Objective: To determine the efficacy of gabapentin in the treatment of generalized vulvodynia, unprovoked, to determine the most common presenting symptoms in patients with this diagnosis, to evaluate the prevalence of comorbidities in these patients and to determine the possibility of comorbidities or specific presenting symptoms that decrease the efficacy of this drug.
Study design: The charts of all women seen in our facility with a diagnosis of generalized vulvodynia between January 1, 2002, and September 30, 2004, were reviewed. A total of 601 charts were reviewed. Patients were included in the study if they had a diagnosis of generalized vulvodynia, they were treated with single-agent gabapentin, had follow-up for 30 months or more and had adequately documented follow-up.
Results: A total of 152 patients were included in the study. Ninety-eight (64%) patients treated with gabapentin had resolution of at least 80% of their symptoms during the study period. Forty-nine (32%) did not have adequate resolution. There was a high percentage of comorbidities in patients with generalized vulvodynia. Sleep disturbance was the only comorbidity that negatively affected the efficacy of gabapentin. In addition, there appeared to be a trend toward a less favorable response in patients with a longer period of untreated illness (p value not less than 0.05). Side effects of gabapentin were few. Forty (26%) reported some side effects. Fatigue was the most common complaint. Seventeen patients (11%) discontinued the medication secondary to side effects.
Conclusion: Gabapentin appears to be very effective in the treatment of generalized vulvodynia, unprovoked. It has a very low side effect profile. Certain patients may be less likely to benefit from gabapentin, including those with the comorbidity of sleep disturbance. Patients with symptoms of longer-standing generalized vulvodynia, unprovoked, may also be less likely to benefit from this treatment.