Is Gabapentin for Fibromyalgia Safe?

This post may contain affiliate links but at NO extra costs to you. For further details, please read my full disclosure policy.

There are various medications taken by fibromyalgia sufferers to help relieve their symptoms.  One of these medications is gabapentin but is gabapentin for fibromyalgia safe?

Medications for Fibromyalgia

There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are various ways to get relief from the daunting symptoms of fibromyalgia. There are several medicinal ways to manage symptoms such as over-the-counter and prescriptions. Some of the medications are approved by the Food Drug Administration such as Lyrica (approved in 2007), Cymbalta (approved in 2008), and Savella (approved in 2009), but there are many other medications used to treat fibromyalgia symptoms such as gabapentin for fibromyalgia.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin (also known as Fanatrex, Gaborone, Gralise, and Neurontin) is in the class of medications called anticonvulsants and is commonly used to treat seizures in epileptic patients. It is also used to treat the neuropathic caused by herpes or shingles virus. According to, “It affects chemicals and nerves in the body that are involved in the cause of seizures and some types of pain.”

**Warning: Do not suddenly stop taking this medication.**

Side Effects

There are side effects to this medication (including suicidal thoughts or behavior). For those with breathing problems, gabapentin can be life-threatening.

Please consult with your physician about using this medication especially if you have:

  • lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • diabetes;
  • depression, a mood disorder, or suicidal thoughts or actions;
  • a drug addiction
  • seizure (unless you take gabapentin to treat seizures);
  • liver disease;
  • heart disease;
  • or (for patients with RLS) if you are a day sleeper or work a night shift.

The side effects include:

  • abnormal eye movements that are continuous, uncontrolled, back-and-forth, or rolling
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty speaking
  • drowsiness or tiredness
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • vomiting

More serious side effects include:

  • violent behavior, aggressiveness, or anger
  • anxiousness or restlessness
  • anxiety that is new or worse
  • depression that is new or worse
  • irritability that is new or worse
  • mania
  • panic attacks
  • suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
fibromyalgia treatment options #fibromyalgia #fibromyalgiatreatments #chronicillness #beingfibromom

Gabapentin for Fibromyalgia

As stated above, gabapentin is more commonly used to treat conditions relating to the nerves. And because fibromyalgia is known to largely affect the Central Nervous System (CNS), gabapentin is used by some physicians to treat fibromyalgia.

In November 2007 the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) performed a clinical trial of gabapentin on 150 fibromyalgia patients. The patients were given 1,200 to 2,400 mg of gabapentin for 12 weeks. Patients taking the medication reported less pain, better sleep, and less fatigue. Patients had side effects of dizziness and sedation that were mild to moderate.

Here are more reviews of gabapentin for fibromyalgia given by fibromyalgia patients.

But is gabapentin for fibromyalgia SAFE?

Like the other medications for fibromyalgia, gabapentin has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. However, as stated in the clinical trials above, some fibromyalgia patients have been prescribed this medication to calm the nerves and lower pain levels. Some patients have success but many have not been so successful.

Fibromyalgia patients have reported increased thoughts of hurting themselves, higher levels of anger, and aggressive behavior. Others have reported increased joint pain, dizziness, decreased cognitive function and memory, and the inability to sleep. In some instances of those with bipolar, gabapentin triggered a hypomanic state.

So is it safe for fibromyalgia patients? That’s up to the patient to decide and discuss it with a physician. State of mind, all current health conditions, and the drug’s side effects should be discussed in length. Patients should also discuss how to taper off the medication should it be prescribed and the patient decides to no longer take it. Suddenly stopping this medication can have fatal side effects.

Tapering Off

Before quitting a medication, please discuss this with your physician or medical provider. Suddenly stopping a medication can have dire – even fatal – effects. Most providers recommend tapering off a medication instead of quitting ‘cold turkey’. Some side effects of stopping gabapentin include:

  • withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, sweating, or flu-like symptoms. The risks of withdrawal are higher if you’re taking high doses or have been on gabapentin for longer than 6 weeks. Withdrawal symptoms can start from 12 hours to 7 days after stopping the medication.
  • status epilepticus, which is a rapid cycle of seizure activity so that an individual experiences an almost constant seizure for a period of time
  • irregular heart rate
  • confusion
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • Return of nerve pain

Read more about quitting.

