Still thinking about shingles and gabapentin
My shingles saga began on August 3, and I feel as though it's not over yet. The blisters, which were on the back of my scalp, have been gone for some time. I was scrupulously careful about not scratching them because I'd read scarring could lead to permanent hair loss. But I've been losing hair the whole time, and it's still falling out. At some point I realized I was losing hair from both sides of my head--not just the right side where the blisters were. So I blame the drug gabapentin, which apparently can cause "long-lasting" hair loss. I still don't know what is meant by "long-lasting," but I plan to ask the neurologist.
I was prescribed gabapentin at a low dose (two 100mg capsules once a day) and I cut it in half early on. I was grateful for it at first, as it gave me relief from the unremitting nerve pain I'd experienced from my neck down into my arm, but it soon became obvious it was messing with my mood and memory. My brain is one thing I don't want to mess with! Many thanks to my KT friends for pointing out some of the downsides of gabapentin. I got off it after a few weeks, and waited for my memory to get back to normal and my hair to stop falling out. I'm still waiting.
But now I have another issue to deal with: weird tooth problems involving nerves that act up and settle down, and in one case testing healthy one day and three days later testing dead, leading to a root canal. I wondered . . . since gabapentin acts on nerves, could there be a connection? I Googled gabapentin teeth and found all sorts of complaints about the drug. People claimed it was responsible for their tooth decay and loss. Whether all the accounts are true I have no idea, but the possibility of a connection makes sense to me.
BTW, I've been cutting my own hair (not very well) because my head is still sensitive, but I didn't realize just how sensitive it is until yesterday, when I was outside and a gust of wind parted my hair in the back. Having it pulled away from the scalp like that hurt! But on a positive note I slept normally twice this week--my first good night's sleeps since all this began--and the resulting increase of energy has been dramatic. So encouraging! I hope the other shingles sufferers here are doing well.