Palmitoylethanolamide is used for pain, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis (MS), carpal tunnel syndrome, infections of the airway, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Chronic pain. Some research shows that taking palmitoylethanolamide can reduce pain in people with chronic pain due to various causes. The dose or the duration of palmitoylethanolamide supplementation does not seem to change its benefit for pain.
Possibly Ineffective for
- A muscle control disorder marked by involuntary movements and muscle tightness (spasticity). Research shows that taking palmitoylethanolamide does not reduce spasticity of the spine or help with sleep problems in people with spinal cord injury.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS). In people with ALS, early research shows that taking palmitoylethanolamide with the medication riluzole might improve how well the lungs work.
- Autism. Early research shows that adding palmitoylethanolamide to standard treatment may improve irritability and hyperactivity but not social behaviors such as inappropriate speech, pacing, and rocking in kids with autism.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Early research shows that taking palmitoylethanolamide might reduce pain and discomfort in some people with carpal tunnel syndrome. But it might not help people with less severe carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Depression. Early research shows that adding palmitoylethanolamide to citalopram may modestly improve symptoms of depression.
- Nerve pain in people with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). Early research shows that taking palmitoylethanolamide might reduce nerve pain in people with diabetic neuropathy.
- Dry eye. People with dry eye and glaucoma who use eye drops with palmitoylethanolamide seem to have increased tears and improved tear quality.
- Fibromyalgia. Early research in patients with fibromyalgia suggests that adding palmitoylethanolamide to other standard medications for fibromyalgia might help to reduce pain.
- A group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma). Glaucoma is caused by high pressure in the eye. Palmitoylethanolamide seems to reduce intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma or at risk of glaucoma. It also seems to reduce intraocular pressure in people that had surgery to prevent glaucoma.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS). Early research shows that taking palmitoylethanolamide might help improve symptoms in people with MS who are receiving treatment with the medication interferon-beta1a. However, there are now better medications available to treat MS. It is not known if taking palmitoylethanolamide along with using these newer medications would be helpful.
- Nerve pain. There are some reports of people having less nerve pain when they take palmitoylethanolamide. However, high-quality research is mixed. Some research in large groups of people show that taking palmitoylethanolamide might reduce pain in people with sciatica. But it might be less effective in people with nerve pain due to injury to the spine. More research is needed to clarify if palmitoylethanolamide is helpful for people with different kinds of nerve pain.
- Parkinson disease. Early research found that taking a specific type of palmitoylethanolamide is linked with improved mood, sleep, and movement in people with Parkinson disease.
- Pain after surgery. Early research suggests that taking a specific type of palmitoylethanolamide might reduce pain after having a tooth removed.
- Infection of the airways. Some early research shows that taking palmitoylethanolamide might reduce the risk of developing a lung infection in adults and children. But not all research agrees.
- A group of painful conditions that affect the jaw joint and muscle (temporomandibular disorders or TMD). Early research shows that taking palmitoylethanolamide might reduce pain and allow the mouth to open better in people with arthritis of the jaw joint.
- A condition that causes persistent pelvic pain, urinary problems, and sexual problems (chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome).
- A long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS).
- Illness from a Shigella bacteria infection (shigellosis).
- A painful uterine disorder (endometriosis).
- Eye conditions.
- Long-term swelling (inflammation) in the digestive tract (inflammatory bowel disease or IBD).
- Kidney disease.
- Vulvar pain.
- Weight loss.
- Withdrawal from marijuana.
- Dry skin.
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if palmitoylethanolamide is safe to use or what the side effects might be.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Infants and children:Taking palmitoylethanolamide by mouth up to 10 weeks is POSSIBLY SAFE for children aged 4-12 years.
We currently have no information for PALMITOYLETHANOLAMIDE (PEA) overview.
- Pain: Palmitoylethanolamide 300-1,200 mg daily for up to 60 days.
