• Neuropathy..How Long after chemo does it last?

    Asked by rubio on Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Neuropathy..How Long after chemo does it last?

    I completed 6 months of chemo for breast cancer in April of this year. I am taking Neurontin for neuropathy which seems to not be working anymore after 2 months.

    28 Answers from the Community

    28 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Symptoms from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy can go away, or it can be permanent. With my dad's chemo for his first cancer, it did eventually get better. Although I didn't really pay attention to the length of time it took to improve.

      Some people on here have taken neurontin (gabapentin) like you, and it has helped them. You might want to ask your doctor about the possibility of using the antidepressant drug Cymbalta. http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/results/summary/2012/neuropathy0612 to see if it might be helpful.

      almost 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I waiting to find out too. I finished chemo in late March and my neuropathy has gotten a little better but not a lot. I haven't had any pain from it, just numbness and tingling and some balance problems related to it.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Cindy's Avatar

      I still have it after 1 year and 8 months although it has improved. I no longer have balance problems and pain on the top of my feet with even a sheet touching it or swimming. I still have some numbness and tingling in the front half of each foot. I occasionally have leg cramps (several times a week) - I'm not sure if that is related to the neuropathy or not.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had numbness and tingling in my arms and legs throughout my chemo but it has mostly gone away, chemo ended in August. I still have occasional numbness in my fingers but it seems to be getting better day by day.

      almost 8 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I still have a little residual neuropathy...comes and goes, but nothing bad....for me it didn't last long.....I took neurontin for side effects of the AI's...it helped with joint pain and night sweats...I was taking 1800mg/day....I think the answers are going to be as varied as the person who answers....

      almost 8 years ago
    • SunnyCloud's Avatar

      1 yr and 1 month later I still have some tingling in my feet, legs, and hands. Now and then I feel it more if I get upset. I never took medicine for it because I was advised that the medicine had far worse side effects.

      almost 8 years ago
    • sls' Avatar

      I am 5 years out and only experience difficulty in the cold. The doctor told me anything after 3 years is permenant.

      almost 8 years ago
    • myb's Avatar

      I still have tingling in hands and feet at almost 2 months after finishing 12 rounds of chemo. Numbness started sometime later but has progressively gotten worse so I started 300mg of Neurontin at bedtime to help me get to sleep because the tingling was keeping me up. It helped for getting me to sleep but after being on it for 2 weeks, I started feeling very tired and I was still tingling. I decided I would rather be tired from not sleeping then taking a pill so I stopped taking the Neurontin. The numbness get worse from more activity but I accept it as the price of being cancer free.

      almost 8 years ago
    • JudyS's Avatar

      I am 1-1/2 years out and I still have it. My fingers and hands were on fire - very painful, I could not sleep at night with it. I also have numbness is my feet. I take 2400 mg of gabapentin (generic for neurontin) and cymbalta every day. I used to take 3600 mg of gabapentin but was able to get it down to 2400 mg. I think mine is permanent, I'm just hoping for the day that it subsides enough that I can get off of the medicine. When I wait to take it, 3 hours later and the pain is there still. I'm thinking of going to see a neurologist to see what they think. You definitely should let your doctor know that the current dose is not helping and see what they suggest your should do. Here's hoping your neuropathy goes away very quickly!! Good Luck and hang in there it will get better.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Schlegel's Avatar

      If you can afford it, try acupuncture. It worked for me; however, I did not think it was working, so I stopped the treatment after four treatments. A week later I realized I was much better. Our cancer support center provided five free treatments.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      I'd check with your oncologist. I had almost two years of chemo for Stage IV Ovarian Cancer. The oncologist told me as we started that the neuropathy in my feet might not go away. I'm glad he told me, however, I must say knowing that we truly got rid of every small cell of this cancer, that loves to come back and smack you, is gone and that I am cancer free... I'd have done it again and again. My fingers are a bit numb, sometimes I do the most creative typo's on line. But my feet are fairly numb. On occasion my balance is affected. I found while treating my diabetic cat who developed neuropathy, that Vitamine B-12 (5000 mcg) works wonders on my feet. You can find it at a health food store. When taking it I'm much better... sometimes I just let it slip... and it comes back. I've been cancer free for almost seven years now. Well worth the bit of pain and numbness. I danced at my grandson's wedding, and have held my great granddaughtr and great grandson in my arms. I'll be 70 next May... I look at what I've gained - these years with my husband, and children.. I put my hand in the Lord's hand, he has led me through the surgery (would you believe a 39 lb tumor?) me neither, through the chemo... and throught the years that followed. God is Great!

      almost 8 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      Some neuropathy goes away, some is permanent. It is really too soon to tell. My oncologist told me to take B6, it helps. Also, our hospital just had a day of wellness for breast cancer patients. 40 women attended. Several have this issue. Some are finding that accupunture is working well for them as an adjunct therapy. Additionally, yoga and reiki have helped a lot of us. Better days ahead! Wishing you the best.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Russ' Avatar

