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Neuromodulation. 2018 Jan;21(1):106-113. doi: 10.1111/ner.12697. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

Neuropathic Pain Medication Use Does Not Alter Outcomes of Spinal Cord Stimulation for Lower Extremity Pain.

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Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, USA.



Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for the treatment of lower extremity pain is believed to the result of increased activity in the descending inhibitory and decreased activity in the ascending excitatory tracts. Evidence suggests that the analgesia afforded by SCS may be altered using certain neuropathic pain medications that also modulate neurotransmitters in these sensory tracts. We hypothesize that neuropathic pain medications may alter the response to SCS therapy.


One hundred and fifteen subjects undergoing SCS therapy for lower extremity pain were retrospectively examined. The pharmacologic profile, including stable use of neuropathic and opioid medications, were recorded. Three separate logistic regression models examined the odds ratio of primary outcomes; a successful SCS trial, a 50% decrease in pain or a 50% reduction in opioid use one year after implant.


Neither the use of opioids or neuropathic pain medications were associated with changes in the odds of a successful SCS trial or a 50% pain reduction. A higher dose of chronic opioids use prior to a trial was associated with greater odds of having a 50% reduction in opioid use following implant. OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01-1.02, p-value < 0.01).


The use of neuropathic pain medications did not change the odds of either a successful SCS trial, or of experiencing a 50% reduction in pain at one year. The association between higher opioid doses and greater odds of a 50% reduction in opioid use may be the reflective of SCS's ability to reduce opioid reliance in chronic pain patients.


Chronic pain; epidural; failed back surgery syndrome; low back pain; neurostimulation

[Available on 2019-01-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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