Traumatic and nontraumatic spinal-cord-injured patients in Quebec, Canada. Part 3: pharmacological characteristics

Spinal Cord. 2011 Feb;49(2):186-95. doi: 10.1038/sc.2010.70. Epub 2010 Jun 15.


Study design: Community-based, cross-sectional study.

Objectives: This study aimed at examining and comparing the pharmacological treatments administered to traumatic and nontraumatic spinal-cord-injured patients (TSCI, NTSCI).

Setting: The Interval Rehabilitation Center, Trois-Rivieres, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Methods: Medical records from a cohort of 175 chronic spinal-cord-injured patients (94 TSCI and 81 NTSCI individuals) were thoroughly studied.

Results: More than 19 classes and more than 300 drugs were found to be administered to SCI patients. Among them, drugs against bowel and bladder problems, blood clot or deep venous thrombosis, cardiovascular problems, depression or anxiety, stomach acidity, infections, pain, inflammation, sleeping problems and vitamin deficiency were the most commonly used (between 35 and 66% of all SCI patients). Differences between groups were found specifically for antidepressants and anxiolytics used mainly by TSCI patients whereas bisphosphonates, bronchodilators, lipid regulators and anti-inflammatory drugs were used mainly by NTSCI patients.

Conclusion: The results revealed an unexpectedly large number of drugs that are prescribed to both groups of SCI patients. Given the existence of between-group differences and known risks of drug-drug interactions, it is suggested that recommendations for each group should be made to carefully examine either the necessity or the effectiveness of each treatment as well as the possibility of developing alternative strategies based on physical activity, nutrition and lifestyle to eventually reduce, hopefully, the number of pharmacological treatments administered to these individuals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity / trends
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Interactions / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polypharmacy*
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology*