Watch out: Gabapentin doesn’t work for back pain

Posted on Posted in Watch Out!

Back pain is one of the most common complaints on the planet.

It is estimated that 80-90 % of the population will have at least one acute episode of back pain, and 10 % or so will suffer from chronic back pain, and full disclosure- that’s me.

But unfortunately, and I am being very kind here, our therapies for chronic back pain are not impressive, and this is especially true for the medications we employ for back pain.

So there is always a hope that some new medication might come along that would work much better than the sorry array we have now.

But alas, most of the new ones don’t pan out and according to a new study published in the great journal, PLOS Medicine, 2 favorite off-label drugs for back pain (meaning that these drugs are used for back pain but they have not been officially approved for that particular use), don’t actually do anything for someone with back pain.

The two drugs are in a class known as gabapentinoids.

More specifically they include gabapentin (AKA Neurontin) and pregabalin (AKA Lyrica).

So they don’t work for chronic back pain, but as always, they are certainly linked with a host of potential side effects and complications, so if you’re taking one of these drugs for the specific complaint of back pain, it might pay you to talk to your doctor about another choice.

If they are working for you, however, ignore what I just wrote: I never argue with a person who is happy with their therapy.

 

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