Brain Imaging Shows How Chronic Pain Drugs Work

A new study using brain imaging has shown the effect of the chronic pain drug pregalbin on the brain, giving researchers new insight on the treatment of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain disorders.

In the study conducted at the University of Michigan Health System, researchers performed three complementary brain neuroimaging procedures on 17 subjects taking the analgesic pregalbin for their pain. They found that the analgesic reduced brain chemicals that led to reduced connectivity in the brain, which resulted in lower pain ratings for the subjects.

Lead author Richard Harris, professor of anesthesiology, noted: "The significance of this study is that it demonstrates that pharmacologic therapies for chronic pain can be studied with brain imaging. The results could point to a future in which more targeted brain imaging approaches can be used during pharmacological treatment of chronic widespread pain, rather than the current trial-and-error approach."

The study is published in the journal "Anesthesiology."

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