Medicines for the skin
Some medicines that are applied directly to the skin (topical medicines) have been found to help relieve the symptoms of erythromelalgia.
These may be in the form of creams, gels, sprays or patches. You may be prescribed a capsaicin cream or patch to make the heat receptors in your skin less sensitive.
A local anaesthetic called lidocaine may also be prescribed in the form of a cream, gel or spray.
Your doctor will be able to give you more information about these medicines and if they're right for you.
You can also speak to your pharmacist about lidocaine creams.
Medicines taken by mouth
A number of different medicines taken by mouth (orally) may help to relieve the symptoms of erythromelalgia.
You may need to try several different medicines, under the supervision of your doctor, before you find the one or the combination that works best for you.
Your treatment options will also depend on the type of erythromelalgia you have.
Many treatments require referral to a specialist centre so benefits and potential side effects can be closely monitored.
The types of medicine your doctor may prescribe include:
- dietary supplements – such as magnesium, which can help open up your blood vessels
- aspirin – only used for adults, not for children
- anti-epilepsy drugs – such as gabapentin or carbamazepine
- blood pressure drugs – medicine to either open up your blood vessels and increase blood flow, or beta blockers to help reduce blood flow, depending on the cause of your erythromelalgia
- low doses of antidepressants – such as duloxetine, venlafaxine, amitriptyline or nortriptyline
- prescription-only painkillers
Medicines given through a drip
In some cases, when oral medicine has not managed to control the symptoms, medicine may be given directly into the bloodstream through a drip (intravenous infusion).
Lidocaine, a local anaesthetic that can help nerve-related pain, can be given this way. But how long it works for varies between people.
Your doctor will explain this procedure to you and how you should prepare for it.