Does Gabapentin Help with Arthritis Pain?
Does Gabapentin Help with Arthritis Pain? No, in the long term, Gabapentin does not help with arthritis pain. Gabapentin is a popular anticonvulsant used in patients to control seizures and also prevent sharp pains that drastically decrease the quality of life in individuals having the illness. Considering it, many people with relatively lesser chronic pain, such as arthritis patients, form an opinion about the drug to help relieve pain in questions like, “Does gabapentin help with arthritis pain?”
This is why they mistake Gabapentin as a potential painkiller for pains caused in the joints.
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin serves to be an anticonvulsant drug prescribed by doctors to seizure patients. Therefore, it is considered as an anti-epileptic drug. Doctors also prescribe the medication to people having disorders such as Herpes Zoster. In such a condition, patients often develop painful rashes that affect the quality of life of the patients. To alleviate the situation, patients are prescribed with the medication Gabapentin to find relief from the condition. Also, it comes in the class of pain-relieving drugs, which is why many doctors suggest it in painful conditions like fibromyalgia.
The question, “Does gabapentin help with arthritis pain?” leads to a common misconception that the drug cause relief in conditions such as joint pain, formally known as arthritis. Some people even take the drug in arthritis in the hope of relieving pain. However, doctors most often only recommend the medication in arthritic patients with elevated symptoms, as seen in advanced stages of rheumatoid arthritis, where the condition has caused the debilitation of the patient. Therefore, the drug might only be prescribed in severe cases.
The recommended dose for the drug ranges from 110 to 1300 mg per day in usual prescriptions. However, the final medicine is up to the doctor, and therefore self-medication is strictly prohibited in such cases. The overall effects of the drug are discussed further, and the results from overdosage can be life-threatening, which includes edema-like conditions in the throat, neck, and head region of the body.
Why Do People Take Gabapentin as a Potential Painkiller for Joint Pain?
Arthritis is the inflammatory condition in which the joints undergo a lot of swelling and induce sharp pain in the individual. This is technically termed as rheumatoid arthritis. The other type of arthritis is called osteopathic arthritis, which degenerates the cartilage from bone endings. As a result, friction is produced within the firmly intact, rubbing bones that contact each other. It can result in sharp pain.
These pains might be tolerable to a certain level, but with time, these can go bad and affect the quality of life of the individual having them. If the pain gets worse, it can alleviate the range of motion in the individual, leading to partial or total disability. This means the individual is unable to entertain himself or herself even with the necessities of life, such as walking and sitting.
To avoid such conditions, patients look out for medications that will help them get a better hold on life and be devoid of such pain. They are typically prescribed with NSAIDS, Methotrexate, and other pain killers. As the drug under discussion, Gabapentin, is also a pain killer for conditions such as seizures in epileptic conditions and fibromyalgia, it is considered as a potential drug to stop the pain in patients with arthritis as indicated by question like, “Does gabapentin help with arthritis pain?”
However, there is no such scientific evidence that has explained the mechanism lying for the effect of the drug and the condition. Therefore, the safer side to conclude is not to use the medication provided the symptoms of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, have not aggravated to the point where they are causing disability.
Is There any Scientific Evidence for Gabapentin and Arthritis Interaction?
There is no such scientific evidence that has concluded any interaction between the drug and the disease. A clinical trial was started in the United States that got terminated in December 2016 due to reasons unknown. It was meant to study the effects of Gabapentin on patients with arthritis against a placebo drug.
We hope that in the future, scientists will be able to get a better insight into the disease and its interaction with the medicine in a better way so the patients with arthritis may benefit from the information. If the clinical trials go against the otherwise myth, it would also help arthritic patients get safe from the interaction and the side effects of the drug itself. We cannot be sure of what the interaction results explicitly in. Still, to remain on the safe side, it is recommended that we take note of the actual purpose the drug is made for – anticonvulsant and do not experiment with it just because it seems to be a potential pain killer even for less painful diseases like arthritis.
What are Other Conditions in Which Gabapentin is Helpful?
In recent studies, scientists have revealed that the drug Gabapentin, conventionally used against convulsions, is also fundamentally helpful in treating FibromyalgiaFibromyalgia, a chronic disease of the musculoskeletal system of the body. Trials have suggested that the drug has helped the patients with the condition to find relief from chronic pain that often occurs in muscles.
This good news in the medical world has paved the way to unleash more capacities of the drug to fight against different diseases having chronic pain signs, especially the ones that have a neurological basis. However, its effects on several conditions that result in chronic pains in specific parts, such as the joints in the case of arthritis, are still to be reviewed and analyzed on a scientific level.
Other conditions in which the drug may be prescribed to patients by doctors include the following:
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Herpes Zoster – shingles (painful rash associated with nerves)
- Acute pain after surgery
- Change of life signs
- Neuropathic conditions
We may infer from the list that the roots of the conditions being treated by the state tend to generate from a common factor – the neurological pathway of the body. Considering this, it might not be favorable to treat conditions having a root cause other than the one mentioned. However, this is a general idea that still needs to be studied as there is no scientific evidence for such a viewpoint up to now.
Precautions and Side Effects of Taking Gabapentin?
Let’s see the possible side effects caused by the medication under the study:
- Dry mouth or xerostomia
- High blood pressure
- Swelling of hands or the feet
The precautions for taking the medication are depicted as under:
Avoid Antacid: Avoid taking an antacid for about two hours at least after taking Gabapentin
Avoid Potentially Risky Activity: If you take the medication and you are not sure what impact it will cause on your ability to tackle relatively challenging and risky tasks such as driving, you should avoid doing such activities at least for the while when the effect is still there.
Inform your Doctor when Withdrawing: If you want to withdraw from taking the drug for any reason, you should inform your doctor at the nearest possible time to avoid any severe withdrawal effects.
Combining anticonvulsants such as Gabapentin with anti-depressants such as narcotics or antihistamine can induce worsened side effects, which can even be life-threatening in some cases. Moreover, you should also be careful not to consume alcohol while you are on the drug or get yourself any dental anesthetics in the dosage time as these are equally harmful, like medications against depression.
Some drugs enhance serotonin production in the body. The medication under discussion also does the same. To avoid such a situation, you should be careful about not mixing any drug with it that has serotonin in it as it will produce a synergistic effect and cause serotonin syndrome. As a result, you will get symptoms such as high blood pressure, muscle rigidity, nausea, tremors, and vomiting. If these signs occur, you should terminate taking the drugs and immediately consult a doctor.
Any swelling in the head, throat, or neck is a dangerous effect that the drug can potentially produce and is an emergency condition. Taking the medication with alcohol will increase your chances of getting suicidal thought patterns and risky behaviors.
The interaction between the disease and the drug Gabapentin is not studied exclusively yet. Considering the drug to be containing active ingredients for controlling aggressive and a rather severe effect concerning the neurological system of the body, we should stay on the safe side and not mistake its positive impact for lowering pain in other conditions, such as arthritis. Medical supervision is highly necessary when taking any pain killer for a disease such as arthritis as any adverse ingredient might damage the already present condition and induce more harm than good in the long term. While the drug has shown positive results with pain concerning Fibromyalgia in recent studies, science has yet to show its effects on people having less severe pain in diseases like arthritis.