Pain Channel
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Anticonvulsants such as Lyrica® (pregabalin) or Neurontin® (gabapentin) are often used for nerve pain. They are also sometimes used to control seizures and to relieve anxiety. Other tricyclic antidepressants that are often used for nerve pain include amitriptyline and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Cymbalta® (duloxetine). These medications can also make you sleepy, though usually not as much as the opiates.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and some other cannabinoids have been used in the treatment for pain. Some people claim that marijuana (whose active ingredients include THC) can improve neuropathic pain, but its use is illegal in many countries. Although marijuana is still illegal in the United States on a federal level, several states now allow the medical use of marijuana. The prescription drug Marinol® contains dronabinol, a cannabinoid, but it is not approved for the treatment of pain.
Interestingly, antidepressants have been found to help control pain. This may be in part because those living with chronic pain tend to have more depressive symptoms. However, sometimes antidepressants improve pain symptoms in people who have not been diagnosed with depression. Other factors, such as increased serotonin or norepinephrine (neurotransmitters), may also play a role.
Antidepressants have been shown to be at least partially effective for some people with pain associated with fibromyalgia, arthritis, nerve damage, tension, and migraine headaches, as well as low back pain.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) can be a safe and effective treatment for mild pain. However, it should be used with caution in people with liver disease, and people should avoid taking more than the maximum recommended dosage to prevent the risk of liver damage.
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