Driven by the effort to identify effective non-opioid pain medications, a recent international research study with a publication in the Journal Neurology, found that the drug ‘pregabalin’ is not effective in treating chronic pain associated with traumatic nerve injury. "The unrelenting burning or stabbing symptoms due to nerve trauma are a leading reason why people seek treatment for chronic pain after a fall, car accident, or surgery," explains John Markman, M.D., director of the Translational Pain Research Program in the University of Rochester Department of Neurosurgery and lead author of the study. "While these finding show that pregabalin is not effective in controlling the long-term pain for traumatic injury, it may provide relief for patients experience post-surgical pain."
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Marketed under Pfizer, Pregabalin is under the name Lyrica and is approved to treat chronic pain associated with shingles, spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy. But, is commonly a prescription drug for treating chronic nerve injury syndromes that occur after motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, knee or hip replacement and as well as surgeries that include hernia repair or mastectomy. Previously, an eight-week study showed that pregabalin decreased pain intensity better than placebo in chronic, post-traumatic pain syndromes. The findings resulted in many doctors to prescribe pregabalin for long-term pain that takes a while to resolve.
The present study, consisting of a retrospective analysis, found that pregabalin did not hold high efficacy for pain management in individuals with traumatic nerve injury. "The possibility that there was pain relief for those patients who had a hernia repair, or breast surgery for cancer, or a joint replacement lays the groundwork for future studies in these post-surgical syndromes where there is so much need for non-opioid treatments," says Markman. "Given the rising rates of surgery and shrinking reliance on opioids, it is critical that we understand how to study new drugs that work differently in patients like the ones included in this study.”