Membrane Stabilising Drugs
With many nerve pains part of the problem is abnormal excitability of the nerve itself which can give rise to spontaneous pain and excessive sensitivity of the area supplied by the nerve. Although drugs such as the antidepressants and anticonvulsants are normally used for pains like this as first-line therapy, some other drugs can also be helpful.
With many of these pains the local anaesthetic drug Lignocaine can reduce the level of pain in the short term when given by injection into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, this pain relief is not normally long-lasting, and Lignocaine cannot be given by mouth since it is broken down by the liver. It is neither safe nor practicable to use this as a longer term treatment. Some other drugs, including Mexiletine, work rather like Lignocaine and can occasionally help with pain relief when given by mouth. However, their effectiveness is limited (NNT about 7.5) and they are only rarely used nowadays.
Gloucestershire Joint Formulary website
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Pain Service Website, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Webmaster Dr J G de Courcy, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia
Page updated 19/02/2016