Pregabalin vs Gabapentin: Your Weapon of Choice Against Neuropathic Pain

More than a billion of people all around the world suffer from chronic pains. And one of the most common ones is neuropathic pain that is arises due to the damage of the peripheral nerves or the central nervous system. It is a shooting or burning pain that seems to be coming from the inside. In most cases, the pain goes away after a while but it is always chronic. There are still no defined causes of neuropathic pain but there are some known triggers that might cause it. The medicines that are used to treat neuropathic pain are called anti-epileptic medicines. Besides their primary use which is helping people suffering from epilepsy, these medicines are also the first measure that is taken against neuropathic pains. A lot of anti-epileptic drugs are available on the market and two of the very common ones are Pregabalin and Gabapentin.

In this article, we will give the most essential information about Pregabalin and Gabapentin. We will also discuss the differences between these two drugs.

What are Pregabalin and Gabapentin?

Pregabalin and Gabapentin are anti-epileptic medicines that are widely used to treat nerve pain and seizures. These are usually taken as the first measure to treat neuropathic pain. These are used in treating various neuropathic pain syndromes, such as post-herpetic neuralgia, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain caused by diabetic complications. When such drugs are given to the patient, their brain gets the "no pain" signal, and this can be used to treat even chronic pains.

Side Effects

Every medicine usually has one or more side effects associated with it, and so do Pregabalin and Gabapentin. These drugs share the same set of side effects, since both of them belong to one pharmaceutical category and have the same effect on the body.

The adverse effects of these two medicines are the following:

  • Dizziness: Dizziness is a common side effect of taking these medicines. However, it goes away in a few hours as the medicine's effects diminish.
  • Drowsiness: The users tend to feel sleepier than usual and might also feel like they are about to faint.
  • Loss of balance: The patients can sometimes lose their ability to balance themselves. The loss of balance happens very rarely, and if it does, medical supervision is strictly recommended.
  • Tremors: The patients sometimes feel their hands and legs shaking and trembling. This side effect usually goes away in a little while.
  • Blurred or double vision: You might have difficulty in seeing or might see things getting blurred in front of your eyes as a side effect of taking Pregabalin and Gabapentin.
  • Loss of coordination: Since these medicines affect the nerves, and the nerves are responsible for coordination in our body, a person might experience slight problems with coordination.
  • Suicidal thoughts: Pregabalin and Gabapentin, just like any other anti-epileptic medicines, can cause suicidal thoughts and intentions in a person. If you are going through a therapy or have neurological disorders such as depression and anxiety, you should inform your doctor. Patients with neurological disorders are given these medicines with precautions. If any of these side effects last more than four days, it is necessary to consult a doctor and get yourself checked. The physician might put you off the medicine and prescribe another drug.

Differences between Pregabalin and Gabapentin

1. Absorption rate

The absorption rate of Pregabalin is much faster than that of Gabapentin when big doses are considered. Pregabalin gets absorbed faster and shows its effect in less than 25 minutes. Due to this reason, the patients are usually prescribed either smaller and more frequent dosage of Gabapentin or higher and less frequent doses of Pregabalin.

2. Effectiveness

Many clinical tests conducted on both of these medicines have proven that Pregabalin is much more effective in treating chronic pain than Gabapentin. The research has shown that a lower dosage of Pregabalin can eliminate the same pain faster that high dose of Gabapentin. It has also been proven that Pregabalin can be used to cure more diseases and is considered to be a more superior drug amongst the two.

3. Addiction

Pregabalin often has a higher addictive tendency and is prescribed as a controlled substance. This is not the case with Gabapentin. It is important to note that the addictive tendency is not very high. So, there is a very little chance that a person might get addicted the drug if they do not abuse its usage.

4. Side effects

The side effects are caused by both of these medications. The adverse effects of Pregabalin and Gabapentin may vary. Taking both drugs in excess can cause severe symptoms in the body that might turn fatal if not treated in a timely manner. Some side effects caused by Pregabalin are constipation, weight gain, easy bruising, swelling in hands and feet. The adverse reactions of Gabapentin include weakness, increased chance of seizures, stomach pain, kidney problems, headaches, severe skin reactions. This shows that Gabapentin causes much severe side effects.

5. Oral bioavailability

The oral bioavailability of Gabapentin is 33% whereas that of Pregabalin is 90%. So, most of Pregabalin is absorbed in the mouth and the rest of it is absorbed in the stomach. This means that Pregabalin will act faster than Gabapentin.

6. Price

Pregabalin costs a lot more than Gabapentin. You cannot find Pregabalin in a generic form whereas this is not the case with Gabapentin. So, generally Gabapentin is more accessible.

Conclusion

Pregabalin and Gabapentin are known as two very commonly used drugs to deal with chronic neuropathic pain. Both these medications have their pros and cons. However, each of them can affect your body in different ways. It is important to pay a visit to your doctor before buying them. With the above comparison, we have concluded that Pregabalin gets absorbed in the body much faster than Gabapentin. However, Pregabalin also has an addictive tendency that can be harmful to the patient. Make sure that you only take the medicine that is the best for your health and is clinically approved.