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Pain. 2008 May;136(1-2):150-7. Epub 2007 Aug 20.

Pregabalin in patients with central neuropathic pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a flexible-dose regimen.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The effective treatment of patients suffering from central neuropathic pain remains a clinical challenge, despite a standard pharmacological approach in combination with anticonvulsants and antidepressants. A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the effects of pregabalin on pain relief, tolerability, health status, and quality of life in patients with central neuropathic pain caused by brain or spinal cord injuries. At baseline and 4 weeks after the start of treatment subjects were evaluated with standard measures of efficacy: pain intensity measured by visual analog scale, health status (Pain Disability Index and EQ-5D) and quality of life (SF-36). Forty patients received escalating doses of either pregabalin (150, 300, and 600mg/day) or matching placebo capsules. In both groups, patients started with 1 capsule per day (either 150mg of pregabalin or placebo). If pain relief was insufficient, patients were titrated to a higher dose. There was a statistically significant decrease in mean pain score at endpoint for pregabalin treatment, compared with placebo (P=0.016). Follow-up observation showed no significant difference in Pain Disability Index scores between the two groups. The pregabalin group, however, showed a statistically significant improvement for the EQ-5D. Pregabalin treatment led to a significant improvement in the bodily pain domain of the SF36. In the other domains, more favorable scores were reported without reaching statistical significance. Pregabalin, in a flexible-dose regime, produced clinically significant reductions in pain, as well as improvements in health status in patients suffering from severe central neuropathic pain.

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