Palmitoylethanolamide, also known as PEA, is a naturally occurring substance of the fatty acid amide family, and is very much in the news at the moment, as the removal of codeine from over the counter pain medicines has sent patients and health professionals alike searching further afield for safer pain options.
It was originally isolated from soybean lecithin, egg yolk and peanut meal in the 1950s and has been readily available in Europe and North America as a supplement for some time. No prescription is required for palmitoylethanolamide and it is available in Australia from some compounding pharmacies.
Taken orally, PEA has shown anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects and there are hundreds of studies over 50 years reporting its successful use in alleviating pain in humans associated with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, nerve compression syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, pelvic pain, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease and more.
The dose recommended is usually 300mg-1200mg daily, but up to 2400mg daily has been used. It is best to slowly increase the dose in steps to find the best response. As pain improves the dose may be titrated down to 300mg or