Neurontin ‘Snake Oil’ Lawsuit Upheld

Neurontin ‘Snake Oil’ Lawsuit Upheld

The U.S. Supreme Court this week let stand a jury verdict that ordered Pfizer to pay $142 million to Kaiser Foundation Health for the illegal marketing of Neurontin, an anti-seizure drug that is widely prescribed off-label to treat fibromyalgia and migraines.

neurontin_1_1366888aThe decision clears the way for lawsuits by Aetna and other health insurers against Pfizer for the off-label promotion of Neurontin, a drug once infamously described by a top Pfizer executive as “snake oil.”

The cases stem from a 2004 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, in which Pfizer agreed to pay $430 million dollars in fines to resolve misdemeanor criminal and civil charges for the marketing of Neurontin, which is also known by its generic name, gabapentin.

After the settlement, Kaiser and other insurers sued Pfizer to recover the cost of Neurontin prescriptions they paid for, but were prescribed for conditions the drug did not effectively treat.

Originally developed by Warner Lambert, which Pfizer later acquired, Neurontin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1993 to treat epileptic seizures and in 2002 to treat some types of neuropathic pain.

But the drug companies also promoted the drug for other uses through publications, medical seminars and in private communications with doctors.

Neurontin soon became a blockbuster drug, with annual sales rising to $2.3 billion, as more and more physicians prescribed it off-label to treat a wide variety of conditions, including bipolar disorder, depression, diabetic neuropathy, migraines and fibromyalgia.

According to some estimates, over 90% of Neurontin sales are for off-label uses. Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs off-label for uses that have not been approved by the FDA, but drug makers are prohibited from marketing their products for those conditions.

Neurontin’s popularity seemed to mystify some of Pfizer’s own executives. In a 1999 email under the subject heading “social phobia,” Christopher Wohlberg, who was then Pfizer’s executive medical director, wrote this:

“Gabapentin (Neurontin) is the ‘snake oil’ of the twentieth century. It has been reported to be successful in just about everything that they have studied.”

Another Pfizer executive wrote in a memo that there was “negligible evidence” supporting Neurontin’s use to treat bipolar disorder or depression.

“There is pretty good consensus among experts in the area that gabapentin is not a good anti-manic treatment,” wrote Atul Pande, then vice-president of Pfizer’s neuroscience division.

Both the memo and the email surfaced years after they were written, after discovery motions were filed by lawyers suing the company.

“The manipulated research and information behind the marketing of Neurontin misled physicians, pharmacists and patients alike into using this expensive drug for off-label uses where the evidence did not support it,” Kaiser Foundation Health said in a statement.

The Supreme Court ruling, which was made without comment, allows similar claims by health insurers against Pfizer to proceed. They could potentially turn into a class action lawsuit.

“While we are disappointed with the court’s decision denying the petition, the company has strong defenses on the merits in the cases that will now proceed in the lower court,” Pfizer said in a statement.

Authored by: Pat Anson, Editor

There are 60 comments for this article
  1. Lisa M Carswell at 12:06 pm

    Also has anyone broke out with a rash….I have and it’s all over my back & itches something terrible. I also noticed I get small & large red bumps on my face….I was Blessed with clear smooth skin until now. To see & feel all of these different & additional problems you did not have until you was told to take these medications to relieve the initial pain. And a person dealing with depression from chronic pain does not need a drug to ADD TO THE PROBLEM. This is just awful & horrifying. You never thought it would affect you in this way. It’s just sad!!!

