For some the answer is yes, but for the majority of patients who take these drugs, the answer is clearly NO.
Neurontin (Gabapentin) like its kissing cousin Lyrica (pregabalin) are antiepileptic drugs commonly used for treating neuropathic pain, usually defined as pain due to damage to nerves. This would include post herpetic neuralgia (persistent pain experienced in an area previously affected by shingles), painful complications of diabetes, nerve injury pain, phantom limb pain, fibromyalgia and trigeminal neuralgia.
The studies released on these meds by the drugs manufacturer, Pfizer, should be, like most self funded, research, be taken with a grain of salt.
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Marcia Angell is the author of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. But more to the point, she’s also the former Editor-in-Chief at the New England Journal of Medicine, arguably one of the most respected medical journals on earth. But after reading her article in the New York Review of Books called Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption, one wonders if any medical journal on earth is worth anybody’s respect anymore.
So when we see the research studies as the one below, please keep in mind we are getting the best case results and mostly likely a very different view than the true picture of what this or that drug REALLY does or doesn’t do.
The Research on Gabapentin Reports –
This review looked at evidence from 29 studies involving 3571 participants.
In people with these conditions, gabapentin is associated with a moderate benefit (equivalent to at least 30% pain relief) in almost one in two patients (43%), and a substantial benefit (equivalent to at least 50% pain relief) in almost one in three (31%).
Over half of those taking gabapentin or pregabalin for neuropathic pain will not have good pain relief, in common with most chronic pain conditions. Adverse events are experienced by about two-thirds of people taking gabapentin, mainly dizziness, somnolence (sleepiness), edema (swelling), weight gain, depression, poor memory, incoordination, fatigue, and gait disturbance.
It’s no secret I’m not a fan of either of these drugs. I firmly believe they cause more harm than good. However, I’m a realist and know there are patients who benefit from these drugs, but for most the benefit comes at a cost, life draining side effects. One third of patients or a little 3 out of 9 will see a benefit, the rest will not. Doctors desperate to help their patients with fibromyalgia are happy to drink the purple Kool-Aid and buy the propaganda churned out by Pfizer.
Patients can’t help the fact they are one of the 2/3 of patients that Lyrica or Neurontin, doesn’t help. Or they are one of the many who simply can’t tolerate the drugs side effects.However, soon enough doctors are confronted with fibro patients who report that this drug like the other drugs, isn’t helping. Doctors become disgruntled and start to suspect their patients are hypochondriacs or worse pill seekers.
Unfortunately, traditional medicine focuses on treating symptoms, not causes. With so many symptoms, often unexplained symptoms, fibro patients are at risk of being on multiple drugs, each treating one of the many symptoms. Eventually patients are taking a half a dozen or dozen drugs not knowing which if any are helpful, or just as importantly which are harmful, becomes muddied.
I spend a considerable amount of time helping my patients sift through which if any of their drugs is helping, most are not. It is not uncommon to have patients who are taking a dozen drugs when they start working with me. Most are able to drastically reduce or totally eliminate these drugs, finding that many where actually causing more harm than good.
We are told that there are new and improved drugs on the horizon for fibromyalgia. I’ve already written about many of these drugs. I’m not optimistic.
After specializing in treating fibromyalgia for the last 17 years I firmly believe they only way to beat this chronic illness is to get healthy. Drugs don’t make you healthy, never will. They can be helpful, sometimes life saving, but the body will always perceive them as foreign invaders which eventually increase the risk of life robbing side effects.
Finding and correcting the cause(s) of your fibromyalgia symptoms should be the goal. Drugs if needed, should be used short term to manage symptoms while focusing on correcting the causes of fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, low thyroid, bankrupted stress coping chemicals, depleted essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and hormones.
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