46 thoughts on “Bipolar Disorder Medication Spotlight: Neurontin (Gabapentin)

  • October 24, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I have been diagnosed as Bipolar II and at the time I had been taking Neurontin for pain. Not regularly, more sporadically. In the meantime we discovered that I was highly med sensitive when it came to phsych drugs and I had been through probably 8 or 9 and rejected them when I finally begged my pdoc to let me just use the Neurontin because I had noticed a huge beneficial mood change when I took it. I did some research and found that it had been used and I didn’t have any problem with taking it like I did with many of the other meds. She wouldn’t let me because the information was just to iffy as she put it. So I had to take a psych med break because we had been going back to back on new meds for so long and I wound up taking nothing for a while. My mother who also suffers from depression and neuropathy takes Neurontin for her pain and it helps her for both problems immensely.

  • October 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I did augment my Depakote with Neurontin at one point, for 2-3 months. In my personal experience, not only did it not help, it provided no help at best and increased aggression at the worst.

    I did Google it at that point, and the anecdotal evidence on the Internet seems to be that a) the manufacturer is marketing it as off-label for everything from anxiety to xenophobia (couldn’t think of a z- problem, sorry) and that b) it works for some people and not for others, possibly a lot of not others (but you can’t make negative inferences, of course).

    Just my .02, but I’m suspicious of anything more than placebo effectiveness for many ‘off-label’ uses.

  • November 2, 2008 at 9:02 am

    I am BP1 with manic/dysphoric cycling about 4 x a year, my worst months being the spring and summer. I was on Lamictal for 7 months but stopped when it induced depression.

    After a recent visit with my pdoc, and a plea to forgo the Lamictal, (the withdrawal was unpleasant, and I experienced hair loss and textural changes) he prescribed Neurontin with trepidation. He said he had a similar case with another woman who was mainly hypomanic/manic with mixed dysphoric symptoms and who cycled 4x or so a year. He said if it was going to work it would work right away.

    I’ve read all of the mixed reviews regarding this drug. But I have to say that I am one of those people who have benefited from its effects at this point.

    For what it’s worth, treating BP is highly individualized, and oftentimes treatment resistant. Therefore,randomized clinical trials are a poor benchmark for clinical effectiveness. This is why I think you still see pdocs prescribing it despite all of the ‘evidence’ otherwise.

  • January 23, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I was put on Neurontin as a substitute for Benzo’s when in rehab so that I wouldn’t be on anything addictive. This was to treat my anxiety along with Lexapro to treat my depression. For me it was the first thing that worked well. After a year on a fair dose of it, I noticed that my anxiety and depression were culminating into manic episodes. After being diagnosed BP1, I was then placed on Stavzor gel caps (that didnt work on their own which I found out the hard way). Neurontin was added back into the mix with Seroquel, Cymbalta, Stavzor, and Synthroid for my thyroid problem. So now I am at least 30 pounds over weight. And, yes, my thyroid is and has been stable for a year. Topomax made me practically pychotic. What can I do to lose this weight? Im planning to get into a kick-boxing class but having this extra weight is really hard for me since I am not accustomed to being out of shape. Im a mother of two small children so I cant be too out of it. Thanks for any advice you can toss my way.
    …I dont want to feel that this is part of the “sentence” for having bipolar disorder.
    Thank You.


    • September 13, 2018 at 11:35 pm

      Im also BP1 mixed. I gained alot of weight over the years and finally got fed up when i couldnt lean over to tie my shoes.
      I just lost 100lbs by getting rid of bread, dairy and red meats. I ate more fruit and veggies. The weight just started melting off and i wasnt doing any exercise. I followed some people on the vegan diet on Youtube and soon found some recipes i enjoyed!

  • February 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I’ve got say I think Neurontin is an evil drug. I was on it for years and it delayed my diagnosis of BP II for several years, while I spent time in and out of hospitals, with numerous suicide attempts. I would love to sue the makers of neurontin because when I was on it, the psychs I saw kept saying “Well she’s on a mood stabilizer, so she can’t be bipolar.” Years of my life wasted because of this drug. I think it is a nonsense drug, and there’s growing evidence of it being completely ineffective, but meanwhile they put people on thousands of milligrams of it. I would love to have those years back that I missed because this drug acted like a red herring. I’m at least glad you guys have questioned the efficacy of this medicine– it’s about time someone did.