  2. Robin T at 1:01 pm

    I was prescribed Gaba about 6 years ago and ended up in a psych ward for a suicide attempt. I went cold turkey in there for 5 days before the shaking, pain and leg spasms would stop. Because this is not considered an addictive and mind altering drug, then I was not given any good medical care during the withdrawals. I was actually diagnosed with a psychotic illness. Upon leaving the hospital, my husband and I decided that I would not renew this medication, or the Cymbalta. I did not get the new psych drug either. I have felt so much better since. I don’t have a mental illness. I am happy and lost that crappy 60 pounds that was gained.
    I have since been diagnosed properly for the pain and am on a low dose extended release narcotic. I function very normal with it and feel that the damage in my spinal cord very much warrants the use of this narcotic.
    My observation of the comments made have been validating my thoughts of this drug. The few people that have had good results from it and feel the side effects are worth it, clearly have very intense seizure disorders or real CNS neuropathic issues. Things that are within the prescribing guidelines. I would never want this medication taken from these patients. Just want doctors held accountable to prescribe medications based on clearer and more specific diagnostics. I worked for Doctors here in the U.S. for 20 years and I heard at least 80% of them at one time or another say in some form, “I’ve got to prescribe something or patients get mad. If I don’t than they tell everybody I did nothing for them”. This just is not right. People need to be willing to do diagnostic testing. Make the doctors explain what is happening in your bodies.. I have always asked the scheduling personnel to schedule extra time for some medication management counseling and physical exam. Doctors will bill my insurance company more, but my copay is the same. I would much rather spend that much money on a 20 minute visit vs. a 5-10 minute one.
    I do however have a big problem with members of my family. I have a brother with a spinal cord injury and is on Gaba, antidepressants and narcotics. He has become a completely different human being. And has had constant depression and suicidal thoughts. My mother has post polio lupus and both kinds of arthritis. She is on medications for it. She went to the doctor last year because she was having a hard time falling asleep. The doctor didn’t even talk to her long enough to realize that she is a new widow and was developing slight anxiety to sleeping in her bed that she shared with my father for 49 years. He put her on 900 mgs of Gaba.
    Within the last year she has now been put on antidepressants, meds for her kidneys (one to stop flow and one to start flow?) and has gained over 35 pounds.
    She had a new knee put in a couple of weeks ago and is staying with me. I have cut down her Gaba and Narcotics. She did have some jumpy legs for a couple of days and Home nurse had her take Xanax at night. Today is her 10th day without the Gaba and she is “coming back to us”. She seems like the woman I grew up with. Yes she has knee pain but when I give her Tylenol, she feels better. MY BIG PROBLEM: Her dang GP has her convinced that she can use the Gaba for everything that she feels. I took her home for a few hours yesterday. She did not complain of any pain until I was helping her get ready for bed. While putting her shoes away, I noticed Gaba in her shoes. She had some at her home and started taking them.
    I love these two people immensely and am at a loss as to help them realize that they are being overprescribed and over drugged. I know withdrawal is hard to do. I know that they think it CAN’T be the meds because the Drs. say its okay. They both say “At least I’m not on narcotics like you” {ouch} “I know it works because I am in within 10 minutes pain if I go past my dose”. I don’t want to send my mom home and watch her get all drugged up again and not even care whether she gets out of bed or rehabs her new knee. I’m tired of my brother crashing cars and wandering around town in the middle of the night. But they are both adults and do not see what this medication is doing to them. I can’t speak to any of their doctors because of the new privacy rules. I have talked to both of them until blue in the face. (along with by brothers and sisters). Has anybody had any success with getting a doctor to get more knowledgeable about what this drug is doing to the random lives that they are throwing this easy drug too and actually HELP there patients get off of it and properly diagnosed with correct medication?

  3. Lisa M Carswell at 5:51 pm

    @Nicole I have IC. I have been taken Gabapentin(for Fibro)& Cymbalta(depression) for almost two years now, I thought getting off pain meds & switching to Gab. (non-narcotic drug) would be better for me because I have been afraid to get addicted to the pain meds….I have been dealing with chronic pain for over 20years….But now I wish I would never have taken 1dose of this very strong drug….I can’t miss a dose or else it feels like I got hit by a
    truck, my heart feels as though it’s about to bust through my chest, shortness of breath, serious anxeity, many sleepness nights, headaches, & muscle weakness. Now I’m at a lost because I’m TRULY AFRAID my body will completely shut down if I stop taking them….And to make it even worst is I still feel that achy, burning widespread pain associated
    with Fibro. I take elmiron for the IC & have a InterStim implanted for frequency….I really hope they find a cure for both….these two illnesses are sooo painful they will have you thinking of suicide more often then none!!

  4. Nicole Steinke at 7:08 am

    I find it interesting reading everyone’s views on gabapentin. For me gabapentin is better than not taking it. I have fibromyalgia pretty severely & I am only 26 years old. I am up to taking 3000 mg a day of gabapentin but I still have to rely on tramadol & cannabis pills to get me through each day. I loved cymbalta but my insurance stopped covering it last year so my dr switched me to Effexor for depression but it’s nothing like cymbalta. Cymbalta I loved because it helped my neuropathy pain, my depression & my anxiety. It’s ludacris to me how insurance companies work! I don’t have my medical insurance again till April & my gabapentin is costing me 400 a month. It’s crazy. But I’ve tried going off it before & my body won’t let me. If I’m 1 min past taking my dosage of gabapentin at night my feet start feeling tingly & I start to get shocking pains throughout my body with each min that passes. It’s been so bad before that it had me in tears throughout the night. So since being on gabapentin for 5 years now, I’ve learned to always carry a backup dosage in my purse if I’m not home when I need to take it. Anyway, I can say this, when I mixed cymbalta with gabapentin my need for a higher dosage wasn’t there. I was able to go down to 1200 mg a day mixed with 90 mg of cymbalta. Anyway, the amount of issues that really do comes with fibro is crazy to me. I hope they find better medicine for us all so we don’t have to still take 20 other pills. Anyone else have blatter Issues? Now I’m stuck taking dicyclomine for the interstitial cystitis I have. I feel having fibro only exaggerates my pain for EVERYTHING else I have. I had my 2nd surgery in August last year for endometriosis. I am proud to say I chose the route of not staying on pain narcotic medication although it was tempting. I found cannabis capsules helped control my pain better than any narcotic EVER has! Will I get off gabapentin? Never. I feel that concoctions of medications with herbal supplements works the best. Too many people give up on gabapentin too easily. It’s about finding the mix of medicine that will work for you along with the correct dosage. Now that I’m on 3000 mg of gabapentin I have better relief but not without combining that. I have come to terms with the fact that I will forever be on medication.

