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Multiple Sclerosis: Pain Medicines

Topic Overview

Pain is a frequent problem for people who have multiple sclerosis (MS). Medicines that may be used to bring relief include:

  • Nonprescription pain relievers. These include acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), ibuprofen (such as Advil), and naproxen (such as Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Amitriptyline, imipramine (Tofranil), or nortriptyline (Pamelor), for burning sensations.
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol).
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin). This drug may also help relieve muscle stiffness and tightness (spasticity).
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin).
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica).

Some forms of natural or man-made substances related to marijuana, called cannabinoids, may help relieve pain.

Pain that does not respond to these medicines can sometimes be treated with an injection of long-acting anesthetic.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Koppel B, et al. (2014). Systematic review: Efficacy and safety of medical marijuana in selected neurologic conditions. Neurology, 82(17): 1556-1563. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000000363. Accessed January 12, 2016.
  • Yadav V, et al. (2014). Summary of evidence-based guideline: Complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis: Report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology, 82(12): 1083-1092.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKarin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology

Current as ofFebruary 16, 2018


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