Novel Form of Extended-Release Gabapentin Improves Fibromyalgia Patients’ Pain Symptoms and Sleep Disorder

Novel Form of Extended-Release Gabapentin Improves Fibromyalgia Patients’ Pain Symptoms and Sleep Disorder
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In a new study entitled “The Effect of a Novel form of Extended-Release Gabapentin on Pain and Sleep in Fibromyalgia Subjects: An Open-Label Pilot Study” researchers showed that administration of the drug gabapentin (in an extended-release approach), initially prescribed as an anti-epilepsy medication, relieved fibromyalgia-associated pain symptoms and improved fibromyalgia patients’ quality of life. The study was published in the journal Pain Practice.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure. It is a disabling condition affecting approximately 2% of the United States population, with a higher prevalence among females.

Previous studies reported that an anti-epilepsy medication – Gabapentin (gabapentin immediate release [G-IR]) – is efficient to relief FM pain (reported decreases of 30 to 40%). However, despite its efficacy and safety, G-IR has a short half-life (i.e., the amount of time required for a compound to fall to half of its initial value) and there is a need for frequent dosing.

Currently, it was developed a new extended-release formulation of gabapentin – G-GR (gastroretentive gabapentin) – based on a gastric retention strategy to promote a steady release of gabapentin during its time in the stomach (approximately 10 hours before being broken down into a healthy dietary fiber).

In this study, authors investigated the efficacy of G-GR to manage FM pain using the Numeric Pain Rating System (NPRS), an 11–point scale for patient self- reporting of pain. A total of 29 patients with FM enrolled in this study and were given an extended-release gabapentin starter pack and treated for a total of 12 weeks. By the end of week 4, patients already reported a significant pain relief on the NPRS. Furthermore, authors also found significant improvement in Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) scores, observing that patients experienced improved quality-of-life, including better sleep quantity (on average, and additional 1.2 hours).

Therefore, the team highlights that although their study has limitations (it was not a randomized controlled study and the sample size was small) it suggests that G-GR is effective against FM pain and improves patients’ quality of life. However, a larger randomized controlled study is necessary to confirm these findings.

Patricia holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from University Nova de Lisboa, and has served as an author on several research projects and fellowships, as well as major grant applications for European Agencies. She has also served as a PhD student research assistant at the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Columbia University, New York.
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Patricia holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from University Nova de Lisboa, and has served as an author on several research projects and fellowships, as well as major grant applications for European Agencies. She has also served as a PhD student research assistant at the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Columbia University, New York.
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