  5. Jamie at 8:42 am

    Of course no one goes to prison, these drug companies can do what ever they want. When these lawsuits roll in from the families of dead patients, they always simply use a small portion of their windfall profits to settle out of court, admitting no guilt.

  6. Kathryn Devette at 11:22 am

    I was treated with it for fibro myalgia. Made me feel awful.

  7. Erin at 12:16 pm

    What people need to understand is that drugs WILL ALWAYS MASK THE REAL ISSUE THAT YOUR BODY IS TRYING TO TELL U!!
    Putting synthetics into your system-of course ur gonna feel like crap.
    I would suggest at utilising pain management psychs who DON’T advocate for drugs to help minimise symptoms. Ur body n ur brain r build a certain way the withstand so much-yet sometimes with these drugs it’s only going to make ur body defected.

  8. Janis Holloway at 6:38 pm

    I was on Neurontin for my Fibromyalgia many years ago. I found that not only did it NOT take away any of the pain, but it left me in a fog. I couldn’t think, concentrate, remember little things… Then I moved to St. Louis and had to start over with new doctors, and guess what? They wanted to start me on Neurontin. I flat out told them, I’ve tried it, it didn’t work, and I won’t take it. They now have me on Lyrica, which seems to help some. I started developing neuropathy in my feet since I’ve started the Lyrica though, which makes no sense, since Lyrica is prescribed for that as well… I tried to get put on Cymbalta, but since that is actually an anti-depressant, I had to go through my psych and he had said no. I’m trying to remember to ask the new psych I see about the Cymbalta. The VA is very stingy when it comes to pain meds. I can’t even get them to prescribe me Percocet for break through pain. They’re afraid I’ll become addicted to it. What about the other meds I take that have the potential for addiction, to include Lyrica!!?? I really don’t think these docs know what they’re talking about half the time.

  9. kim wurzer at 8:08 pm

    I am on 1800mg and I dont feel it helping anything for my fibro. I ask for something else and am told there is nothing.I am happy this came out

  10. Mary Adams at 12:47 pm

    I was prescribed Neurontin for neuropathy. 100 mg. for the first week at bedtime, 200 mg. after that. It wasn’t helping at all with my pain so my dosage was increased to 300 mg. I began having nightmares of huge 4 inch bugs, thousands of them crawling all over the walls in the whole house. I was afraid to go to sleep. I had to cut my dosage back down to 200 mg. at bedtime but now I’m suffering with depression; feeling hopeless and worthless. I wondered if it might be this medication so I took only 100 mg. last night and my thinking is much clearer and more positive today. I’m going to stop taking it altogether. It doesn’t help at all with my pain of Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Sjogrens, or Raynaudes anyway.

  11. vic at 5:20 am

    2400mg a day then tried to wean off, went slowly down to zero, debilitating migraine headaches back, so went back on and under control broken neck

  12. Edie Chernack at 1:23 pm

    I was prescribed neurontin for fibromyalgia pain several years ago. I am prone to experiencing side effects of most medications, and usually the rare ones. Sure enough, I lost a molar. I have good oral hygiene, but the tooth rotted and had to be extracted. My rheumatologist keeps pushing savella and lyrica and cymbalta. I refuse to even try them. Any medication that the potential side effects are worse then the symptoms for which they are being taken…not even worth trying as I always experience at least one negative side effect, if not a whole handful of them. Good luck to all and I agree, the patients should have a class action law suit, as we are the ones who were truly affected.

  13. Renee H. Ritchie - Gazarkiewicz at 1:52 am

    I had been put on Neurotin back when a Dr. wrote & publish an article about it I think back in 1998 treating patients with RSDS/CRPS. I made me mean, lethargic, raging, but I could fall asleep at a stop light. It made my migraines worse. I called my Dr. & told him I was going to stop taking the drug. Thats putting nicely Because I was very point blank at how I said it. I hated how I felt on that medication it made me feel worse.

    I have a friend where its been a God spend medication for her. It helps her function a semi functional life to where before she was bed ridden or Wheel chair bound with help..

    So like many medications it can be a God send medication for one or hell for another. Doctors need to be mindful & run those blood & urine test to monitor thier patients kidneys, livers, & pancreas functions. Mine does test every 4 months to protect me. I have had adviser reactions to a lot of medications over the from the ones to this to Stevens/ Johnson’s Syndrome, to losing 3 months of my life to KLONOPIN. I started it in Oct. dont remember Halloween, Thankgiving, Christmas, or New Years. I do remember waking up in IUC after being there 3 days. My liver couldn’t excrete the Klonopin out of my system & I was dieing from a toxic overdose. Although I had only been taking of my of meds once a day instead of three times a day for over a month. My bp when admitted was 56/32 & I wasnt ti happy about being there I was pissed.

    So it could be any med prescription or over the counter that can kill you with the right dose. You know whats so sad about all of this The Human brain & nerves are one of largest organs you cant live without but the last one for the Medical science to learn about & they dont even understand one iota of it thats needed to know to help so many of us with pain & Neurological issues.

