Efficacy of gabapentin in treating chronic phantom limb and residual limb pain

J Rehabil Res Dev. 2005 Sep-Oct;42(5):645-54. doi: 10.1682/jrrd.2005.05.0082.


Twenty-four adults with phantom limb pain (PLP) and/or residual limb pain (RLP) participated in a double-blind crossover trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive gabapentin or placebo and later crossed over to the other treatment, with a 5-week washout interval in which they did not receive medication. Gabapentin was titrated from 300 mg to the maximum dose of 3,600 mg. Measures of pain intensity, pain interference, depression, life satisfaction, and functioning were collected throughout the study. Analyses revealed no significant group differences in pre- to posttreatment change scores on any of the outcome measures. More than half of the participants reported a meaningful decrease in pain during the gabapentin phase compared with about one-fifth who reported a meaningful decrease in pain during the placebo phase. In this trial, gabapentin did not substantially affect pain. More research on the efficacy of gabapentin to treat chronic PLP and RLP is needed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amines / administration & dosage*
  • Amputees
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gabapentin
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Phantom Limb / drug therapy*
  • Phantom Limb / physiopathology*
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / administration & dosage*


  • Amines
  • Analgesics
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Gabapentin