Neurontin (Gabapentin) instead of Topamax

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Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 5/19/2007 10:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Some of you may know me. I have been on Healing Well for a couple of years but absent for the last few months because my migraines had taken a turn for the worse. Hello to anyone who has joined in this time. Welcome and thank you for joining Healing Well. I have found it extremely helpful especially when I have been feeling depressed and alone.
I was taking Topamax as well as morphine and still getting headaches. I also felt very "doped" up. I had tried stopping the Topamax but found I would always end up with a terrible migraine that seemed to last for weeks.
Finally I couldn't take the "doped up" feeling and at my doctors' recommendation stopped the Topamax completely. My GP put me back on Neurontin (something I had tried a few years ago with no luck). This time I have been luckier, the Neurontin (also known as Gabapentin) is working as well as the morphine. I have been able to reduce the morphine and take the Neurontin.
I understand that Neurontin has been used for many years like Topamax but it isn't as severe and doesn't have as many side effects. I am no longer feeling "doped up", I am clear, alert and have days where I am pain free.
The only down side is that I lost forty pounds taking Topamax and have put that back on with the Neurontin. I have decided I would rather be heavy and headache free with few side effects rather than thinner with many side effects.
I look forwards to reading anyone else's experiences with Neurontin. I have also changed anti-depressants from Celexa to Lexapro and have found myself able to deal with life a lot better. I am going through vertigo and extreme nausea because of these changes. The doctor tells me it's serotonin syndrome and will clear with time. It's a reaction to the changes in Serotonin levels in my brain.
Co-moderator Migraine Forum
"In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with." -- Brian Tracy

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 5/22/2007 10:19 AM (GMT -6)   

So glad to hear you've gotten some relief with Neurontin. It was the most effective med I've tried for my chronic daily tension headaches, but like everything else I've tried, it only helped for a month or two. I tried it again several months ago, hoping it would be effective again, but no luck. My neurologist has now taken me off of Topamax, unsatisfied with the results (some improvement in severity, but still daily pain). We're trying Lyrica, which I understand is in the same class as Neurontin -- so far, as much relief as with the Topamax, but without the side effects. I see my doc again in a couple of weeks, and I'm guessing she'll want to increase my Lyrica dosage. (Actually, I'll suggest it and she'll likely agree, if it's medically OK -- One of the reasons I like my doc so much is that she respects me as a full partner in fighting these headaches and always takes my suggestions/ideas into full consideration -- pretty rare for a neurologist, I think!!)

The weight loss from Topamax is a nice side effect, isn't it? I lost most of the weight I put on while on high doses of amitryptaline. I'm now on a low dose of it (25mg/day) and Lyrica, and so far haven't put on any additional weight -- but until the amitryptaline, I was a "naturally skinny" person who had never had weight problems, so I don't know that my experience is typical. But for me, trading pounds for pain relief would be an easy decision!

Hope things keep working out well for you!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 189
   Posted 5/22/2007 11:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Just wondering about the Topamax - I have been asking my neurologist about putting me on it (my brother takes it and until now has had great success - he says that now he is having problems with his memory and he believes the Topamax is causing it).  My neurologist has said that he is hesitant to put me on Topamax because I have a history of kidney stones.  I think I am willing to take the risk if it will work but would like to know how well it worked for all of you.
DX:  Migraines since June, 2006, kidney stones
RX:  Daily - Verapamil, Trileptal
PRN:  Relpax, Prednisone, Dilaudid, Lortab, Lidocaine Nasal Spray

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 5/23/2007 9:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Baseball mom,

There's been a lot of discussion of Topamax on this board -- a search will turn up lots of people's experiences. Many people get good results -- I wouldn't be surprised if it's the first drug of choice for most headache doctors. The issue for most patients is the side effects. I was pretty fortunate to have minimal side effects, but others on this board have had much more severe problems. As you get feedback, I'd suggest remembering that people who have negative side effects are more likely to post (and be adamant) about their experiences than people who have been helped a lot -- if your headaches stop with minimal side effects, why spend time at a headache forum??!