  14. amyc at 10:11 pm

    I have beem on gabapentin for 2 years now. For bipolar and back spasms. It really has helped with my anxiety, but barely for the back pain. And it helps me sleep. I

  15. Cheri Ramey at 7:18 pm

    I was on Neurotin for two years, I suffered from many side affects along with massive weight gain. I felt dizzy, and it made the RSD worse through the tremors, etc. I hope there is something that can happen to those of us who were prescribed this drug to help with a chronic pain diagnosis.

  16. T. Lynn at 10:20 am

    This floors me. After a cervical fx and closed head injury in 1995 I was prescribed Neurotin. The dose slowly increased to a dose of 1200 mg TID. Between Doctors they figure it treats seizure dx, mood dx, depression and pain. The last three years I have been begging to have the medication slowly reduced so I could see if life could be lived without it. (I believe it could and want me previous health back).
    As I read the above comments it only enforces my beliefs and concern. I agree that a class action suit should be started for patients. That money be given elsewhere turns my stomach.
    I am certain Neurotin slows me down, makes me tired and feel drugged, and it liquid poison. I will do whatever possible with my time to help start a group for patients. I’m SICK of being held captive by Neurotin.

  17. Kathy FlorCruz at 9:48 am

    At the start of my trek thru back pain hell along with a series of lumbar shots I was put on Neurontin, with a vague “take up to 9 a day”.I found they threw me under a very black cloud & thats ALL that crappy drug did. Told that to Dr. & he mused that I was about the 9th pt. to say that and it was obvious it was being prescribed like penny candy. Profits over patient care will ALWAYS cause injury. Meanwhile drug co’s sue each other etc, toss millions back & forth, & we try to avoid getting hurt in the fray. What BS.

  18. Deb Kushner at 2:30 am

    I was prescribed Neurontin for fibromyalgia. I was told by rheumatologist that I had to try this first before he could prescribe Lyrica. I had bad side effects of night terrors that woke me up and worse fatigue and in a constant fog. I stopped taking it and never got to Lyrica, which actually is approved for fibromyalgia.

    Years later a pain specialist wanted me to try Lyrica. I reluctantly agreed. My insurance company refused to pay because that said I had to take Neurontin first! These insurance companies don’t deserve a dime. They are the ones requiring us to take it for off label user because it is cheaper than Lyrica.

    There should be a class action lawsuit for patients to get reimbursed. We were the ones who were duped. Not by the drug company, but by our own insurance companies. Now the insurance companies have the nerve to sue for their money back! This is ridiculous!

  19. DMN at 10:32 pm

    GABAPENTIN ….. steadily becoming confused….two days off that medication my head became clearer, but NEVER HAS BEEN AS CLEAR AS PREVIOUS. I won’t drive anymore because my concentration is gone. I can tell you details about 10 years ago…. but, what I ate for breakfast? Cannot be sure. I related it to gabapentin, and now, I am very pissed off. Will I ever get my mind back???

  20. Erin Hindman at 9:53 pm

    My mother was on this for Fibromyalgia and she was addicted and it caused lots of memory problems as well as other cognitive problems. I just want to say here too. Please if you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, please research all of your symptoms. Look up rare disorders especially autoimmune and genetic disorders. I was diagnosed with Fibro, so was my aunt and as I said my mom. I just found out I actually have a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Many in my support group were misdiagnosed with Fibro too. I also was told by a doctor that Fibromyalgia is just a diagnosis doctors give when they do not know what is wrong with you. Don’t settle for that! I didn’t and am at least on a path to a better quality of life-research too the alternative groups and all natural or homeopathy routes-it is worth it-most homeopathy has no side effects-awesome! peace and love to you all.

  21. Sandra Jacques at 8:58 pm

    I’ve been taking Neurontin to prevent migraines for 12-15 years. I’ve not had any serious reactions, but I believe I have some cognitive problems that might be related.
    This past year I had peripheral neuralgia before I had back surgery. The Neurontin dose was increased but didn’t make any difference. It still take it to prevent migraines along with verapamil SR.

  22. Bonnie Beach at 8:54 pm

    My husband was on Neurotin for several years for headaches. He came home from work one day about 2 years ago had a seizure that lasted for several hours. They gave him medications at hospital and gave to much and changed the seizure medication 3 times in 1 hr. He was sent to Louisville sky care went into respiratory arrest in route. Took him down at u of L to ventilate and finally on to Jewish via ambulance. Test the next day showed Brain tumor Gleoblastomia. Surgery was done chemo and radiation even though not cancer but the only way to treat . He passed 18 months later

  23. Neea at 4:51 pm

    I first was introduced to gabapentin several years ago when I was not able to use anything from my waist down for several weeks. The particular doctor came on duty before I was admitted and told me that I would have the use of my legs back the following day. I did not believe the doctor. I had already spent several weeks with trying everything else in the book with the doctors trying to get me to have use of everything below my waistline. Ofc, the doctor was right, the next day I was up walking , not steady but yet and still walking. I have been on it ever since.
    I take a combination of 1500 mgs of gabapentin, vicodin, meloxicam on a daily basis for now until the team of doctors and I deem it necessary for me to do the surgery on my back.
    I did find out that when I skip a dose, because I am a firm believer in toughing out the pain instead of taking medication… I am unstable on my feet, need help taking steps, and can not properly do complete care of myself on my own. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t take away all the pain, but it allows me to be able to do alot of the things I could never do for myself….by myself. I can take about 100 steps a day with it versus bed ridden or not being able to take 5 steps before becoming bedridden.

