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Head Neck. 2010 Feb;32(2):173-7. doi: 10.1002/hed.21165.

Gabapentin for the treatment of pain related to radiation-induced mucositis in patients with head and neck tumors treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. barad@xrt.upenn.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This retrospective study evaluates the efficacy of gabapentin for the treatment of pain syndrome related to radiation-induced mucositis in patients with head and neck tumors.

METHODS:

Thirty cases of head and neck malignancies treated with radiotherapy were analyzed.

RESULTS:

By using a median dose of 2700 mg/day of gabapentin, only 10% of patients required additional narcotic pain medications for adequate pain relief during the third and fourth week of treatment, despite grade 2 or higher mucositis present in 56% and 73% of the patients, respectively. Likewise, during the last weeks of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), only 35% of patients required additional narcotics for pain control, despite the presence of grade 2 or higher mucositis in 80% of cases.

CONCLUSIONS:

Gabapentin appears promising in reducing the need for narcotic pain medication for patients with head and neck malignancies treated with IMRT and should be further evaluated prospectively in controlled clinical trials.

Copyright 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

PMID:
19572284
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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