Somehow Took the Worst of the Symptoms Away
Tramadol & Gabapentin
Citation:   SensationSeeker. "Somehow Took the Worst of the Symptoms Away: An Experience with Tramadol & Gabapentin (exp104074)". Oct 3, 2019.

50 - 2500 mg oral Pharms - Tramadol (daily)
Tramadol Finally Beaten with Gabapentin

I spent 7 years on Tramadol, tried to get off of them multiple occasions, and eventually ran out of luck.
I spent 7 years on Tramadol, tried to get off of them multiple occasions, and eventually ran out of luck.
It’s been about 8 months since my last Tramadol, and I will never take another one because I know I will be right back in the same boat. The withdrawals are unreal, and last for 2 ½ weeks acute and months for post-acute depression. I have to say up front, and wish this was more out there, I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT without a drug called Gabapentin (aka Neurontin). Here’s the narrative, it’s long, but I feel like I need to get it out there, because I could not find anything when was looking. Skip to the bottom if you are just interested in the Gabapentin solution:

When I got out of the military, I had persistent neck and shoulder pain, with an associated arm tingling and numbness. I knew it was from a service-connected injury, but foolishly never documented this while I was in. Regardless, I was receiving care from the VA and used them as my primary care giver.

One week in 2007 I had a flare-up and was tired of not being able to turn my head, so I presented to the ER. I had been prescribed Perc’s before for an unrelated after surgery, and found that….well…..I loved them. Between 2002 and 2008 whenever I could get my hands on them I would use them recreationally. I love a good dopamine/ serotonin rush, who doesn’t!?!?

Anyway, much to my disappointment, I was sent out of the ER with 30 50mg tabs of Tramadol. Something I had never heard of, and was told by the ER doc was non-narcotic and non-habit forming. Well, I popped one on the way home, and felt nothing, except pain relief……what a gip! The sad thing was, whenever I took opiates when I was on Tramadol, I felt very little. I think my receptors were probably all taken by Tramadol. So at my next regular VA doctor appointment I discussed it with my physician. He reconfirmed the non-narcotic classification, but this time referred to it as “pseudo-narcotic”. OK, whatever, it works, and it doesn’t give me a buzz, so it can’t have withdrawal, right? After a year or so, I ended up changing to a private practice because the VA was unwilling to prescribe Ambien, which I wanted.

So I go in to the new doctor, let him know the deal and he had me on a prescription for 30 50mg Tramadol. The thing was, while I had started seeing a new private practice doctor, my VA script was still active, and yes, I was still filling it. So I was steadily stepping myself up to 60 tabs over a 30 day period. Why? I have no idea, I wasn’t getting anything recreationally from them. I remember thinking to myself “I wonder if I will get addicted to these”.
I remember thinking to myself “I wonder if I will get addicted to these”.
In hindsight the crazy thing is I probably already was. This new doctor again reconfirmed the “Low-risk for abuse”, and he gave me the Ambien, Score!

So over the next 3 years, I started refilling the script a few days early every time. As it worked out, my scripts had 3 refills on them. Whenever the pharmacy called in for a new refill, the doctor apparently noticed that I was early and upped the qty. So over a period of 4 years I periodically stepped up from 30 tabs, to 60 tabs, to 90 tabs, to 120 tabs, finally arriving at 240 tabs of 50mg Tramadol tabs for a 30 day supply, plus my 30 tab supply from the VA. I stayed at this level for a while, during which I first realized that I may be addicted.

My wife had a job interview around three hours away and had to leave at 5:30 AM. Well, I had accidentally left my Tramadol in the car, and didn’t realize until I woke up around 10:00 AM. I wasn’t working that day, but I can’t remember why. So didn’t really matter, right? Wrong!

Fast forward 6 hours and the fun begins. Our son was 7 at the time, but was very self-reliant and entertained, thankfully. I started feeling cold as hell, which is contrary to my normal state of always being hot. Despite being cold, I was sweating and was having the worst muscle aches and body pain. Everything inside my body was screaming for the Tramadol. I guess anyone who has come withdrawn from narcotics understands this, but Tramadol is my only experience with this. So I can’t and won’t say it was any better or worse than coming off other drugs, it just SUCKED! I was roaming around the house going through waves of anger (at myself for forgetting), depression, resignation, motivation (to be able to wait for wife to return), rinse repeat. The god-awful symptoms finally leveled out after about 7:30 PM, I had no idea how late she was going to be back. So as a distraction, I watched ‘Hurt Locker’. Finally, at 11:30 PM, she arrived. While trying to not show any signs of “Your Husband is a Junkie”, I calmly walked out to the car and popped 4 Tramadols into my mouth, and laid on the couch content to wait for these terrible symptoms to subside. This was the largest single dose I had taken to this date, I remember making a note of that as I popped them. This is also the first time Tramadol gave me euphoria, or a noticeable high. It was more of a “HOLY FUCK” I’m glad I feel better. I felt better, a lot better, almost high. As the Tramadol kicked in with great enthusiasm, my hair was tingling, euphoria, everything was great.

