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Pharmacologic Pain Management

SNRI's (Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors)

Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are a class of antidepressant drugs used in pharmacologic pain management to treat chronic neuropathic painful conditions including fibromyalgia. Patients who are prescribed SNRIs typically notice an improvement in a number of symptoms, including pain, fatigue, and depression. However, medications which are effective for one type of pain (i.e. tension headaches) do not necessarily have the same efficacy in other types of pain conditions (i.e. diabetic peripheral neuropathy). For this reason, our pain management physicians will evaluate your pain condition in depth. Then, we may prescribe SNRIs in order to improve your pain control.

Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are a type of drug which acts as a reuptake inhibitor for both neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin. Essentially, SNRIs increase norepinephrine and serotnin levels by inhibiting their reabsorption (reuptake) into cells in the brain for enhanced neurotransmission which may also improve and elevate alertness and mood. These medications are commonly used for pain management since they are known to have both analgesic and antidepressant qualities.

Side effects may include nausea, insomnia, constipation, weight loss, heart palpitations, sexual dysfunction, and dilated pupils. These medications can also cause high blood pressure as well, so pain management physicians may recommend that patients have their blood pressure monitored closely during the start of treatment. Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors may be administered as first-line therapy or these agents may be used as an adjunct to other medications in helping patients find better pain control.