Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Pain Management Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Prescription Medications and Treatments for Nerve Pain

Getting control of your nerve pain can be tough. The good news is that doctors have a lot of effective ways to treat it. These include medicines, like prescription pain relievers or anticonvulsants and antidepressants, as well as electrical stimulation and other techniques.

So if you have nerve pain, whether it's caused by cancer, HIV, shingles, or another condition, take hope. Here's a rundown of the prescription treatments that your doctor might recommend.

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Pain Doctor, Pain Patient

On the night of March 28, 1986, Howard Heit's car was struck in a head-on collision. He left the scene of the serious crash thinking how lucky he was that he hadn't been hurt. "And then four to six weeks later, I started noticing twitches in the muscles of my neck and upper back. These progressed to marked spasms of my neck, shoulders, and upper back," he recalls. The pain never ceased. All day, every day it plagued him. It became difficult for him to walk -- and almost impossible for him to work...

Read the Pain Doctor, Pain Patient article > >

Prescription Medicines for Nerve Pain

There are several types of medication that help with nerve pain. However, not all of the ones listed here will necessarily work for your specific type of pain. The best choice for you depends on the cause of your pain, the severity, the potential side effects, and other factors.

  • Anticonvulsants. The name might sound alarming, but some of these drugs can help people with nerve pain. In fact, they're often considered a first choice. These drugs were originally developed for people with epilepsy to control seizures. It turned out that their effects on the nervous system could also help dull pain. Side effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea.

Keep in mind that not all anticonvulsants will help. So your doctor will choose medicines that have been shown in studies to work on nerve pain.

  • Antidepressants. Along with anticonvulsants, certain types of antidepressants can be the first choice for treating neuropathic pain. Nerve pain specialists often recommend two major types.
    • Tricyclic antidepressants have been used for decades. While they're not used as often today to treat depression, they can play an important role in controlling nerve pain symptoms. Many studies have shown that they can help. These drugs can cause side effects, like dizziness, constipation, blurred vision, and upset stomach. They might not be safe for people with certain conditions, like heart problems.
    • SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are a newer type of antidepressant that seem to help with nerve pain. In general, these drugs have fewer side effects than tricyclic antidepressants. They might be safer for some, especially older people with heart problems. However, they might not be as effective as tricyclics in tackling nerve pain.
1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

pain in brain and nerves
Top causes and how to find relief.
knee exercise
8 exercises for less knee pain.
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
 
illustration of nerves in hand
Slideshow
lumbar spine
Slideshow
 
Woman opening window
Slideshow
Man holding handful of pills
Video
 
Woman shopping for vegetables
Slideshow
Sore feet with high heel shoes
Slideshow
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
man with a migraine
Slideshow