When it comes to treating patients that have suffered a spinal cord injury, doctors are not only trying to find a cure, but trying to find ways of alleviating the pain that comes with the injury. For example, a recent study has discovered that the anticonvulsant drug pregabalin provides fast and continued relief from pain and pain-related sleep problems to patients that have suffered a spinal cord injury.
About two thirds of patients who suffer a spinal cord injury have chronic pain, while about 40% of spinal cord injuries have central neuropathic pain. That’s where pregabalin comes in. Pregabalin is a 3-substitute analogue of gaba-amino butyric acid compound related to gabapentin, a medication used to treat, for example, neuropathic pain in diabetic patients after some painful surgeries.
Pregabalin is already being used in the United States for the treatment of fibromyalgia, postherpetic neuralgia, adjunctive therapy for adult patients with partial-onset seizures and like gabapentin, to treat neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
How Was The Study Performed?
Patients participating in this study were all adults who had either a complete or an incomplete injury at levels C2-T12. Most of the injuries in this group of patients were the result of trauma, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and slip or trip and fall accidents. Some of the patients had spinal cord injuries caused by ischemia or by the removal of a benign spinal cord tumor. Most of them had been injured for years, a few for over a decade.
In addition to suffering from a spinal cord injury, participants in this study needed to have below-level central neuropathic pain throughout at least 3 months or the same level of pain on and off for at least 6 months.
According to doctors, the pain suffered by these patients (an average pain score of 6.6 on a 10-point scale and 2 levels below the level of injury) is the most difficult kind of neuropathic pain to treat in patients suffering this kind of injury. Participants were randomly assigned to receive placebo or pregabalin, with a total daily dose of pregabalin between 150 and 600 mg given daily divided in two doses. The double-blind study consisted of 4 weeks of titration, followed by a 12-week maintenance phase.
Impossible to Conduct Without Allowing Other Medications
Despite the risk of contamination, researchers had to allow participating patients to continue taking some of their other medications, including baclofen or benzodiazepines. They were also permitted to receive up to 4 grams of acetaminophen daily as pain medication. Thankfully, the most notable side effects were somnolence and dizziness. However, since patients were allowed to continue taking benzodiazepines, researches think these may have been the cause for the somnolence.
The study proved that Pregabalin caused a significant improvement in Duration Adjusted Average Change (DAAC) in pain, with a difference of 0.59 from placebo. Another significant improvement was how pregabalin patients achieved a 50% or greater reduction from baseline to endpoint in mean pain scores, compared with placebo.
Please note that all these treatments and medications are frequently needed over the lifetime of the patient and can be very expensive. Patients injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence need a law firm that can help them recover the compensation they need to be able to afford these treatments and that is where we can help.
We Can Help
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a tractor-trailer accident, an accident at an amusement park or any other kind of accident, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases.
The lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 70 years of combined experience helping victims of spinal cord injuries resulting from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, accidents at an amusement park or any other kind of accident caused by someone else’s negligence recover the compensation that may be owed to them.
Please note that our practice has been extended with a new satellite office in Aventura to better serve clients that reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Dania & Dania Beach, Miramar, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Miami Beach, Surfside, Sunny Isles and Miami Gardens. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.
Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Car Accidents Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have represented many clients involved in serious motor vehicle accidents that have caused spinal cord injuries.