New rx drug for arthritis pain

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

More recent pain medicines have been developed. Ziconotide (Prialt) is derived from the poisonous venom of a marine snail known as Conus magus.

Prialt is s N-type calcium channel blocker. It works by blocking transmission of pain sensation by targeting and blocking the N-type calcium channels on nerves that transmit pain. The FDA has restricted use of this drug to people with severe pain from bone disease, severe burns, or cancer. Prialt is given via small infusion pumps that can either be implanted or worn externally. Side effects seen in clinical trials included dizziness, confusion, and unsteady walking.

Lyrica is a successor to gabapentin (Neurontin) which itself has been used to treat chronic pain. The FDA approved Lyrica for the management of neuropathic pain – a type of pain caused by nerve damage associated with diabetes and shingles as well as for fibromyalgia. Lyrica works on the GABA neurotransmitter pathway. by restoring the action of overactive nerves to more normal levels.

A patch containing an anesthetic- the Lidoderm patch- has been used to treat localized pain. It is relatively safe and easy to use.

Tramadol in extended formulations (Ultram ER, Conzip) is sometimes used for arthritis pain.

Topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, Voltaren gel and Pennsaid, appear to be effective for localized arthritis pain. They also are safer since there is less systemic absorption.

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