Treatment of chronic pain with
antiepileptic drugs: a new era

Hansen HC
Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine,
Davis Medical Center, Statesville, NC, USA.
South Med J 1999 Jul; 92(7):642-9


BACKGROUND: Shortcomings of traditional pain relief agents have led physicians to investigate other alternatives, such as antiepileptic drugs. Safe, effective, nonhabituating agents are currently available to enhance pain treatment strategies. METHODS: In this article, various pharmacologic options and their mechanisms of action are reviewed briefly, with a focus on treatment of chronic pain with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). RESULTS: Antiepileptic drugs have been widely studied and prescribed for the relief of acute and chronic pain. Similarities in the neurophysiology of pain and epilepsy suggest that AEDs may be a suitable adjunct in the management of chronic pain. Of the newer AEDs, gabapentin shows the greatest potential and appears to be well tolerated by patients. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment of chronic pain remains a challenge for physicians and patients. Further research is required to identify the role of various agents and their effect on patient return to function and quality of life.
Pain measurement
The manic spectrum
Opioids and psychostimulants
Gabapentin, pain and depression

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