By now, we’ve all read the horror stories about opioid addiction.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from overdoses of prescription painkillers. And many others have had their lives destroyed in other ways after becoming addicted to these medications.
So now, many people suffering from pain understandably want to avoid OxyContin, Vicodin, and the other opioid pain pills that have killed so many people.
As an alternative, doctors often recommend a medication called gabapentin. It is supposed to reduce pain without being addicting.
Lots of people have started taking it. It’s now among the top 10 most-prescribed drugs in the U.S.
It must be effective, right? Could they sell so much of a drug if it didn’t work?
In fact, they could.
And they do.
The journal JAMA Network Medicine recently published a review of off-label use of gabapentin medications. This drug family includes Neurontin (gabapentin) and Lyrica (pregabalin).
“Off-label” use is when doctors prescribe a medication for something it wasn’t originally intended to treat. Gabapentin drugs are not technically painkillers. They are anticonvulsants. But doctors routinely prescribe them for pain anyway.
The study found gabapentin and related medications did not perform well as painkillers.
The FDA has actually approved Gabapentin and Lyrica for a few types of pain…mainly neuropathy and neuralgia. But even for these conditions the drugs scored barely higher than a placebo in effectiveness, according to the study.
Dr. Christopher W. Goodman was one of the researchers. He said there is “very little data” to justify the off-label uses of gabapentin drugs. He noted they can have harmful side effects. These include “(sleepiness), dizziness, and difficulty walking.”
Dr. Goodman said gabapentin drugs are also potentially addictive. And yet doctors often prescribe them as a supposedly safe alternative to opioids.
In fact, drug counsellors and law enforcement officials say the drugs are being abused. Gabapentin can enhance the high of opioids. They can also block the effects of medications used to treat addiction.
8 Natural Ways to Relieve Pain
Big Pharma wants you to reach for a prescription drug every time you feel the slightest pain. But it was their “solution” that brought on the opioid addiction epidemic in the first place.
Try natural supplements instead. They are truly non-addicting. And they are often more effective than pharmaceuticals. Here are eight safe alternatives to painkilling drugs:
- Boswellia. This resin from the Boswellia serrata tree contains compounds which help reduce inflammation and pain. Also known as frankincense, it can be taken as a pill or used topically.
- Turmeric. This Indian spice is famous for controlling pain and boosting longevity. Turmeric supports circulation, detoxification, immunity, and tissue repair. It’s sold in capsules, extracts, powders, and as a whole root.
- Capsaicin. Capsaicin is derived from hot peppers. It has long been known for its ability to relieve pain. It’s often used as a topical cream.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to chronic pain. One study compared levels of pain relief among people with normal and decreased vitamin D levels. Patients deficient in vitamin D needed almost twice as much pain medication. When buying supplements, be sure to get the D3 form. It’s more potent.
- Ginger. Ginger can reduce inflammation and increase circulation. It’s particularly good for joint and intestinal pain. Powdered ginger can be taken in a capsule or brewed as tea.
- Glucosamine. It helps relieve stiff, arthritic joints.
- Cannabidiol (CBD). This hemp-derived compound is safe and effective for relief of pain and inflammation. 
- Acetyl-L-carnitine. This amino acid has also been shown to relieve diabetic nerve pain.
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