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Old 08-13-2006, 04:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Beta blockers/Gabapentin

I've had some success with the supplement Phenibut (GABA derivative)--it makes me a LOT more social and I'm always relaxed and in a good mood the days I take it....however, if I take it more than once a week, I don't feel any of the effects.

I talked this over with a neuropsychologist (friend of my parents). He suggested a beta blocker for the physical symptoms (sweating, heart rate) and Gabapentin instead of the Phenibut (he didn't like the fact that Phenibut is an unregulated supplement). I'm not really sure how similar the effects of gabapentin might be, or if I could take it more often.

I'm switching to a new GP this week. From reading posts on SAS (great forum, by the way), it seems like benzodiazepines are the most effective for SA, but I'm worried that my GP and any psychiatrist I am referred to won't prescribe them because of their reputation for addiction.

So, any experiences with beta blockers or gabapentin? And how does one go about asking for benzodiazepines without it seeming like ***drug seeking behavior***?
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beta blockers/Gabapentin

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariners216
So, any experiences with beta blockers or gabapentin?
Yes, I have experience with both. Keep in mind that the following is simply my personal opinion based on my own experience and YMMV.

Gabapentin (Nurontin) is totally useless crap that does nothing for SA.

Beta blockers do a fine job of reducing pulse rate and blood pressure (I've used them for high blood pressure and they certainly get that job done). As for helping with generalized SA as I have they're useless. Lowering my heart rate does nothing to lower the anxiety that exists in my mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariners216
And how does one go about asking for benzodiazepines without it seeming like ***drug seeking behavior***?
I've simply asked directly for benzos and I don't think I come across as some junkie. I have an extensive record of trying all sorts of drugs that have all been total failures, except for benzos that, in high doses, provide a minimal degree of help. I doubt the average junkie can name off over a dozen meds and tell in great detail all about their side effects and total lack of efficacy. Any doctor who hears my stunning SA story can see I'm the real deal and not just some guy looking to score benzos. It's blatantly obvious that I have severe anxiety issues when I explain how this has been a life-long problem, how I've never had a job (despite earning a college degree way back in 1995), have no friends, no relationships, and am totally unable to do most social things that everyone else takes for granted. Either I'm the real deal or I deserve an Oscar for my performance for my amazingly realistic portrayal of a man with SEVERE SA.

Frankly, I don't know why anybody would try to score benzos for fun. What sort of nut would jump through all the medical hoops to get some downer drug when if they simply wanted a recreational drug they can pick one up in a vast array of flavors at the local liquor store no questions asked. The liquor store is a hell of a lot faster & cheaper than a psychiatrist at $250 an hour for those who want to party.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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How'd you make it through college UltraShy, didn't you have to give a bunch of speaches?
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidPT40
How'd you make it through college UltraShy, didn't you have to give a bunch of speaches?
If the class was elective and required a presentation I dropped it and went with a class that didn't.

For those classes that could not be avoided I took a trip through hell and somehow I made it back alive from this war zone. I did all this without the aid of medication. I didn't even know what a benzo was back then during my college day. I didn't even drink back then. Unmedicated & stone cold sober I had to face this horror.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Gabapentin has been effective for my social anxiety. I'm currently taking about 1800 mg. daily (divided into three doses) and it's definitely made me more relaxed.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beta blockers/Gabapentin

Your doctor might be on to something with the phenibut-gabapentin connection.

PBNC do you feel that 1800mg of gabapentin is more effective than the previous dose of 900mg?
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Caedmon - definitely. For whatever reason, a dose of 600 mg. at a time really seems to do it for me. It gives me a mellow, happy, relaxed feeling and seems to make talking to people a little easier.

I'm always curious, when a drug works, if a higher dose would work even BETTER. I think I annoy my doctor sometimes because I'm always asking for higher doses of things. I try to explain to her that my theory is, if a drug works, you should keep increasing the dose to see if you also get increased benefits, and if not, or if the side effects are too much, you can go back down. That's exactly what I did with Effexor - asked to go to 225, it made me too tense and irritable, so I went back to 150 and am happily staying there. I just want to know that I've tried every possible route to feeling better. I'd hate to think that I stayed at dosage X and felt OK, when increasing to, say, dosage X times two might have made me feel fantastic.