    L5,L4,L3,L2,L1 protruded, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, sciatica, spinal stenosis, spondylolysis

  24. krychick at 1:26 pm

    I was prescribed this in conjunction with Lithium and Klonipin to treat BiPolar disorder. I took half the dose prescribed to me (I do this with all my medicines as I believe doctors over prescribe in dosages and I believe the body needs to slowly adjust to a medicine you’ll be taking for more than a few days) and it worked for a bit- not so angry, less mood swings- pretty okay, but hard to tell if it was any one of the three medicines. I cut back on the gabapentin until I was off it and feel the same, so I concluded this medicine wasn’t doing anything or not much of anything. From what I’ve read about it, if it’s not really helping you, why bother? Doctors will tell you everything in the book and you’re supposed to follow along? I don’t think so. Research all your medications before you take them and you decide if the potential side effects are worth it to you. After years of doctors throwing anti-depressants (which most have been discontinued or “black boxed” because of side effects) at me because I was misdiagnosed with major depression for 10 years before getting the correct diagnosis and medicine (Lithium, tried and true). I haven’t had a manic episode in a few years and no prolonged depression. I don’t think the Gabapentin really did anything at all for me, and it’s one less med I can take, all the better.

  25. Tia at 10:31 am

    I’ve tried it too, a couple of times.. I also have CRPS/RSD, for 20+ years now.

    First time it worked to a certain extent then side effects were just too much vs the amount of relief i got. Second time i never really gave it a chance, only tried for 3 weeks then gave up to try Lyrica.. same scenario but now best pain relief with Cymbalta. (together with an SCS, 40mg methadone a day plus breakthrough pain meds ) Took a while for side effects of that to settle down but now, 3 years in i notice if i forget a dose or when i tried to cut down.. my leg is on fire within hours.

    But what i want to add here is something that mine seem stupid to some.. but for the others who continue to take a medication in spite of intolerable side effects.. YOU CAN STOP – without your drs say so!! No one ever should stay on a medication if it makes them feel worse than the pain or amount of pain relief/symptom control. I was an RN and it completely amazes me that any individual thinks they must listen to every word their Dr says. Most Drs don’t truely know what it is to have pain like this, letting them dictate your life does a disservice to only yourself.. no one else cares how you feel for real. It is your quality of life.. if a suggested medication or treatment makes it worse you stop it.. no ifs, no buts.. you just stop!

    Obviously many of these medications take time to really impact our pain so if someone were suggesting stop after 2 or 3 weeks, or even months that would be different.. but there are quotes here of people being unhappy after 3 years of taking it. It is your body, take a little responsibility for it rather than continue and ultimately destroy your health further. drs don’t know how it is, they know from theory and from what other patients tell them.. they have no clue what is it to actually live like this or with severe drug side effects. You’re more likely to get better advice and understanding from online support groups..

    In case the guy in Sweden reads.. I’m also here, moved from UK 12 years ago, i have great team of Drs here. 800mg a day is a small dose.. if you get 75% relief from that perhaps ask about upping it to see if more pain relief. At the highest i took 2400mg a day, a lot for my then 45kg body. No side effects so far is great, i got them at first dose level, 200mg a day so they just got higher. Hopefully you can increase without more developing.

    Good luck and pain free days for all.

  26. Paula at 10:23 am

    I have been on Neurontin (gabapentin) for many years. it used to help with the neuropathy and fibromyalgia but not anymore.

  27. Donna at 9:23 am

    I have been on it for about 6 years. Tremendous help for migraines! Some help for the fibromyalgia, but not drastic. I had debilitating migraines. Still have one once in a while, but have Relpax for that. I haven’t gained weight or wanted too eat any more. I think like any other drug, it affects everyone differently. We all have a different make up. I think our society is too quick to sue. I took Darvocet until one person had a problem with it and they pulled it off the market. It helped my fibromyalgia a lot. On Tramadol now. Doesn’t do much for it. Trying to stay away from narcotics…..

  28. Kassie C. Hilts at 8:55 am

    I was prescribed Gabapebtin 600,800,900 mgs for many years and have gained weight over the years and became septic to tonic clonic seizures and I also have problems with my kidneys now and my gullbladder. I have to have my gull bladder out or I will end up very very ill and not be able to come back from it this time. I am a 37 yr old women with 3 children and a step son and my children and soon too be hubby is my life. family is eveything too me. I can’t take the pain that I am in and since taking that stuff and being off of it I have more pain then ever and my comp dr won’t help me anymore with pain meds. So I am to suffer and go with out and I don’t want to eat or drink or even get out of bed. I don’t want to live cause the pain is so dreadful.

