The effect of gabapentin in earlier stage of reflex sympathetic dystrophy
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The objective of this paper is to investigate the effect of gabapentin in the earlier stage of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD). Twenty-two patients diagnosed with RSD were enrolled. Initial gabapentin dosage was 600 mg/day. This dosage is increased gradually until a satisfactory pain level was reached. After this level, this dosage was maintained throughout the study. An exercise program was also applied to the patients. Provoked and static pain scores of the patients were obtained initially, at 3-day intervals for maintenance dosage determining, and at 6 weeks after the discharge. Functional improvement parameters were volumetric measurement; dynamometric measurement and third finger pulp-distal palmar crease distance measurement for hands; and metric circumferential measurement and range of motion for elbow, knee, and foot initially, at baseline, on the tenth day, upon discharge, and 6 weeks after the discharge. The mean maintenance dose of gabapentin was 1,145.46±377.6 mg/day (range, 900–1,800 mg/day). Improvements in spontaneous and provoked pain intensities were statistically significant. No statistically significant difference was obtained in functional improvement parameters. Dizziness in three patients, headache in two patients, and mild burning feeling in the tongue in one patient were the reported side effects. These symptoms resolved spontaneously in few days. Gabapentin cannot be recommended as the drug of choice, but it may be considered as one of the therapeutic alternatives in the management of pain due to RSD. We suggest that it is effective only for the pain and not for other symptoms of RSD. Serious side effects that will cause the patient to stop using the drug are rare.
KeywordsComplex regional pain syndrome Gabapentin Neuropathic pain Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
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