44 thoughts on “Is Gabapentin for Fibromyalgia Safe?”

  1. I have been on Gabapentin for the last 10 years. It has worked great for me, although I will admit the dosage has increased over the years. That being said, I went through a lot of life difficulties during the years I have been taking it, and I feel the Gabapentin really helped to keep the pain level down during very stressful events.

    1. I’m so glad the Gabapentin has worked for you! It’s wonderful when we can find a treatment that works. It really does improve the quality of life.

  2. I have been on Gabapentin twice in my life. First time was over 3 years ago was on 1800mg a day and even when my neurologist took me off of it for fear it would negatively interact with my narcolepsy medicine, I didn’t notice a difference. Fast forward to May of 2016, I was getting things re-established with a new pcp. New state. Started Gabapentin again this time just 900mg a day. I started blacking out and I was having seizure like jerking symptoms. It’s weird how one time your ok with it. Next you aren’t. I’ve been diagnosed with fribro since 2013, and other “fun” health issues to tag along with it. I’m married and We have 4 wonderful kids.

    1. That is a drastic difference in reaction to it! I’m sure that was a scary experience. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

  3. I couldn’t handle Gaba. Acted like a sleeping pill for me, even at half dose. It also gave me an altered state. It felt like nothing was real, it was all fake or a dream. I lasted less than a week.

      1. I have been on gaba for 6 years best thing ever still have lots of flares but can mostly live a normal life with the pain where before it felt like my whole body including my hair had a migraine I think with s through talk with your Dr might be worth the try

    1. I can relate to your symptoms. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2004. Gabapentin was prescribed for me and I was supposed to work my way up to 1800mg a day. Needless to say I didn’t make it that far. Like you, I felt as if I were in an altered state. Like I was just going through the motions, I couldn’t concentrate, I felt as though I was walking through a dream. I unfortunately am still looking for what works for me. I have days where the pain is so extreme I just want to give up. However, I keep going and praying. I hope you find a solution and everything goes well for you.

      1. Hello
        I recently switched from LYRICA to Gabaoentin due to the high cost of LYRICA. I only lasted 3 months it was awful, the constant up and down from the time you take it until it wears off again I found to put extreme stress on my body and the overall pain and fatigue that returned was unbearable for me. Within 12 hours of taking my LYRICA again the overall pain, fatigue and brain fog has gone from a 9 to a 2. The cost is astronomical but the relief is priceless.

    2. I’ve never tried gabapentin, but I’m on pregabelin this has helped me keep my nerve pains under control at the moment. I have fibromyalgia & many other health issues x

    1. That’s great that it’s helping you! I hear so many people say it doesn’t help, so I’m glad to hear that it does help for some. Thank you for sharing, Andrea!

  4. Does it do the same as lyrica? I have been doing really well on that but had a big jump in dose, 75mg morning and 150 mg at night plus 120mg of cymbalta daily. It has been amazing but I know I am only in the early days of fibro, only 2 years. I do feel lucky that medications have worked.

  5. I am suffering from spondylolisthesis bilateral L 4 and L5, with lordosis and disc bulge l5-S1 from 2011 and after few years in 2015 it was detected that i am having fifromyalgia too. Last year i got fibroadenosis bilaterally in breast. I am having a lot of pain physically and emotionally too. I m loosing hope now. Pls help me

    1. It may seem there is no hope, but when we are least expecting it, it will happen. Hang in there, Rashmi. Things will turn around.

    1. I have fibromyalgie for 3 Year know and trier cymbalta it des terrible nos I felt with it a real greezly it was so bad that I went to see the doctor and told Her about it so she change my meds to gabapentin it helps a lot but de still have bad days. I would not be able to work. Stop working at 59 and I will ne 62 I keep my house clean with a lot of poser. Spring cleaning 2 hours a days and I pass some days. And I have mpoc and chronic rhumatoïde to.

  6. I took Lyrica for 3 years but my co-pay was $80/mo. Since I’m taking 11 other meds for Fibromyalgia, DJD with spinal stenosis, asthma, sleep and GI issues, depression; it makes $80 unaffordable to this disabled gal’s income. I’d had many bad withdrawal symptoms during those months I couldn’t swing my co-pay. So my doc switched me to Gabapentin ($5 co-pay.) I had no withdrawal symptoms at all during the swap and no change in pain. I’m noticing my dosage is fairly low (1200/mg day,) compared to others here so I have hope increasing it could help me even more. I’m grateful to read this Brandi (from another Christian.)

