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How Effectiveness Does Gabapentin Have for Nerve Pain ?


Neuropathic pain is a chronic nerve pain that can significantly impair a patient’s functioning and quality of life. Neuropathic pain results from damaged nerves that have been affected by tissue injury due to trauma or disease. Diabetes mellitus and herpes zoster are commonly associated with the development of neuropathies. Other disease states that may result in neuropathic pain include complex regional pain syndrome, radiculopathy, and phantom limb pain.

Neuropathic pain can also be medicationrelated, as in the case of nerve damage due to cancer treatment.

Neuropathic pain originates from the reduced inability of a neuron to relay messages to and from the brain because of damage to the nerve. This can cause a person to feel a variety of sensations or hypersensitivities.1,2 A patient may feel different types of pain, depending on the origin and cause of the pain.

Neuropathic pain can be distinguished from nociceptive pain by determining the quality of the pain. Typically, patients experience variations in sensation or hypersensitivity. Neuropathic pain symptoms can be classified as negative or positive. Negative symptoms of neuropathic pain are described as a loss of sensation or numbness. Positive symptoms are characterized by the increased perception of pain or abnormal sensations. Positive symptoms can be either induced by a stimulus or spontaneous (nonstimulus induced).

Gabapentin at doses of 1800 mg to 3600 mg daily (1200 mg to 3600 mg gabapentin encarbil) can provide good levels of pain relief to some people with postherpetic neuralgia and peripheral diabetic neuropathy. Evidence for other types of neuropathic pain is very limited.

The outcome of at least 50% pain intensity reduction is regarded as a useful outcome of treatment by patients, and the achievement of this degree of pain relief is associated with important beneficial effects on sleep interference, fatigue, and depression, as well as quality of life, function, and work.

Around 3 or 4 out of 10 participants achieved this degree of pain relief with gabapentin, compared with 1 or 2 out of 10 for placebo. Over half of those treated with gabapentin will not have worthwhile pain relief but may experience adverse events. Conclusions have not changed since the previous update of this review.

Gabapentin is a medication sometimes prescribed to people who have epileptic seizures. This drug also can be used to treat chronic pain, specifically neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is often described as a very sharp, shooting type of pain that stems from a problem with the central nervous system.

Using gabapentin for pain is just one of many options available to chronic pain patients. A person’s success level when it comes to using gabapentin for pain relief can depend on the type of medical condition causing the pain and other treatments he or she is undergoing.

Patients suffering from conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and shingles may have success with taking gabapentin for pain treatment. Some people may be prescribed gabapentin as their sole form of pain treatment, while others may take this medication in conjunction with narcotic pain relievers.

Gabapentin typically is given to those suffering from a life-long illness involving pain and is not an optimal pain treatment for short-term problems such as a broken bone.

This medication needs time to build up in the body and is not an overnight pain solution. A patient should not stop taking gabapentin abruptly just because he or she is not experiencing immediate positive results. A person who is concerned about whether gabapentin is helping his or her pain should consult a doctor.

If a patient who quits taking gabapentin does not do so properly, then he or she may experience withdrawal symptoms such as chest pain, insomnia and extreme anxiety.

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Posted in Gabapentin, Nerve Pain

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