different neurological issues in patients, like nerve pain and migraines.


This medication has to be slowly increased to a target dose to ensure patients do not have unpleasant side effects. It also has to be tapered when a patient is recommended to come off the medication as discussed above.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Hayden Gharibyar

Dr. Hayden Gharibyar is a Doctor of Pharmacy graduate from the University of Colorado. His areas of expertise include pharmacovigilance and drug safety.

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