      Dear Rubio,
      Neuropathy is caused by: a B12 deficiency, certain chemo drugs, lyme disease, diabetes, and HIV. I understand that it cannot be cured...but confirm it with your doctor. It has only been over the past 15-20 years that the medical field has found that certain drugs used for convulsions, can also deviate the pain from neuropathy. I am a 12 year pancreatic cancer survivor, and my neuropathy has been getting worse over time. This is not to say that your's will not diminished over time. I take 3600mg of Gabapentin every day, along with 100mg of Nortryptaline every day. There was a time that I would also take Oxycodone pain pills to alleviate the pain at bedtime. I have stopped taking the pain pills, and live with the pain in and out daily. I am sorry that I could not provide you with a brighter outlook, but as one reader suggested... speak with your doctor. Best wishes...Russ

      almost 8 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      As soon as I think mine is getting better, it flares up again. I, like you, take gabapentin and it seems to be working. I'm 8 months out of chemo and it started to bother 6 weeks into chemo. Talk to your Dr about increasing the amount of gabapentin you can take. I know the max is around 3600 mg so you may have a little room to play with it. I get by on 900 mg every morning. For me it's the numbness that's the worst. Some people have found relief by taking alpha lipoic acid. This is an over the counter supplement you can take with the gabapentin. Of course, you want to clear that with your Doctor first. Good luck to you!!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Shoeless' Avatar

      I started taking gabapentin (neurontin) and amitriptyline (elavil) for nerve damage resulting from the surgery and neuropathy in my feet, presumably from the chemo, shortly after my surgery. That was 11 yrs. ago. I'm still taking them and still have some nerve pain but not nearly as much as in the beginning. I also still have the neuropathy and if anything it has gotten worse. I thought the meds had stopped helping at one point, so I stopped taking them. After less than a week I started again due to both getting worse quite quickly. Just because the symptoms aren't gone doesn't mean the meds aren't helping. Talk to your doctor - maybe he/she needs to adjust the dosage. I will most likely have to deal with these inconveniences for the rest of my life, but I am alive, and enjoying every day of it.

      almost 8 years ago
    • galiher7's Avatar

      I finished my chemo in Aug. 2011 and I still have neuropathy in my fingers and feet. I have tried several different meds and nothing has helped me so far. I may just have to live with it. It is very annoying.

      almost 8 years ago
    • CathyG's Avatar

      Due to diabetes I have had neuropathy in my feet for perhaps 15 years. Now after chemo I also have it in my hands which seem to get progressively worse. I am on gabapentin which doesn't seem to help much but I don't know how much worse they would be w/o the medication. My feet and hands always feel cold to me but others have said they only feel cool to their touch. I have found that wearing wool socks and gloves to bed keeps my extremities warm enough that I can fall asleep. You can buy fashionable wool socks today and I would try them to see if they would help.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Russ' Avatar

      Dear Rubio...Neuopathy is caused by, cancer treatments, diabetes, lyme disease, a B12 deficiency, and HIV. Iwould recommend some blood work by tyour doctor to determine if you have/or had any of these possibilities. It is damaged nerves and it cannot be cured. It can be treated with several medictions, but I believe that there is no drug that is specifically for Neuropathy. All of these drugs, neurontin, gabapentin, cymbalta, nortriptyline, etc., are all medications that are used for depression. seizures, anxiety, etc. They found about 15-20 years ago that these medications help to relieve the pain from Neuropathy. I have had Neuropathy now for 12 years. It is getting worse, so we increase the meds, or try another one on top of all those that you are already taking. Visit with your neurologist, if you have one, if not get one. I have tried to stop taking some of these meds, but it gets even worse, so I guess they are helping to some extent. Good luck to you and Happy Thanksgiving.

      almost 8 years ago
    • lilkathy's Avatar

      I went through chemo for 4 1/2 months. Ending in Aug of 2012. Have had pain in my legs ever since, as well as lower back and the soles of my feet. Doc says its neuropathy but the gabapentin he gave me does nothing so Im not sure. Anyway it has been 11 months and it seems to be subsiding but not by far gone.

      about 7 years ago
    • Blue's Avatar

      Sometimes I wonder if walking bare foot through warm sand might improve my foot neuropathy.
      Hands seem to be much better earlier in the day. Either that or I don't notice the numbness and tingling until I've settled down at day's end. I do notice some improvement, and I am not taking meds for it.

