Patients with chronic pain due to neuropathy or fibromyalgia can find relief with two anti-seizure drugs, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The medications–gabapentin and pregabalin—are also known as pain modulators because they are more notably used to treat neuropathic pain than seizure disorders.
Many people suffer from chronic pain due to neuropathy (by damaged or dysfunctional nerves) and fibromyalgia (a central nervous system disorder that causes multiple symptoms). For these patients, impaired nerves can’t “manage” the traffic of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that often signal pain.
Unpleasant symptoms of neuropathy vary from person to person. The chronic pain can be sharp, burning, shooting, tingling, dull or itchy. Other complaints include sensitivity to heat and cold and pain caused by light touch or pressure. While the origin of neuropathic pain may be challenging to diagnose, some common causes include diabetes, shingles, certain cancers, vitamin deficiencies and trauma. Fibromyalgia symptoms include muscle pain, extreme fatigue or insomnia. Fibromyalgia’s cause is unknown.
In the JAMA study, one group of patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy and fibromyalgia received gabapentin and pregabalin and another group received a placebo. Some patients who received the gabapentin and pregabalin experienced up to a 50 percent reduction in pain.
The study concluded that gabapentin and pregabalin show a meaningful reduction in pain caused by neuropathy and fibromyalgia, and should be considered in the treatment of these disorders.
For help living with acute and chronic pain, contact the Cushing Neuroscience Institute’s Pain Center. We specialize in diagnosing and treating diverse conditions including neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia, plus back and neck pain, shingles pain, headache and migraine.