Nerve pain, also called neuropathic pain or neuropathy, refers to painful sensations around nerves. A variety of treatment options are available, including anticonvulsants, some antidepressants, mild opioids, and some topical treatments.
Scientists define nerve pain or neuropathy as any condition in which an individual has suffered nerve damage.
This article reviews the main types of medication for neuropathy, discussing which ones have the most positive effects. It also considers what science has to say about non-pharmacological treatments for this condition.
Anticonvulsants are first-line medications that help manage the symptoms of seizure disorders, such as epilepsy.
Although often effective, these medications can cause side effects.
Gabapentin can also cause blurred vision, while pregabalin can cause weight gain.
A person should see a doctor if they notice these symptoms after taking anticonvulsants.
However, these drugs
Amitriptyline is an ATC that can help people manage nerve pain. However, this can lead to a host of adverse effects, including:
In rare cases, some people may have serious side effects after taking amitriptyline. These may include:
Duloxetine and venlafaxine
Examples of SNRIs include duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor). A
However, these drugs can cause side effects.
Duloxetine can cause:
- dry mouth
- difficulties with:
- while walking
Possible side effects of venlafaxine include:
People should talk to a doctor if they experience side effects that affect their quality of life.
Tramadol (Ultram) and tapentadol (Nucynta) are opioids that can relieve neuropathic pain. However, there is some evidence that both drugs can cause side effects, some of which are serious. These include:
Doctors are less likely to prescribe stronger opioids for neuropathic pain. Stronger opioids for neuropathy include morphine and oxycodone, which cause side effects similar to those above.
Morphine can also cause dizziness, while oxycodone can induce breathing difficulties. There is also a risk of tolerance, dependence or misuse, which can lead to opioid use disorder.
A person should seek immediate medical attention if these medications affect their breathing or cause serious side effects. It is also important to follow the prescription carefully.
Topical treatments are creams, ointments, or patches that individuals can place on their skin. The active components of these products must travel through the skin and into the body, where they will affect the nerves.
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In some cases of neuropathic pain, doctors may recommend that a person take several medications at once. However, the evidence for the effectiveness of combination therapy is inconclusive.
The combination of different drugs can sometimes improve pain relief and tolerance.
However, sufficient evidence has not yet emerged to confirm that combination therapy is more effective than monotherapies.
Despite medical advances, pharmacological treatments for neuropathic pain are only effective in less than 50% of cases. Therefore, many people seek alternative sources of treatment for this condition.
There is limited evidence that non-pharmaceutical products are helpful in this regard.
Doctors may prescribe a variety of medical treatments for nerve pain, including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids, and topical medications.
In some cases, they may recommend several treatments at once. However, existing research has not determined whether it is more effective than a single treatment.