      about 7 years ago
    • papabill's Avatar

      Hi lilkathy,

      As with lilkathy, I also completed my series of chemo one-year yesterday and developed the neuropathy in my feet and finger tips after the 10th of 12 FolFox sessions. (By the way, this was in spite of receiving infusions of magnesium and calcium both pre- and post-chemo infusions and I just recently saw a published study that claimed that magnesium and calcium are ineffective.) Bottoms of my feet feel like I have stiff boards attached making it difficult to do much walking. Toes feel as if bound tightly in rubber bands and cause much discomfort, especially when I wiggle/bend them. Fingers function okay, but the tips are impacted. I learned that the side effects from these drugs they prescribe can bring on even more problems/side effects and that many have abandoned them because they found the side effects worse than the neuropathy itself. My NP oncologist has me alpha lopoic acid (1,000-1,200mg per day) along with B6, B12. B- complex and folic acid, as studies show they (especially the alpha lopoic acid) can help regenerate the nerve coverings destroyed by the chemo that protect the nerves. Once destroyed the nerves are exposed, thus causing the neuropathy. Been taking these supplements now for about 10 months and "they" say if there will be improvement it can take 18-months to 2 -years. I heard some have found relief with acupuncture - not covered by insurance. Welcome any feedback on supplements, timeline and/or anything else found effective. Keep the faith.

      about 7 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar
    • Justellen's Avatar

      My last chemo was january 13, 2014. (folfox) A few weeks later my fingers felt calloused when they weren’t and then the tingling started. During chemo I made them give me the lowest dosage of oxi, because neuropathy was my greatest fear, as I am an artist. I am trying acupuncture. I think it is working. I’ll keep you posted.

      over 6 years ago
    • jenp's Avatar

      I finished chemo about 11 years ago - I have neuropathy in my feet (mainly the bottoms of my feet). It hasn't gone away, but it's not constant (or not constantly that bad - my feet feel tired most of the time, even if I haven't been on them all day, but it's usually bearable). I occasionally have really bad pins and needles. I once in awhile have nights where my feet just are not comfortable at all, and I can't sleep. (like tonight). I don't take anything for the pain except very occasional ibuprofen. i have found that foot rubs from my husband help a lot. :) I don't think it ever goes away, maybe for some people. My oncologist told me it would possibly be permanent, and it has been so far. I had taxotere (among other drugs) in my chemo regimen, I've heard that drug is a big one for causing neuropathy.

      almost 6 years ago
    • papabill's Avatar

      Just an update: I completed my 12 sessions (6-1/2months) of post-surgical FolFox chemo (oxaliplatin) in August 2013 and still have the chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy in my feet and slightly in my finger tips, which commenced after my 10th session. For me at this stage my toes feel like they are wrapped tightly in rubber bands/duct tape and the balls of my feet feel as if they are swollen (they are not), especially pronounced when walking . There are nights when I try and go to sleep it then feels as if my toes are being squeezed in a vise. While I do not have the typical neuropathy symptoms of burning and pins and needle stabbing as depicted in the commercials, most times it is livable except I cannot run with the grandkids like before and then on those many nights it really flairs up with that squeezing that prevents sleep. Overall I have been taking high dozes of Alpha Lipoic Acid (1,200mg) along with folic acid and B6, B12, B complex, but have not seen any improvement. The best for me has been on the nights when the feet feel so squeezed is to take 25mg Ambien and after about 30 minutes or so it kicks in and eases the feet enough for me to get to sleep. My oncologist also said if by now there has not been any real improvement, it is most likely permanent. For others the chemo-induced neuropathy does subside within a couple of years. Hopefully it will be for you, too. They say chemo is the gift that keeps on giving. And it seems for me they were right. Keep the faith.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Connielt's Avatar

      My oncologist nor the nurses ever explained the vast side affects of chemo nor the numbness to my feet, hands and my imbalances or the blackened feet affect. My nails are about to fall off too. I always thought that cancer victims were extensively counciled but I never witness that. If I didn't persue my issues I wouldn't know. I am thinking of making an appt with Nuerologist to find out how best to deal with my issues. I've been in remission since April 25th and thought I would be a lot better by now.

      over 3 years ago
    • papabill's Avatar


      Saw your posting today relative to your chemo-induced neuropathy. I am over 4 years post-chemo and still have the neuropathy in my feet and fingers. I was told by my oncologist at that time that for some the neuropathy can diminish after about one year. After that, if no improvement, most probably will be a life-long condition. I tried taking specific supplements that were to potentially off-set the neuropathy; specifically alpha-lopeic acid and a series of b-vitamins along with folic acid. I tried them for several years and for me no avail. I then tried acupuncture, again no improvement. But, there have been studies that have shown that in some these do work. Yes, you are so early in post-treatment so you just might be one of the ones that will find that spontaneous relief within the first year or so. But, certainly do consult with your neurologist and gain input as to any suggestions made; ask about the supplements and acupuncture too. You may learn something the rest of us do not yet know and can pass along valuable input. You are right, one must advocate for themselves. As they say, chemo is the gift that keeps on giving. Keep the faith.

      over 3 years ago
    • Jessicagebo0's Avatar

      My friend had chemo and compketeted chemo in Oct 2017, he still has severe tingling and numbness in his hands and feet. He takes 300 mg of gabepentin a day with no relief. Any suggestions for him

      over 2 years ago

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