Is Gabapentin effective for chronic lower back pain (CLBP)?
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication which is also indicated for nerve pain. Doctors frequently prescribe this drug to help manage chronic pain, such as chronic lower back pain (CLBP). However a recently published review of medical research indicates that Gabapentin may be less effective for treating back pain. It also has substantial risk of side effects. The medical review concludes that: “Existing evidence on the use of gabapentinoids in CLBP (Chronic Lower Back Pain) is limited and demonstrates significant risk of adverse effects without any demonstrated benefit.”
This is disappointing for patients suffering debilitating pain patterns. It is also bad news for doctors seeking alternatives to opioid narcotics. We have all read about the current public health crisis of opiod addiction, so we know how important this issue is.
Is Gabapentin safe?
This study mentions “Risk of adverse effects”. Is this drug safe to use? Yes! It is perfectly safe to use this drug as prescribed by a doctor. The side effects of gabapentin may include dizziness, fatigue, reduced mental focus, or visual disturbances. These side effects are unpleasant and undesirable, but are not shown to be dangerous or linked with any permanent harm. This study found no cases of death or hospitalization related to Gabapentin use.
The point is that this commonly prescribed medication may be of little benefit for chronic lower back pain, and it carries a significant risk of unpleasant side effects. This leaves many people suffering from chronic lower back pain aching for an alternative.
The good news is that acupuncture is a safe, effective and cost-effective treatment for chronic pain. The Western Medical community recommends acupuncture as a first-line treatment for back pain, before the use of pharmaceuticals. We whole-heartedly agree! If you are dealing with chronic lower back pain or other pain pattern, come in for a course of acupuncture. Experience the benefits for yourself!