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Experience With Gabapentin for Neuropathic Pain in the Head and Neck: Report of Ten Cases
  1. Thomas C. Sist, D.D.S.,
  2. Victor A. Filadora, M.S.,
  3. Marguerite Miner, R.N., M.S. and
  4. Mark Lema, Ph.D., M.D.
  1. Department of Anesthesiology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York
  1. Reprint requests: Dr. Thomas C. Sist, Pain Service, Department of Anesthesiology. Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY, 14263.


Background and Objectives Gabapentin is an oral antiepileptic agent with an unknown mechanism of action. Recent case reports have suggested that gabapentin may be effective in the treatment of a variety of neuropathic pain states. This report presents baseline and follow-up data on ten patients who were treated with gabapentin when other pharmacologic interventions failed to relieve their neuropathic pain.

Methods Ten patients referred for treatment of unrelieved neuropathic pain in the head and neck region were included in this study. Baseline and follow-up information included measures of pain intensity and pain quality. All of the patients were started on 300 mg gabapentin three times per day, though daily doses of up to 2400 mg were required for pain relief.

Results Eight of the ten patients had no neuropathic pain on follow-up, whereas the remaining 2 patients reported only partial relief at follow-up. None of the patients complained of side effects. Gabapentin was effective in alleviating steady burning pain as well as lancinating pain and allodynia.

Conclusions The results suggest that gabapentin may be effective in the management of some cases of neuropathic pain in the head and neck. However, controlled, double-blind longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate this possibility.

  • gabapentin
  • neuropathic pain
  • head and neck pain

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