  29. Eydie Polk at 8:48 am

    Hey everyone, I’ve been taking Gabapentin for 10 years or so now for Neuropathy…I take 1800 mg a day…Doc says that I can go up to 2400 a day but no more for this pain…I have Post Polio Syndrome, Fibro., Neuropathy, Degenerative Disc Disease to name a few…I do have memory loss as well as some of the rest of you…I read my Bible several times a day, I hate to say this but I can’t concentrate on what I read, can’t retain hardly any thing…I hate this, it does make me very depressed…I don’t know what to do…does 1800 mg of Gabapentin help ANY of my pain…for a while it helped from my face to my fanny but NEVER from my fanny to my feet…I’m in such pain constantly..can’t hardly stand clothes touching me BUT…and to touch my legs is excruciating..I can’t lift them on my own so I have to manually lift especially my right leg and I have “screaming” pain…is the forgetfulness, the not being able to retain part of the side effects?? WHAT are the side effects of this “miracle drug” (yeah right)?? I’d truly love feedback…I need all the help I can get, lol…May God bless and protect each of you…

  30. Mary at 6:15 am

    I have been on Neurontin in August 2013 for fibromyalgia. It has in no means cured me but I can function now. I had minor weight gain in the beginning but I was warned that I would. It also helped with my myoclonus, a seizure-like neurological condition. I can’t find a negative thing to say about this medication.

  31. Pam at 4:45 am

    My dad was put on Gabapentin for neuropathy about 5 years ago and then his dr took him off of it about a year and a half ago for unknown reasons then the pharmacy sent him more of it after he was off of it for a year and when he started retaking it he became paralized from his waist down and ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks. I kept telling them it was the Gabapentin because he had got it on sat. and started taking it on sunday and was paralized by monday morning but his dr would not listen to me. Finally I got ahold of his nuerologist and explained everything to him and he discontinued the meds 3 days later he was not paralized any more but they put him in the nursing home for 2 days till I made them release him to me. So I truly believe Gabapentin is a bad drug

  32. Karen at 10:23 pm

    AMANDA –
    The Neurontin IS the reason for your ‘reaction’. Those are very common side effects from the medication. It is also very dangerous to not know where you are and advisable to discontinue taking this. 3 years of this? Plus weight gain, and no benefit? You would be best to change back to Lyrica or try another drug. Oh, and get another doctor. You should never just deal with a drug that has all those risky side effects. Some people tolerate

  33. Donna at 9:53 pm

    I was placed on Neurontin in the early ’90’s for treatment of Fibromyalgia it didn’t help at all and because it didn’t when my symptoms got worse they stated that it was a psychosomatic pain and I was locked in a hospital for it until I had major leg pain and swelling and more till they took me off the medicine then about a year or so ago my new doctor just wanted to try it she put me on it again for Fibromyalgia and within days I had to be rushed to the hospital for over sedation so I think the patients who have been treated with this crap should be able to sue them too for what their sales reps have told the doctors that proscribe their swill off label for instead of being prescribed something that works.

  34. AMANDA at 8:30 pm


  35. Cassandra at 7:47 pm

    Was on gabapentin for fibromyalgia pain. It never helped with the pain and made me so sick I lost 30 pounds in less than a month. Will never try this kind of med ever again.

  36. Kevin at 7:27 pm

    Neurontin has worked very well for me in reducing one aspect of my pain from peripheral neuropathy. I’ve been taking it for 10 years with very good results.

  37. Diana at 7:21 pm

    I have been on both Gabapentin and Lyrica since 2006 I just recently took myself off Lyrica after reading the disturbing news of the damage the it causes to the brain yes the brain! Same story with Gabapentin aka Neurontin. Cold turkey; three days after massive migraine; 3 weeks through tingling sensations in my face and nose; increased sensation in pain by 30-50% prescribed for fibromyaligia pain.

  38. Robin Redd at 3:22 pm

    The comments plus my own experience make me glad I found out about homeopathy and ayurveda, both gentle medical systems, unlike the harshness of the mainstream system. I also was prescribed Neurontin. It did nothing for my facial pain from damage done by radiation for a brain tumor but sure did have side effects. There’s many individualized and gentle solutions for all kinds of pain in homeopathy and ayurveda which are focused on addressing the cause and not just nuking the symptom like mainstream med is.

  39. Bittles79 at 2:07 pm

    I was put on Gabapentin for Fibromyalgia and Bursitis pain. It caused severe short term memory loss. I couldn’t even remember if I had eaten, what day it was..etc. I would lose several days at a time. I felt like I was going crazy. I was so scared that I weaned myself off of it.

  40. Dennis Kinch at 10:57 am

    For me it was and continues to be a miraculous drug for my spine pain caused by Paget’s disease. We searched for 3 years and tried different meds for the pain until Neurontin came along. That was 10 years ago. I remember in a pain class one time there were about 10 of us on Neurontin and it turns out 50% exactly thought it did nothing and was useless and stupid while the other 50% thought it was a miracle drug!
    As a society we need to be more accepting and empathetic to those it helps, to the positive side of the issues instead of legislating towards and allowing the negative to control our lives.
    My life has been more up and down since my diagnosis because of these “do-gooders” trying to protect me from the evil empire. Why don’t you protect us from those doctors who still see diseases like Fybro as merely a neurotic claim!

