- Question from Rita: Are anti-depression drugs good for pain?
- Answers - Ann Berger The antidepressant drugs that are helpful for pain are the old types called tricylics. The newer types like Prozac and Zoloft are not usually helpful for pain.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. Does one take this type of medication alone, or would you combine it with another?
- Ann Berger For some neuropathic pain, you can get away with it alone, but sometimes with an opioid. For things like diabetic neuropathy, it's the treatment of choice just alone, and sometimes it works just alone. Not usually, but sometimes.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. With these types of pain medications, how quickly do they relieve the discomfort? How long should we wait to give them a fair shot?
- Ann Berger Much like drugs like Neurontin that we talked about, it takes time, and you have to get what's called a therapeutic dose. A therapeutic dose is different for each individual. In general, with the tricyclic antidepressants, you need to get to antidepressant levels, so that might be 100-150mg of a medication a day. Don't become discouraged if you're at 25mg and nothing's happening, because it's not uncommon for physicians to give low doses. After that, if this isn't working, then we drop the medicine.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Breast Cancer Pain featured Ann Berger, R.N., M.S.N., M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about managing pain caused by breast cancer and breast cancer treatments.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2002.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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