Objective: To evaluate the clinical efficacy and tolerability of topical gabapentin in the treatment of women with vulvodynia.
Methods: A retrospective study was designed to ascertain clinical responses to topical gabapentin. Patient demographic and medical characteristics, including present and prior treatment for vulvodynia, were routinely collected. The final outcome was defined by a comparison between pretreatment and posttreatment mean pain scores based on a discrete visual analog scale of 0 to 10. Categorical data were compared by Fisher exact test, continuous variables between groups by the Wilcoxon rank sum test, and mean change in pain score between pretreatment and posttreatment by paired Student t test.
Results: Between January 2001 and December 2006, 51 women with vulvodynia (19 or 37% with generalized vulvodynia, 32 or 63% with localized) were treated with 2% to 6% gabapentin. After a minimum of 8 weeks of therapy, the mean pain score among the 35 evaluable women was significantly reduced from 7.26 to 2.49 (mean change -4.77, 95% confidence interval -5.47 to -4.07). Overall, 28 of 35 (80%) demonstrated at least a 50% improvement in pain scores. Among patients with localized vulvodynia, sexual function improved in 17 of 20 with evaluable results (6 of 9 reinstituted vaginal intercourse, whereas all 11 patients experiencing decreased frequency of intercourse reported increased frequency after treatment). Discontinuations occurred in 7 of 50 (14%) treated.
Conclusion: Topical gabapentin seems to be well-tolerated and associated with significant pain relief in women with vulvodynia.
Level of evidence: III.