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Suzi! Being on medication is expensive, and even with insurance, they aren’t affordable. I’m glad to hear you’ve had no withdrawal symptoms. You are one of the few.

      1. James Joseph Mcintosh

        Hi to all the warriors out there. I am blessed to live in Edinburgh, Scotland where meds are free to all who need them,thanks to a labour party member put a motion to the government for a national health service in 1947.
        The bill passed so people on low incomes get free predcriptions.
        I suffer many ailments that are linked to FM.
        God has a plan!!!.
        Take care and rest easy.

  7. I love using Gabapentin, it does help control both my fibromyalgia and myofascial pain. However, I have trouble with side effects. Initially, the only one I noticed was a slower metabolism (I gained 50lbs and had trouble emptying my intestines), but remained on the medication because it worked so well. When my migraines started to get out of control my doctor added Topamax. This made me mentally and physically ill. After being sent for physiatric help they took me off Gabapentin. My husband noticed immediately I was twitching less while sleeping and I was less confused. Unfortunately over time, I had to eventually had to have spinal fusion surgery. I’m currently back on Gabapentin, once again fibromyalgia pain is nearly gone, but in 1 month I’ve gain 15lbs and I’m twitching in my sleep. I am also being closely being monitored for signs of increased depression. As any physician will tell you each patient responds differently and what works for one will not work for another. I wish everyone the best, talk to your doctor about your pain plan and will work best for you. Their are so many options.

  8. I’m glad to have found this site. I just got diagnosed with fibromyalgia and was prescribed Gabapentin today. I start it tomorrow. I also have IBS and Hashimotos thyroiditis. I’ve been miserable this year which has made it difficult for me to fully enjoy my 1 year old grandson. I’m praying this medication will help me. I’ve been taking zoloft, xanax, torodol infections, tylenol with codeine and they did nothing for me. I’ve also been having massage and seeing a chiropractor. I’m desperate for relief.

    1. I’m glad you’ve found my blog, too! I hope gabapentin is effective for you as well. Please be aware of the withdrawal symptoms and how to wean off it should it not work for you. Please let me know if you have any concerns or questions. I’d be happy to help.

    2. My IBS was caused by gluten intolerance. I suffered for years . This year I’ve only had 5 episodes,too much fiber . Best thing I ever did after quiting cigarettes IS Stop Eating gluten. best wishes

  9. I am taking 400 mg at bedtime along with 50 mg of amitriptyline for fibro and diabetic neuropathy. Next month they will probably be increased as I am having a lot of breakthrough pains in my feet since going through eecp treatment. I am also starting cardio rehab on Monday so I’m quite sure the pain will increase, at least in the beginning. But, I expect it will get better with time and exercise, pain control I mean.

  10. I was on Gabapentin for 5 years. I felt disconnected, foggy and dizzy. Eventually I fell almost every day. I gained 50 pounds and had terrible swelling of feet,legs and face. I fell and damaged my ankle so bad I was down for 6 months. I got the cast off was able to walk again. Then I fell and broke my leg, the femur! Down again for another 6 months. I gained so much weight. I weighed 255 lbs. And wore a size 22/24! After coming off I’m down to 200 and have a long way to go but at a size 16 but the pain of fibro keeps me from being as active as I once was. I also blame Gabapentin for the dental issues I’m having. I will never take it again. I also have IBS, depression and anxiety and panic disorder. I am still not myself and wonder if I ever will be.

  11. I’ve been taking gabepentin 600mg three times a day for 4 years. It has made my life, bar able for the last 4 years. With fibro and a degenerative bone disease it helps so much.

    1. That’s wonderful it’s working for you! So few people have success with this medication, so it’s encouraging to see that it does work for some.