  • April 20, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I’m Bipolar II, and I regularly cycle once a month, but with random switches to mixed states thrown in between. I often get irritable and angry/anxious due to my sudden, dysphoric manias that can last from hours to days.

    Neurontin has helped my anxiety and depression significantly, and has helped with my insomnia. The little aches and pains that manifest during depressive periods are better too. I felt kind of “high” and hypomanic/euphoric for a couple weeks initially, but now I don’t notice any side effects. Skipping a dose by accident will make me itchy, weirdly enough, and a little anxious but not much else. Very safe med too.

  • June 17, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I am on depakote and on Pherphenazine -Trilafon

    I am on Lithium Er 450 and i am on buspar for anxiety .

    So i want to try Lamictal OR Neurontin .

    I have been bipolar and schizo effective for a long time and found out a couple several years ago.

    So i hope this works out for me i just saw my doctor today my psychiatrist.

    So i am doing research on this today.


  • June 24, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I was on Neurontin for chronic back pain. I had a friend that thought after 33 years, I was bi-polar. I had been on different anti-depressants, but they just made me feel nothing. She suggested I triple my Neurontin, I had nothing to lose since I had no side effects. Within two weeks, I had my old life back. It was a miracle drug for me. I take 2100mg. I\’m not sure if that\’s too much or just right. I may try to taper down a little and see if it makes any difference. I had no idea I was Bi-polar. I have no side effects. It\’s like taking vitamins for me. I have much less back pain as well. I have done a lot of research on it. I am on the right track.

  • July 27, 2009 at 5:43 am

    I am bipolar II,rapid cyling-I can be only stable for 3 months in a year rest of it passing with shifts of depression,hypomania,mixed episodes and I also have ultradian cycles.I am on lamictal and depakene and have been added neurontin about a month ago for sleep.Before neurontin my sleep was terrible but now I can sleep very well and have no drowsiness in the morning.It also stopped my restless leg symptoms.Recently I had a mixed episode.I do not know if it is triggered because of neurontin.Time will show if it is improving my cycles as it improved my sleep.

  • October 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I started neurontin for shingles pain 4 weeks ago. Within 1/2 hour I noticed a rapid improvement of my mood. I have tried many anti depressants and found I cannot tolerate them. My depression has lifted and I am me again!!! So far5 this is working great.

  • November 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I take gabapentin 600mg splitting it 300 in the am and 300 before bed. I cannot sleep without it anymore. Honestly it makes me relaxed but I can’t say it has helped my mood swings. I also take 150mg of lamictal every morning which does the job. The gabapentin eases me and helps the fidgetyness I get sometimes,

  • November 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I was prescribed Neurontin for seizures after a head injury a few years ago, and then more recently for epicondylitis at the elbow. A side effect of this drug was an improvement in my mood. I am 47 yrs old and have been diagnosed with mild BPII but refused treatment and meds because of horrible side effects. My immediate family refuses to believe that I am BP. I hide it well. However, my live-in boyfriend believes I am BP, and says that Neurontin is my “happy pill.” I ran out once and it got so bad that he begged me to start taking it again. Is it possible that the Neurontin has a positive affect on my mood?

  • November 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm


  • January 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I take Gabapentin (the generic form of Neurotin) for Diabetic Neuropathy. I am up to the max per day my doctor told me. I take 3600 mg’s per day (1800 in the afternoon and 1800 at night). While this medication greatly helps with the Nerve pain in my feet, it is no longer taking all of it away. Since I am at my max, I don’t know what will happen now. I also was told I am bipolar…I was not prescibed this for bipolar, but I do know that I don’t lose my temper so bad after being on this drug. Before I could lose my temper and it was almost like someone else was in my body…I could have killed someone and not thought twice about it and not realizing what I was doing enough to stop. I think this is a very good drug, and besides working up to the maximum dose and getting use to the diziness while doing it (working up to max dose), I have not noticed any side effects much besides the eye movement and it went away after I got use to the new dosage.

  • February 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I was prescribed Gabapentin as a sub for Xanax. I am diagnosed Bipolar and GED. Originally it was prescribed for getting off of the Xanax. Afer a few weeks of taking 900mg 3 times a day, i began to notice my anxiety was oddly low and my moods were stabalizing. Ive been taking it now for 6 months. Im amazed that it works so well for me, i thought i had tried everything. I had thought I would be stuck on Benzos for the rest of my life. I hope that i can continue taking Gabapentin. I also hope that since this medicine seems to be pretty safe with tolerable side effects, it will be studied more so that it could be at least available for more to try.

