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, 18 (2), 116-21

Long-term Use of Gabapentin for Treatment of Pain After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

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Long-term Use of Gabapentin for Treatment of Pain After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

John David Putzke et al. Clin J Pain.

Abstract

Objective: To determine the long-term efficacy of gabapentin as a treatment of pain after spinal cord injury.

Design: All patients with traumatic-onset spinal cord injury treated with gabapentin were identified and followed up using a longitudinal observational design with two contact points (6 and 36 months after the trial) using a semi-structured interview. The first follow-up interview attempted to capture all 31 patients placed on therapeutic trial. The second follow-up interview attempted to capture those reporting a favorable response (n = 14) to the therapeutic trial at the first follow-up.

Results: Of the 27 patients contacted at the first follow-up (87% response rate), 6 (22%) discontinued the trial secondary to intolerable side effects; therefore, the pain analgesic effects of gabapentin in these patients could not be determined. Of the remaining 21 patients, 14 (67%) reported a favorable response (i.e., a 2 or greater point reduction on a 0-10 pain-rating scale). The second follow-up interview captured 11 (79% response rate) of the 14 patients reporting a favorable response at the first interview, and 91% (10 of 11 patients) continued to report that gabapentin was an effective analgesic. There was no evidence to suggest dosing difficulties due to tolerance over the 3-year period. Sedation, dizziness, and forgetfulness were the most common side effects.

Conclusions: Gabapentin may be an effective treatment of pain after spinal cord injury among those able to tolerate initial and long-term side effects.

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