A single-center randomized controlled trial of local methylcobalamin injection for subacute herpetic neuralgia

Pain Med. 2013 Jun;14(6):884-94. doi: 10.1111/pme.12081. Epub 2013 Apr 8.


Objective: This study explored the efficacy of local methylcobalamin injection in relieving pain and improving the quality of life among subjects with subacute herpetic neuralgia.

Design: A single-center, randomized controlled trial of local methylcobalamin injection was performed.

Subjects: Ninety-eight subjects (age, ≥ 50 years) with unilateral, dermatomal pain ≥ 4 related to herpes zoster on the torso lasting for 30 days after onset of rash were enrolled.

Methods: Subjects were randomized to receive local methylcobalamin injection (N = 33), oral methylcobalamin (N = 33), or subcutaneous 1.0% lidocaine injection (N = 32) for 4 weeks. Worst pain severity, global impression of change, continuous spontaneous pain, paroxysmal pain, allodynia, paresthesia, interference with activities of daily living, and quality of life were assessed after 28-day treatment period.

Results: Time per group interaction and group difference on overall pain at each follow-up point were statistically significant (P < 0.001) among groups. In the injected methylcobalamin group, the overall pain (P < 0.001), continuous spontaneous pain (P < 0.05), paroxysmal pain (P < 0.05), and allodynia (P < 0.05) revealed a significant effect at each follow-up point as compared with the other groups. Twenty subjects achieved pain reduction ≥ 50%, 24 perceived worst pain ≤ 3, 24 stopped using analgesics at end point; activities of daily living and quality of life improved significantly as compared with the other groups (P < 0.001). Although both of the other groups showed a significant response after the 14-day treatment (P < 0.001) compared with the baseline, oral methylcobalamin did not provide any significantly pain relief (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Local methylcobalamin injection was not only efficacious in relieving pain, but also appears to be tolerable and a potential choice of treatment for subacute herpetic neuralgia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • China / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Male
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / diagnosis*
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / drug therapy
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / epidemiology*
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects*
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B 12 / analogs & derivatives*


  • mecobalamin
  • Vitamin B 12