  41. scottfont at 9:49 am

    I, too, am a brain surgery (with several strokes) survivor. I had a ‘thalamic stroke’ during brain surgery that left me with Central Pain Syndrome, an excruciating, burning on the entire right-side of my body.

    Once my neurologist correctly diagnosed my syndrome we began trying standard protocols (instead of handfuls of ibuprofen and acetaminophen). First was antidepressants and mild opiates. Antidepressants made me sleepy and suicidal.

    Then we got to Lyrica, which helped, but was too expensive. Finally we settled on pretty major dose of Extended Release Morphine and 1200mg 4x daily for generic Gabapentin. Those two reduce burning/torture by 40-60% on a good day. On a bad day it does little, that is the syndrome.

    Many in our support group have settled on Gabapentin with an opiate, along with medical marijuana. This is a bad, life-destroying syndrome, with way too much suicide. Anything that helps must be tried.

  42. Celeste Cooper at 9:08 am

    As a patient, registered nurse, health expert, advocate an author, I have been concerned throughout my career regarding off-label use of medications (many times given in samples and not documented in the patients pharmacy file.

    I have been especially leery of what seems to be over-prescribing of neruoleptics and antidepressants for treating anything other than seizure or major life altering depression. These medications come with a laundry list of interactions and precautions. There should always be a benefit/risk analysis. If neurontin, for instance, controls a life threatening seizure disorder, or antidepressants keep a person from committing suicide, then the risk is definitely worth the benefit. However, when these medications are handed out like candy, and they are, by physicians who are not specifically trained to “carefully monitor” the patient, bad things can happen.

    The goal of any medication or therapy is to improve function and quality of life. In my opinion, improvement should be a degree of improvement that allows patients to participate in other therapies and self-treatment modalities.

    Some experts in the field of psychiatry believe that long term use of antidepressants in patients without major depression or significant mental illness restructures the brain and begins to have the opposite effect on the very thing it was prescribed to treat.

    Pay attention to this statement, “Gabapentin (Neurontin) is the ‘snake oil’ of the twentieth century. It has been reported to be successful in just about everything that they have studied.” Physicians should always consider who is doing the studies. Are the studies double blinded and what is the placebo rate? Pharmaceutical sales people who do not take these things into consideration are reaching outside the standard of care. There are some terrific studies, and there are pharmaceuticals that do bring patients relief, but when the almighty dollar takes precedence over patient benefit, we all need to question the intent. It is easy to exploit the person in pain, and we should not be a free study participant without the protection of the monitoring that is done in these studies.

    Great article!

  43. Jessica Beckner at 6:25 am

    I’ve taken Gabapentin/Neurontin for several years following a Porphyria Attack and have seen little to no reduction in pain. It’s worthless to me and will be telling my doctor to take me off of this “medication”….very confused and angry right now…..

  44. xavi at 4:34 am

    (english male in sweden)
    i have been prescribed gabapentin for ms, neuropathic pain,
    800mg a day, spread through the day, 200mg every four hours.
    once it got into my system, takes a couple of days, ive found it helps, alot, not a cure, but it stops 75% of the pain,
    not had any side effects.
    but ive always been tolerant of drugs.
    if i missed a couple of doses the pain comes back with revenge, it might just seem extra bad cos its sudden i dont know, but i do know im going to be on these the rest of my life… along with the other meds i take for other conditions l0l…

  45. Terry Aston at 10:02 pm

    How many of you ever took CIPRO LEVAQUIN or AVELOX…these so called antibiotics cause this so called Fibro… Thne prescribed Neurontin Lyrica and all theother drugs that wil destroy your noew broken body. .Come join many who have had their life destroyed by a Fluoroquinolone join us on “Fluoroquinolone Toxicity 24/7 Live Chat Group”

  46. Lori at 6:39 pm

    To Deb Tortora – I take neurotin for the motor tics and full body tremors. I had these symptoms first and Neurotin saved me. If I don’t take it regularly, the jerking and mini seizures come back.

  47. Terri at 6:09 pm

    I am a survivor from a brain anueryism. After 4years of constant headache, I have found some relief. My pain management doctor has tried other medications with disaterous effects on me! Topamax was one. I have been on gabapentin for only 2 months, 600mg, three times a day. There are still bad days, but less of them. So far, it’s working for me.

  48. Denise Lay at 5:54 pm

    I was given Neurotoin bu my mental health doctor, I must admit I did not have any side effects what so ever, and when things would get really bad for me they would increase the dose, this medication works for me. People must understand that our systems are all different and what 1 person can take 100 may not be able to. Just as with pain medication I understand some people think Diladid is the next best thing to heaven while for me it makes me feel like I have been thrown into a bed of fire ants. Read up on your meds know what they are and what’s in them and especially what they were developed to treat. Do not never hesitate to question your Doctor you are their EMPLOYER and they have to answer to you. If they refuse or put you off time to hire yourself a new employee.

  49. Margo Tuttle at 5:41 pm

    While searching for a doctor to diagnose the severe pain I was in I went to a rheumatogist. I had been through several major surgeries for endometriosis, total hysterectomy and colon resection. I had carpal tunnel surgery done and my median nerve was cut or damaged resulting in almost complete loss of use of my hand. I was in such severe pain and my hand was becoming deformed. The rheumatologist diagnosed me with depression and fibromyalgia and gave me neurontin, along with several other antidepressants. My pain was in no way relieved but became worse. In addition, all of the medications ( NO narcotics) made suicidal. I finally found my current pain management team and am so grateful. I was treated like a drug seeking hypochondriac and loaded up with 7 non-narcotic pain meds including neurontin. What a rip off! If I was not with my parents I may have killed myself. Be aware of Lyrics too.

  50. Tonia Conyers at 4:12 pm

    I have RSD/CRPS. I was put on Neurontin in 2001 by a W/C doctor, who had me taking 3000mg a day within a week after starting it. By the second week, I was having serious problems, and I called and told the doctor I was having problems, including breathing problems, hives, memory loss, and other problems. He told me to stop taking it. Like that. Didn’t wean me off it or nothing. I swear, going off Neurontin cold turkey at 3000 mg is even worse than going cold turkey off Methadone 10 mg or OxyContin 10 mg (only took 3 pills a day of either for the pain, and I had been on one for 3 years, then the other for 3 years after that). Never again!!!!

  51. Jannie White at 3:49 pm

    I was prescribe to take this by a Pain Specialist for my CRPS/RSD and I would pass out and my heart felt like it was racing to just at exploded. When I spoke with my Pain doctor he told me to keep taking it… Oh my when I looked this pain medication up I STOPPED taking it because I really just knew I would die from it and or my brain pattern would change.

  52. sara mullin at 3:48 pm

    I was prescribed Gabapebtin for CRPS, a chronic pain syndrome I suffer from. The side effects were horrible. I couldn’t think straight, I stuttered and stammered. I had memory loss issues. It heighted my anxiety. I had anger issues, mood swings. Weight gain. I am apart of several support groups for my syndrome, and this drug has been brought up due to its horrible side effects. Most have switched to something else.

  53. Al Wilson at 3:24 pm

    I was prescribed gabapentin after I was diagnosed with Central Pain Syndrome stemming from a Parietal Lobe stroke. I take 3,600 mg/day and am glad that I do. I take it along with Tramadol and Trileptal and they keep me from losing all hope in life.
    I tried other drugs that either did not work or had bad side effects for me, so I stopped using them, much the same as people that complain about gabapentin should have. That basic premise is given for all medications, if the side effects are too much talk to your doctor and stop using it. I would think this easier than having your employer remodel for you.
    I am not saying that I don’t have side effects from the gabapentin, I do. However these are more acceptable to me than the excruciating pain that I endure without it. Gabapentin does not end my pain, however it does make it endurable.
    I have tried to cut back on my medications one by one to see if they are actually doing something for me. My pain worsens for each one, so I know that my doctor has figured out a good treatment for me. I also know that unlike others, off label use of gabapentin does work for me.
    The misrepresentation of Neurontin by Pfizer is another story. I do think that the court is correct in it’s ruling in this case. It was wrong to make doctors think that they could prescribe Neurontin to patients for a myriad of ailments and to raise the hopes of people that there was a medication that might treat their ailment.

  54. Rhiannon at 2:56 pm

    I was put on thi med for HIV PRN Pain , I took a 300 mg tablet and within 3 days I was put in the hospital for over 3 weeks. I hate this medication and can actually be very dangerous. it’s also a medication that can bring in a good amount of money street value wise they can be even higher than Opiates on the street, I found this out about 2 years ago from a distant relative who actually buys and sells it on the street.. just so some of you know.. I have also heard peeps say this was the best drug they have ever been on.. no wonder.. I would assume it was good too if I got the high people talk about. This medication has also been known to cause strokes .. check out the lawsuit years ago around 1999 I think it was…

  55. carolynne sasiadek at 2:46 pm

    I was prescribed Gabapentin for pain from MS. I took it for over 6 years without much help. I get more relief from 2 Aleve and 3 Baclofen daily.

  56. Deb tortora at 1:58 pm

    Prescribed for myofascial pain syndrome @ 300mg in spring 2011…upped to 1800 mg by winter 2012. I felt worse so doc kept upping dosage. Weaned off in late winter 2012 & have had complex motor tics and full body tremors ever since. Overly sensitive to touch, light, smells & sounds. It has completely wrecked my CNS.

  57. Shelley Woelfel at 1:43 pm

    Neurotonin has terrible side effects, worse than what it’s used for. I had severe light sensitivity problems that were so bad, my work had to createa special work area for me. I couldn’t take the fluorescent lights above me work area. The lights had to be disconnected, they hurt my eyes and head so bad. I wore very dark sunglasses that had dark sections also on the side.i also had to wear a hat.

  58. Cheryl Theurer at 1:34 pm

    I was prescribed. Neurotin for post herpatic neurolgiia. It was Sept. 1997.. I hated how it made me feel. However it did at a high dose helped the pain but not competly I always felt pain. . Now Itake Tramadol 200. I rarely feel my pain.