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Int J Dermatol. 2003 Jun;42(6):491-5.

The role of gabapentin in treating diseases with cutaneous manifestations and pain.

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Department of Dermatology, St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY 10025, USA.



Gabapentin was first approved by the FDA in 1993 as an add-on treatment for partial epileptic seizures. In May of 2002, it was approved as treatment for post-herpetic neuralgia by the Food and Drug Administration. It appears to be a promising agent in the treatment of pain, alterations of sensation and pruritus associated with dermatological disease, but no review of these uses exists.


Medline and Google searches were performed for the words "Gabapentin" and "Neurontin." The articles found were reviewed. Article identified that contained references to the treatment of skin disease and neuropathic pain were examined and their contents surveyed.


Approximately 1200 articles were located in Medline that referred to Garbapentin or Neurontin. Over 150 articles reviewed its use for neuropathic pain, neuritis or neuralgia of various sorts. Approximately 20 articles reviewed its use for a variety of dermatological conditions or diseases with dermatological manifestations that included: pain control associated with wound dressing changes, erythromelagia, piloleiomyoma related pain, brachioradial pruritus, Glossodynia, vulvodynia, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Over 100 articles that related to Gabapentin side effects were reviewed.


Gabapentin is a very promising medication in the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia and pain. Because dermatological patients suffer pain from painful tumors, after surgery, in conjunction with neuropathic ulcers, during dressing changes involving serious medical conditions, its applications seem manifold. Future studies must assess its role in the treatment of pruritus and other dermatological conditions involving pain or alteration of sensation.

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