So, the point of my rambling is, I'm curious if continuing to increase the gabapentin dose would result in an even more relaxed and sociable feeling. However, I don't plan to do this any time soon, as there are a couple other drugs I want to add to my cocktail next time I see my doctor. Also, I'm having serious brain fog, which gabapentin is known to do, and I don't want that getting worse. I see my doc tomorrow and plan to ask for Buspar and Inderal - then when I see her again in 5-6 weeks maybe we'll discuss a higher gabapentin dose. Or maybe not - we'll just have to see how it all goes.

I do find, though, that gabapentin has been very effective for me, so if anyone's considering it, don't let all the negativity towards it on this board influence you. Give it a try and see.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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what works good for sweating and turning red?
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Old 08-14-2006, 08:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sewncw
what works good for sweating and turning red?
I would say to you, try a beta blocker (e.g. Inderal) first.
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Old 08-14-2006, 08:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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PBNC, I have read several positive accounts of anxiolysis from gabapentin, here and on another board. Try not to worry about the negativity. It may be a case of confirmation bias.
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Old 08-14-2006, 09:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caedmon
PBNC, I have read several positive accounts of anxiolysis from gabapentin, here and on another board. Try not to worry about the negativity. It may be a case of confirmation bias.

Dude you could totally be a psychology grad student. You probably know more than most
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Old 08-15-2006, 01:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caedmon
Try not to worry about the negativity. It may be a case of confirmation bias.
Positive accounts may also suffer the same bias. We've both read many clinical trials I'm sure and have seen that you can often get 25-35% responding positively a sugar pill.
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Old 08-15-2006, 04:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Oh! whoops, I should clarify that when I said "it may be a case...", the "it" here refers to negativity, rather than isolated case reports. (Sorry, I realize that I put the sentences right next to each other without defining the pronoun.) What I meant to say, then, is that I wondered that some of the "negativity" PBNC observed might not be confirmation bias.

Yep, placebo rates are generally around 30%.
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the replies everybody. Appointment with the new GP is tomorrow. Don't really know what to expect as far as her prescribing anything or referring me to a new psychiastrist, but hopefully something good will come out of this.

For someone who knows about gabapentin/phenibut/other GABA mimetics...I'm wondering if and why I wouldn't have the same tolerance issues with gabapentin as I do with phenibut? I would absolutely love to have what amounts to a phenibut-like feeling every day.
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:41 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Well, I had the appointment with my new GP yesterday. She was nice enough, and seemed receptive to the recommendations of my psychologist.

At the beginning of the appointment she seemed open to the idea of a combination of gabapentin, inderal and therapy. My blood pressure was high no matter how many times she checked it (150/85-90), and it has been for about a year and a half now. This might have been why she prescribed the inderal.

When she came back with the inderal prescription she didn't mention the gabapentin at all. I asked something like "oh, so you didn't want to start the gabapentin now or..?" and she basically said no, not now, and that gabapentin "isn't really indicated for this type of thing, so we'll have to see." She said she would see me sooner rather than later. I'm sure 6-8 weeks is soon for her, but it seems like a long time to me.

The inderal is helping a little bit with the physical symptoms I've had, and my blood pressure is down, but I'm a little disappointed about the gabapentin situation. I start back to school in about a week, and it seems like without any more help, whether it be gabapentin or a benzo or something else, this semester will be just like the last two. Get up, go to campus, go straight to class, sit there, leave campus when classes are finished, of course not talking to anyone I don't absolutely have to.
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Im sorry to hear that.

Unfortunately the reason your doctor probably didnt prescribe the med has nothing to do with your case and everything to do with the history of the drug. Neurontin (Gabapentin) is something doctors like to stay away from these days because of the problems its caused. About 6 - 8 years ago it started being prescribed for all sorts of off label uses, things the FDA didnt approve it for. Then pfizer started advertising it for some of these off label uses and the FDA got very upset and launched an investigation into pfizer and how neurontin was being prescribed in the medical world. This ended with pfizer paying millions of dollars, lots of doctors getting essentially spanked by the government and a general tightening of whats acceptable to prescribe for certain conditions.
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