|Treatments for neuropathic pain||| Print ||
Start by asking your GP. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to nerves and is often described as burning, sharp or shooting. Sensitivity to things which are not usually painful (e.g. light touch) and heightened pain sensation to things which are painful are both common.
The two main groups of drugs used to treat neuropathic pain are the medicines commonly used to treat depression and epilepsy.
Antidepressants are effective in treating neuropathic pain at much lower doses than those used to treat depression. They work in a different way to their effect in depression.
Traditionally, amitryptiline is the one most often used (doses between 10 mg and 100 mg) but some of the newer antidepressants such as venlafaxine have also proved to be effective.
Gabapentin is one of the antiepileptic drugs and has well-documented effectiveness in the treatment of neuropathic pain. Other antiepileptics are also used and all have different modes of action so that failure to respond to one does not mean that others will not work.
Often a combination of drugs works best, e.g. antidepressant and antiepileptic. If you are prescribed these drugs, it does not mean that you are either depressed or epileptic!