Objective: To investigate the effects of systemic administration of lidocaine on different components of neuropathic central pains by quantitative sensory testing.
Methods: The efficacy of systemic lidocaine (5 mg/kg IV over 30 minutes) was evaluated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, and cross-over fashion, on both spontaneous ongoing pain and evoked pains (allodynia and hyperalgesia) in 16 patients with chronic poststroke (n = 6) or spinal cord injury (n = 10) related pain.
Results: Lidocaine was significantly superior to the placebo (saline) in reducing the intensity of spontaneous ongoing pain for up to 45 minutes after the injection: 10 of 16 patients (62.5%) receiving lidocaine showed a significant reduction in spontaneous pain, whereas only six patients showed this after the placebo. Lidocaine also significantly reduced the intensity of brush-induced allodynia and mechanical hyperalgesia, but was no better than the placebo against thermal allodynia and hyperalgesia. In general, the side effects were moderate and consisted mainly of lightheadedness (44%).
Conclusions: Systemic lidocaine can induce a significant and selective reduction of several components of pain caused by CNS injuries. The observed preferential antihyperalgesic and antiallodynic effects of this drug suggest a selective central action on the mechanisms underlying these evoked pains.