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Systematic Review of Pharmacologic Treatments of Pain After Spinal Cord Injury: An Update

Published:January 12, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2015.12.023

      Abstract

      Objective

      To update a systematic review of published research on pharmacotherapy for pain post-spinal cord injury (SCI).

      Data Sources

      PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, and PsycINFO databases were searched for articles from 2009 to September 2015 examining treatment of pain post-SCI.

      Study Selection

      Studies were included for analysis if they met the following 4 a priori criteria: (1) written in the English language; (2) ≥50% of subjects had an SCI, unless results were stratified by population type; (3) participants included ≥3 subjects with an SCI; and (4) any intervention involving pharmacologic treatment for the improvement of pain.

      Data Extraction

      Randomized controlled trials were assessed for methodologic quality using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scoring system. All research designs were given a level of evidence according to a modified Sackett Scale.

      Data Synthesis

      Seven new studies met our inclusion criteria. The new studies fell into the following categories: analgesics (n=1), anticonvulsants (n=2), antidepressants (n=2), antispastics (n=1), and cannabinoids (n=1). There was evidence for 5 new pharmacotherapies among the SCI population; these included the following: oxycodone, duloxetine, venlafaxine, phenol block, and dronabinol. Levels of evidence for all therapy modalities were updated based on the new evidence.

      Conclusions

      Anticonvulsants remain the most studied and supported pharmacotherapy for neuropathic pain post-SCI. Antidepressants showed reduction in pain only among those with comorbid depression. Botulinum toxin and phenol blocks were supported for the reduction of mixed pain post-SCI.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SCI (spinal cord injury), VAS (visual analog scale)
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