While the medical profession is trying to curtail the use of opioid drugs for pain, another class of prescription drugs targeting pain has seen a spike in use.
Between 2002 and 2015 the number of prescriptions of gabapentin (Neurontin) and similar drugs tripled in the United States. Now one in twenty-five American adults has a prescription for a drug of this class.
Like other prescription medications, these drugs are helpful when used properly. The official, approved uses for gabapentin include pain from shingles, seizures, and restless leg syndrome. Related drugs have been approved for fibromyalgia and nerve pain from diabetes and direct nerve injuries.
Nonetheless, many prescriptions of drugs in this class are written for “off-label” use.
While perfectly legal, off-label prescriptions can be given without consideration of the long-term effects of these drugs (which are little-known) or their potential for abuse or addiction.
What are the alternatives?
Based on nearly forty years of experience, I have confidence in the effectiveness and safety of the manual therapy methods I use, most specifically NeuroTactile® Therapy, for alleviating pain.
These methods don’t help everyone. But if you have chronic pain you should be aware that these techniques are significantly safer than pharmaceutical products. And they have the added benefit of awakening your body’s inherent ability to modulate the pain experience, rather than overriding it or masking it.