  12. I am on lyrica 150 mg. 2 x daily. It has helped the neuropathy pain. I still have all the other symptoms ,pain in shoulders, neck, TMJ, arms, hands, hips and legs and feet. I thought about trying to lower dose, but the terrible nerve pains aren’t worth it.
    I have spells of head pain and itching, and pressure and itching in my ears at times these spells are horrible and I take the lyrica and it gets better in a hr or so. I have been on it for about 5 months now and there is no let up of pain discribed above. The fatigue is really bad, and I have problems speaking the right words and memory loss. It’s really taking its toll now I am 67 and had it all my life I’m pretty sure.

  13. Laurean Keasling

    At first the gabapentin helped to control the pain and i slept good. But boy lately i am up every night and i wake early due to pain, excruciating pain. I have been looking at wanting to try Savella because i have seen what Lyrica’s side effects have done. Oh and i have gained weight too. 50 pounds which is one of Lyrica’s side effects as well. I have been reading that Savella does not lead to weight gain. I am just over hurting by the middle of the work day and waking up every night due to pain.

  14. In had a horrible hypersensitivity drug reaction to gabapentin that made me extremely ill and had horrible withdrawals quitting the medication. Everyone has different reactions, watch your side effects.

  15. I got pain in stomach or intestines. Whatever by belly button. But doctor tested me for fibromyalgia and said every 22 points was tender. Can gabapentin help for pains in stomach and intestines. I don’t feel anymore pains taking gabapentin. But I don’t feel any less pains either. I take fluvoxamine for ocd and linzess and domperidome for gastropresis and zyprexa for sleep 2.5 mg at night. I take 300mg of gabapentin twice a day. Help please. How do i get rid of belly button pains and fibromyalgia pains on top of it.

  16. I am on Gabapentin 50mg morning, afternoon (if needed) and 2 at night. If my pain is not bad I miss the midday pill and also take one at night because I need to wake up to get my daughter’s lunchbox ready. I then feel pain taking one pill at night.
    I still have the bad knee pain and having a referral to orthapaedics. and Neurologist for a neuropathy. I have such severe pain it is unbearable and I am so thankful that at present gabapentin works for me. If it ever failed to work I don’t know what I would do. I am praying that I don’t put on weight as I am eating less to lose weight to help my knee joints. I find it difficult to be on medication that causes side effects that are the same as the problems one is trying to overcome. e.g. causing oedema and overweight both of which I am trying to overcome. It just makes life difficult to move forward. I can’t live with the nerve pain so I am happy I am on gabapentin. I just hope I don’t have to increase my medication and can stay on a low dosage as I have an intolerance to most medications due to side effects. I am happy to read of other people’s experiences as it helps each other not feel so isolated.

  17. I have started Gabapentin/100 mg tonight for the first time. Unlike everyone I am in it due to menopausal issues. Curious if there is anyone else on it for that reason. After reading of the side effects, I’m a little nervous. Researching led me here.

  18. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2001. I was first prescribed Cymbalta, which really did nothing. (I hate “happy” pills.) My Dr. convinced me to keep taking Cymbalta and added Gabapentin. Within days I was no longer limping and snapping at people from pain. So for me only the combination of drugs was effective. I am still taking these medications although the Gabapentin is spread out in 3 doses of 300 mg. Pain came back 12 years later until I was walking side to side again, barely moving forward. This time I needed hip replacements from working on concrete floors for 35 years. Most pains I get now are tolerable. Fibro fog is my frequent companion as is poor balance.

  19. When I stopped using gabapentin, I experienced a terrible hypersensitive drug reaction that left me quite ill and caused me to have terrible withdrawals. Watch your side effects; everyone reacts differently.

  20. I used gabapentin for probably 5 or 6 years. I stopped taking in because I had to for surgery, because of the pain meds I was on after surgery I didn’t start taking it again (I wasn’t in my right/correct mind). I went through horrible withdrawal symptoms. I was also taking cymbalta and stopped it at the same time. I was very lucky that I didn’t have more severe complications from my withdrawal. I now only take 60mg of Cymbalta once a day and I feel better mentally than I have in many years. I still have leg pain, that I am learning to deal with in different ways. I am very adamant about not starting gaba again. I felt in a fog and was very clumsy, IBS was bad too. I feel like the handfuls of medication I was on before were caused mainly by side effects from gabapentin. Fibromyalgia is tough.

    1. I am so sorry you had this experience. It’s fortunate you were able to pull through it; many struggle with it as well. I’m glad you’re able to feel relief with Cymbalta. Fibro is tough!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top