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Fibromyalgia treatment options increase with gabapentin

Lana Bandoim's picture

A new study examined the use of gabapentin to treat fibromyalgia in patients who suffered from pain and sleep problems. Although the drug was originally created to treat epilepsy, doctors have been using it for other conditions. There are a limited number of older studies on gabapentin being used to treat fibromyalgia, so the new research is significant.


Researchers found that extended-release gabapentin helped reduce fibromyalgia symptoms and pain. The study was conducted over a period of 15 weeks and only included patients who had documented fibromyalgia. Patients who were taking opioids were not allowed to participate in the research. The study, published in Pain Practice, included 34 subjects, and researchers noted this limitation. They found that extended-release gabapentin provided significant pain relief and improved sleep quality, but more studies are needed.

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Gabapentin is generally used to treat epilepsy, but it is also used to help patients with neuropathic pain. The off-label use of this medication has increased in recent years, and it has been prescribed for conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to anxiety. Also known as neurontin, this drug has helped patients suffering from a variety of disorders, but it has side effects and does not work for all conditions. In addition, the company that manufactures neurontin, Pfizer, admitted that it violated rules by promoting off-label use of the drug.

Gabapentin side effects include dizziness, drowsiness and blurred vision, so doctors recommend that patients avoid driving or operating other types of machinery. In addition, a report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration listed neurontin as one of the drugs that can lead to increased risk of suicidal thoughts and depression. The report updated warning information included with the packaging for the medication.

Read more about fibromyalgia:
Memantine drug shows promise for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia study focuses on brain stimulation to fight pain