  • February 12, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Ops…im not taking 900mgs 3 times a day, its 300mg 3 times a day.

  • February 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I was diagnosed with BP in the Fall of 2010 so I am just starting medication mixes. I just got an increased dose of neurontin from my DR last week as I had no improvement from it on a dose of 300 in the am and 300 in the pm. I also take depakote that I will be weening off of as it is making me gain weight and I think it’s making me moody in the morning as I cannot get up. Today, I popped a second 400 dose of neurontin 2 hours after the first to address my outraged anger at my kids. It did help relax me and now I will ask the doctor if I can increase to see if it will help my outbursts. I will start lamictal on Thursday to replace depakote. Crossing my fingers! Thanks for all your posts, they were very helpful for a new person on this journey.

  • March 25, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I was taking Neurontin for a nerve pain disorder, but I am tampering off of it because it made me too tired and lethargic and made me really thirsty and crave salty things. I just didn’t generally feel like myself. I left like I was always kind of down and want to sleep all day even when I was happy and normally I have a lot of energy. Also, I would usually forget to take the 3rd dose and the pills were HUGE! It didn’t seem to work for the pain though, although for me the problem isn’t that bad.

  • April 26, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I have bipolar II and take this drug. I also have fibromyalgia. It helps me sleep, which has been HUGE, as I have been an insomniac since I was 12. Incidently, I think the bipolar kicked in at that time as well. It works fairly well for me, though I can still feel myself cycle. I just hit a manic phase, but I just renovated the kitchen rather than other crazy stuff. I think, for me, it takes the edge off. Is it possible to get “used” to a dose? I was on the lowest does and it seemed to help, then I got very depressed and my dr increased the dose. Recently, I’ve been very depressed again. Is it possible that I need to increase it again?

  • November 10, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I was just prescribed Gabapentin for bipolar disorder. I have only been on it 4 days and I have had terrible side effects: fatigue, droziness, irritability, and severe traveling pain in my neck and spine. This drug is not for me!

  • January 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I am taking gabapentin. I have mixed feelings about it. I have doubled my dosage of it. I still get anxiety and have to take ativan (lorazepam) to take the edge off. I take 600 mg. 3 times a day. I have read many things about gabapentin and I think that it is not working like I would like. I went off of it for awhile and had terrible withdrawals from it.

  • January 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

    My husband was recently hospitalized for a non related illness, meningitis, that affected his liver functions. They suspected the Depakote he was taking for his BPII was partially to blame, so they took him off of it and his prozac and put him on Neurontin. I know for a fact it is not working at all for him. He is regressing back to his cycling of depression and agitation. I am very angry at the doctor, because my husband will likely not seek treatment on his own and our relationship will again be tragically affected. We had just had the best year of our marriage ever. Now it’s back to being verbally abused and beings subjected to bursts of rage. He has just started a new job that will also suffer for it. He’s always had trouble with work because of the BPII, and had finally settled into a good routine and getting his feet under him. Thanks for ruining our life, Doc.

  • February 4, 2012 at 4:43 am

    I was just prescribed neurontin 4 days ag for anxiety, I was started on 200mg a day, and just bumped it up to 400mg twice a day. It has helped some with my anxiety, but I still get anxiety at times. I also have had some pretty bad side affects, such as loss of balance, foggy thinking, hallucinations, very irritiable, and a lot of enegry. im not sure how I feel about neurontin, I hated it at first but, now I have so much energy and feel great, so I guess ill have to wait and see if it last.

  • May 1, 2012 at 3:03 am

    I am BPI and cycle about 6 times a year. My mania tends to make me extremely irritable and full of rage energy instead of euphoric (that happy mania sounds so nice!) and has been annoyingly resistant to most ‘normal’ BP meds. After several years of trial and error I have found relief with an SSRI, Topamax taken daily, and Neurontin taken as needed when I am manic. It settles me, makes me feel less overstmulted by everything. I can sleep better and function better for sure. It may not work for the people in studies but it has worked well for me a taking the edge off my cycles enough to make it through!

  • July 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I have been on Nuerontin, Lamictal and Seroquel for years. I tried many medications before them and nothing seemed to work for me. I am bipolar and find that this mixture of drugs works best for me. I am terrified of trying anything new because I don’t want to go through the rapid cycling that I was doing over 10 years ago. Nuerontin may not have worked for the people in the studies, but it was definately a “miracle” drug for me.


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