Each individual patient has a different reaction to this (and other) drugs. You won't know how it will affect you (positively or negatively) until you try it -- the experiences of others is only somewhat helpful. I was pretty apprehensive about trying it, but really didn't have major problems and had some good results (although they didn't last). The most important thing to remember with Topamax is to start with a low dose and increase it slowly, allowing your body to get used to the drug and overcome the side effects. Also, Topomaz can take 3 or more months to reach its full effectiveness (and that's after you reach your target dose), so you have to be patient with it. My neurologist swears by it, although it was her idea to take me off of it when it wasn't working anymore.

Memory and kidney stones were my biggest side effects. The memory thing was only a minor annoyance for me (although some people have SERIOUS problems with this, especially if they increase the dosage too fast. My kidney stones were mostly controllable by drinking large quantities of water -- the only serious problem I had with them was when I was under-hydrated for several weeks while traveling in very high altitudes. But if you already have kidney stones, you may want to talk with your urologist, as well as your neurologist, before starting on Topomax.

Best of luck

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 63
   Posted 5/25/2007 3:37 AM (GMT -6)   
I am also taking topamax 200mg a day and have been for about four months with no results. I too have been off healing well for some time as well. I am getting migranes daily, no lie... my doc refuses to give me anythin other than triptans for my migranes once in a while i get lucky and get and injection of tordal whoo hoo does nothing. The doctors in my community are going on a no narcotic ban seriously because they think we are using them to much. I on the other hand need them to function not because of addiction because of pain. I know the difference between a rebouond and a migrane. I have had these for 25 years now and and would like to give the docs a piece of my mind. I am searchin on the net now for a pain management clinic in hopes I can at least get my doctor to referr me to one. My siginature is old so here is what i am on
klonopin. buspar, and zoloft all for anxiety
topamax, toporal, for migrane prevention
and midrin, and maxalt for my full blown migrane she was kind enough to give me 500mg of napoxen for the BAD ones ugh

Does anyone else get fusterated when somethin works for you and its takin away... I was taking a daily vicodin and dealing well with my migranes but the whole addiction thing was to much they had to be taken granted i never asked for refills early, ran out early sold them or abused them in any way shape or form. Sorry for the gripe session had to get it off my chest.....hmmmm much better now

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 5/29/2007 9:55 PM (GMT -6)   

Topamax: I am up to 400mg daily, which is twice the recommended dosage for migraine preventative. I have occasional issues with memory and have a family history of kidney stones- so I have had them 3 times now. Unfortunately, I have had the discussion with my specialist that I would have to make a decision here to knowingly subject myself to a higher frequency of kidney stones than the frequency and severity of migraine pain. I have to say that Topamax is the only preventative that has made a significant difference and that is how I ended up on twice the dosage. My doc and I have discussed changing and trying an alternative when I get a bad episode (far less frequently than pre-topamax days), but I really can't imagine anything making this much of a difference.

Pain Medications: I have seen several doctors and the have all been very scared to prescribe narcotics. I get frustrated with the fact that if this was a broken leg that they could x-ray, or something tangible they would have no problem "seeing" the pain and believing it. But, since migraine is something that they can not see or touch it really doesn't seem to exist. If this were cancer, would they not treat it just because they were scared to prescribe necessary medication? I just don't think that anyone should suffer, and try to carry on daily activities all while trying to pretend to be "normal" and "ok" just because the ones that are licensed are overly cautious.

ok, well...that's my complaint of the day! Gotta be thankful for what I do have and not focus on what I don't.

Sara-Migraine/Headache Forum Moderator
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Pharmacy tech girl
New Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/31/2012 6:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I have taken both topamax and gabapentin and I would definitely recommend gabapentin. It worked a lot better for me for things other than my migraines because doctors also use it as a muscle relaxer. When I was prescribed topamax I had to be hospitalized immediately. I had severe side effects like memory loss, confusion, difficulty breathing, dizziness, tremors, I kept blacking out, increased heart rate, etc. It was awful and I being a pharmacy tech I would recommend gabapentin over topamax.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 8/7/2012 11:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I am now going through my worst silent migraine ever attack ,in my 4th week and have extra bonus symptoms of aching joints and heavy arm on one side, although it alternates throughout the day, i am getting so fed up of it all and cant seem to get the right medication. i have just started taking Gabapentin from yesterday, not noticed anything yet but i am hoping it doesn't go on for much longer it is really getting me down. Does anyone else have aching muscles and joints, it lasts the same length of time as the parethesia and alternates with it too so i know it is migraine related. When will it stop !!!
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