Then a year or so later I moved, away from where the VA was and I needed to find a supply to supplement my script. I looked online and it didn’t take long. They specialized diagnosing you over the Internet after you fill out a form. No narcotics, but they did offer Tramadol, and that’s all I needed. I was a little nervous about getting scammed, but low and behold, it worked. So for a mere $100 per month, I could replace my VA supplement. Sweet!!

I rode this train for the next year or so, slowly increasing my dosages. I used a local pharmacy that let me pay out of pocket for early refills when insurance wouldn’t. Always made sure I had them. Sometimes even pushed myself into withdrawal to see how far I could go, but also because the feeling of dosing to relieve the symptoms was awesome
the feeling of dosing to relieve the symptoms was awesome
! And now the house of cards starts to shake…

I was coming to the realization that my current path was unsustainable, and I needed to get off these pills. I tried probably 15 times with varying levels of results, but never succeeding. I tried writing down my dosages (at this point I didn’t know, I just took them), tried to pushing doses later, and cutting one tablet off the end of the day, tried a shit-ton of ways with no success. I wasn’t even able to bring my tolerance down….Sucked. By the end of my ordeal I was regularly taking 8-10 tab doses 3-5 times a day.
So obviously at this level of consumption my supply was weakening. I have spent many an hour in a number of Urgent Care clinics complaining about this neck pain that reoccurred every 6 months or so. I was always careful not to go to the same one twice, and always filled my scripts at local pharmacies without insurance. I had no idea what lists I was on, or if there were actually lists to be on, quite paranoid. Sometimes I scored 3 tabs, sometimes 5 (Doctor called my bluff). Around this time, the online company I was using grew some sort of morals, and cut me off.

It so happened one day in early July last year that I ran out, but had nothing in the pipeline, huge fail. I told my wife (who didn’t realize what I was doing) that I had left my pills in the hotel I stayed in during the previous week’s biz trip. It was a Sunday, so I called the pharmacy and asked them if I could get an early refill and gave them my excuse. Mind you this was 2 weeks since my previous script was filled. She told me I needed to have my doctor call it in. So I called the emergency number and my doctor called me and we discussed what ‘happened’. He said, no problem, and said he'd call it right in. So I was happy. Well apparently the narcs at the pharmacy told him of my habitual early refills. This was probably the most uncomfortable, degrading, demoralizing discussion I have ever had. Not only was I being called out, I wasn’t getting any Tramadol that night AND he cancelled my all my refills saying I needed to come in for consult. I told him I was going to withdraw if I didn’t get any. His answer was ‘Well I guess you have to go through that then’. Now I’m all for tough love, and think this was the trigger event for the eventual ending of my addiction. Going cold-turkey from that high a dose and 7 years can cause seizures, and this was the guy who kept stepping me up. I spent that evening in the ER telling the doc about my ‘neck pain’. He said “well, I know you’re not a drug seeker, no one ever asks for Tramadol!” It was time to get off this shit.

So while skipping some details, cause this is already too long, I was saved by Gabapentin. My uncle is a doctor and first suggested this when I was honest with my family. Now, this stuff works, but one has to be committed, and willing to take a shit-ton of Gabapentin, and willing to throw the shit away. My uncle prescribed me 540 600mg Gabapentin, which is funny because it takes a huge paperbag full of pills. I cold turkeyed and got up to about 7,200mg of Gabapentin in a matter of 2 weeks. I built tolerance to this stuff very quickly, but it somehow takes the worst of the symptoms away. I still knew I was withdrawing, I could function though, and I didn't become exhausted. After about 2 weeks, I realized I could start tapering off the Gabapentin to nothing. What I was left with was no acute symptoms, but I still felt like shit. I was depressed as hell, so my new doctor (fired the last guy after he hung me out to dry) put me on Cymbalta, which is doing the trick.

I know this was long as shit, but hopefully this will give someone hope. I think a 7 year, 2,500mg/ day Tramadol habit is close to as bad as it gets with this drug. Good luck.

Exp Year: 2013ExpID: 104074
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 36
Published: Oct 3, 2019Views: 19,626
[ View PDF (to print) ] [ View LaTeX (for geeks) ] [ Swap Dark/Light ]
Pharms - Gabapentin (183), Pharms - Tramadol (149) : Not Applicable (38), Therapeutic Intent or Outcome (49), Depression (15), Medical Use (47), Addiction & Habituation (10), Retrospective / Summary (11)

COPYRIGHTS: All reports copyright Erowid.
No AI Training use allowed without written permission.
TERMS OF USE: By accessing this page, you agree not to download, analyze, distill, reuse, digest, or feed into any AI-type system the report data without first contacting Erowid Center and receiving written permission.

Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the authors who submit them. Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.

Experience Vaults Index Full List of Substances Search Submit Report User Settings About Main Psychoactive Vaults