Palmitoylethanolamide in the treatment of chronic pain caused by different etiopathogenesis

Pain Med. 2012 Sep;13(9):1121-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2012.01432.x. Epub 2012 Jul 30.


Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), an endogenous fatty acid amide belonging to the N-acylethanolamines family, in reducing pain severity in patients with pain associated to different pathological conditions.

Methods: This was an observational study conducted on 610 patients who were unable to effectively control chronic pain with standard therapies. PEA (600 mg) was administered twice daily for 3 weeks followed by single daily dosing for 4 weeks, in addition to standard analgesic therapies or as single therapy. The primary outcome measure was the mean score pain severity evaluated by the numeric rating scale. Safety was also evaluated.

Results: PEA treatment significantly decreased the mean score pain intensity evaluated in all patients who completed the study. The PEA effect was independent of the pain associated pathological condition. PEA-induced decrease of pain intensity was present also in patients without concomitant analgesic therapy. Importantly, PEA showed no adverse effects.

Conclusions: In this study, PEA was effective and safe in the management of chronic pain in different pathological conditions.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amides
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Pain / etiology
  • Endocannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Ethanolamines / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palmitic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Amides
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Ethanolamines
  • Palmitic Acids
  • palmidrol