Introduction: The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α inhibition with infliximab (IFX) in treating recurrent and disabling chronic sciatica pain associated with post-operative peridural lumbar fibrosis.
Method: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study randomized 35 patients presenting with sciatica pain associated with post-operative peridural lumbar fibrosis to two groups: IFX (n = 18), a single intravenous injection of 3 mg/kg IFX; and placebo (n = 17), a single saline serum injection. The primary outcome was a 50 % reduction in sciatica pain on a visual analog scale (VAS) at day 10. Secondary outcomes were radicular and lumbar VAS pain at day 0 and radicular and lumbar VAS pain, Québec disability score, drug-sparing effect and tolerance at days 10, 30, 90, and 180.
Results: At day 10, the placebo and IFX groups did not differ in the primary outcome (50 % reduction in sciatica pain observed in three (17.6 %) versus five (27.8 %) patients; p = 0.69). The number of patients reaching the patient acceptable symptom state for radicular pain was significantly higher in the placebo than IFX group after injection (12 (70.6 %) versus five (27.8 %) patients; p = 0.01). The two groups were comparable for all other secondary outcomes.
Conclusion: Treatment with a single 3 mg/kg IFX injection for post-operative peridural lumbar fibrosis-associated sciatica pain does not significantly reduce radicular symptoms at day 10 after injection.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00385086 ; registered 4 October 2006 (last updated 15 October 2015).