Palmitoylethanolamide or PEA for short - is a naturally occurring chemical that currently has the medical fraternity in a buzz.
Seemingly devoid of any side effects or drug interactions, it is a fatty acid found in soy and egg yolk and is gaining respect as a possible agent to treat pain, skin conditions and even alzheimers.
It has been used as a pain relief agent for decades in Europe, and formed part of a Nobel Prize winning study on pain in the early 1990's. It exerts its effect through a number of different mechanisms including an indirect effect on cannabinoid receptors.
Why isn't there a commercial product available in Australia if its been around so long? PEA cannot be patented and this makes it a difficult proposition for a drug company to market.
Whilst it is not commercially available, it can be prepared even without a prescription by a compounding pharmacy who can make medicines that are not currently marketed in Australia.
Border Compounding Pharmacy Pharmacist Lee Mcloughlan says: "We have noticed a large increase in the use of PEA over the last year. This is largely due to the fact that people are getting fantastic results for pain and eczema. We are noticing also that it is being recommended more and more by general practitioners and pain specialists accross the border, due to the fact it appears to be very safe and their patients are reporting its effectiveness".
PEA is generally supplied as a capsule but can also be used as a cream.
Contact our BCP Pharmacists to discuss alternatives to your pain relief creams and medication.
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