Neurontin for Fibromyalgia

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Gabapentin, or Neurontin is an anti-seizure medication that is also used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN, the burning, stabbing pain or aches that may last for months or years after an attack of shingles. Gabapentin has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of fibromyalgia, although some doctors may prescribe it for such use off-label.

What it is

Neurontin (gabapentin) is structurally similar to Lyrica, though it sports a lower price tag. By comparison to other drugs used to treat fibromyalgia, Gabapentin seems appears to be at least as effective as the tricyclic antidepressants, but has a safety profile with less side effects and fewer potential drug interactions. It is thought that people with fibromyalgia may benefit from the medication’s effect on slow wave sleep and its ability to reduce restless leg syndrome.

Effectiveness

Gabapentin may be effective in treating fibromyalgia, but studies are fairly limited. There was a 12-week randomized, double-blind clinical trial, where patients taking gabapentin experienced significantly less pain, better sleep, and less fatigue than placebos, but the drug had no effect on acute pain points. However, there have not been long-term studies done to date.

Side Effects

Fatigue and stomach pain are two of the most commonly reported symptoms and they are sometimes severe enough that patients will stop taking it altogether.

Sleepiness, dizziness, and coordination problems are commonly reported side effects. If side effects are a problem, discuss them with your health care provider before discontinuing the medication. A dosage adjustment may be helpful.

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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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