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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 42 Number 5, September/October 2005
Pages 645 — 654


Abstract - Efficacy of gabapentin in treating chronic phantom limb and residual limb pain

Douglas G. Smith, MD;1-3 Dawn M. Ehde, PhD;2,4* Marisol A. Hanley, PhD;4 Kellye M. Campbell, MN, ARNP;2,4 Mark P. Jensen, PhD;4 Amy J. Hoffman, BS;4 Asaad B. Awan, PharmD;2 Joseph M. Czerniecki, MD;4-5
Lawrence R. Robinson, MD2,4

1Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 2Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA; 3Prosthetics Research Study, Seattle, WA; 4Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 5Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA
Abstract — Twenty-four adults with phantom limb pain (PLP) and/or residual limb pain (RLP) participated in a double-blind crossover trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive gabapentin or placebo and later crossed over to the other treatment, with a 5-week washout interval in which they did not receive medication. Gabapentin was titrated from 300 mg to the maximum dose of 3,600 mg. Measures of pain intensity, pain interference, depression, life satisfaction, and functioning were collected throughout the study. Analyses revealed no significant group differences in pre- to posttreatment change scores on any of the outcome measures. More than half of the participants reported a meaningful decrease in pain during the gabapentin phase compared with about one-fifth who reported a meaningful decrease in pain during the placebo phase. In this trial, gabapentin did not substantially affect pain. More research on the efficacy of gabapentin to treat chronic PLP and RLP is needed.
Key words: amputation, chronic pain, gabapentin, limb loss, pain, pain treatment, phantom limb pain, randomized clinical trial, residual limb pain, treatment.

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