An anticonvulsant approved to treat seizure disorders in 1993. It is used, off-label, to treat Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), neuropathic (nerve) pain, hot flashes, migraines and bi-polar disorders.
By altering calcium channel functioning in the nervous system, Neurontin decreases the release of pain enhancing and excitatory neurotransmitters such as glutamate, norepinephrine and substance P. Some evidence suggests both Neurontin and it s close cousin, Lyrica, may regulate inflammation produced through NF-kB pathways. (Some researchers think NF-kB pathway activation occurs in ME/CFS).
Lyrica (pregabalin), a close relative of Neurontin, was developed as an upgrade to Neurontin by Parker Davis (Pfizer). Lyrica is reportedly more potent and absorbs better (thus requiring lower dosages) but may not have fewer side effects. Neurontin may be as effective in some patients and is much cheaper.
Neurontin May Help in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia Because…
It may reduce the levels of neurotransmitters that contribute to pain and ‘central sensitization’ in the disorders. It is one of the few drugs used successfully at times to treat multiple chemical sensitivity. Neurontin was featured as a sleep drug in the IACFS/ME Treatment Primer.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Doctors Report
Dr. Vinod Patel reported Neurontin was useful for neuropathic pain and to control myoclonic jerks in his patients.
Neurontin ME/CFS and FM Studies
A 2011 Cochrane report of Neurontin’s effectiveness in chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia stated neurontin would provide high levels of pain relief in about a third of patients who took it.
The IACFS/ME Treatment Primer recommends 100-1500 mgs for sleep.
A 2011 Cochrane report stated that adverse events (dizziness (21%), somnolence (16%), peripheral oedema (8%), and gait disturbance (9%)) were ‘frequent but mostly tolerable’ and that few serious side effects were seen. Neurontin should not be discontinued abruptly as it can trigger withdrawal symptoms similar to those found in benzodiazepine or alcohol withdrawal.
(This and all sections of the Phoenix Rising website are compiled by a layman. They are not a substitute for a physician and are for informational uses only. Please discuss any treatments in these pages with your physician.)