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Di Paola R, Fusco R, Gugliandolo E, Crupi R, Evangelista M, Granese R, Cuzzocrea S. Co-micronized Palmitoylethanolamide/Polydatin Treatment Causes Endometriotic Lesion Regression in a Rodent Model of Surgically Induced Endometriosis. Front Pharmacol. 2016 Oct 14;7:382. View abstract.
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Domínguez CM, Martín AD, Ferrer FG, Puertas MI, Muro AL, González JM, Prieto JP, Taberna IR. N-palmitoylethanolamide in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with lumbosciatica. Pain Manag. 2012 Mar;2(2):119-24. View abstract.
Evangelista M, Cilli, De Vitis R, Militerno A, Fanfani F. Ultra-micronized Palmitoylethanolamide Effects on Sleep-wake Rhythm and Neuropathic Pain Phenotypes in Patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: An Open-label, Randomized Controlled Study. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2018;17(4):291-298. View abstract.
Faig-Martí J, Martínez-Catassús A. Use of palmitoylethanolamide in carpal tunnel syndrome: a prospective randomized study. J Orthop Traumatol. 2017;18(4):451-455. View abstract.
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Hesselink JM. Chronic idiopathic axonal neuropathy and pain, treated with the endogenous lipid mediator palmitoylethanolamide: a case collection. Int Med Case Rep J. 2013 Sep 13;6:49-53. View abstract.
Impellizzeri D, Bruschetta G, Cordaro M, Crupi R, Siracusa R, Esposito E, Cuzzocrea S. Micronized/ultramicronized palmitoylethanolamide displays superior oral efficacy compared to nonmicronized palmitoylethanolamide in a rat model of inflammatory pain. J Neuroinflammation. 2014 Aug 28;11:136. View abstract.
Indraccolo U, Barbieri F. Effect of palmitoylethanolamide-polydatin combination on chronic pelvic pain associated with endometriosis: preliminary observations. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010 May;150(1):76-9. View abstract.
Indraccolo U, Indraccolo SR, Mignini F. Micronized palmitoylethanolamide/trans-polydatin treatment of endometriosis-related pain: a meta-analysis. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2017;53(2):125-134. View abstract.
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Keppel Hesselink JM, Kopsky DJ. Treatment of chronic regional pain syndrome type 1 with palmitoylethanolamide and topical ketamine cream: modulation of nonneuronal cells. J Pain Res. 2013 Mar 21;6:239-45. View abstract.
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Kopsky DJ, Hesselink JM. Multimodal stepped care approach with acupuncture and PPAR-a agonist palmitoylethanolamide in the treatment of a patient with multiple sclerosis and central neuropathic pain. Acupunct Med. 2012 Mar;30(1):53-5. View abstract.
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Orefice NS, Alhouayek M, Carotenuto A, Montella S, Barbato F, Comelli A, Calignano A, Muccioli GG, Orefice G. Oral Palmitoylethanolamide Treatment Is Associated with Reduced Cutaneous Adverse Effects of Interferon-ß1a and Circulating Proinflammatory Cytokines in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Neurotherapeutics. 2016 Apr;13(2):428-38. View abstract.
Paladini A, Fusco M, Cenacchi T, Schievano C, Piroli A, Varrassi G. Palmitoylethanolamide, a Special Food for Medical Purposes, in the Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Pooled Data Meta-analysis. Pain Physician. 2016 Feb;19(2):11-24. View abstract.
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Petrosino S, Di Marzo V. The pharmacology of palmitoylethanolamide and first data on the therapeutic efficacy of some of its new formulations. Br J Pharmacol. 2016 Aug 19. View abstract.
Schifilliti C, Cucinotta L, Fedele V, Ingegnosi C, Luca S, Leotta C. Micronized palmitoylethanolamide reduces the symptoms of neuropathic pain in diabetic patients. Pain Res Treat. 2014;2014:849623. View abstract.
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