Levetiracetam in spinal cord injury pain: a randomized controlled trial

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  • N B Finnerup
  • Jolanta Grydehøj, Paraplegifunktion, Viborg Sygehus, Denmark
  • J Bing, Denmark
  • Inger Lauge Johannesen, Paraplegifunktionen, Viborg Sygehus, Denmark
  • F Biering-Sørensen, Denmark
  • S H Sindrup, Denmark
  • Troels Staehelin Jensen
  • The Danish Pain Research Center
Study design:A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, multicenter trial. A 1-week baseline period was followed by two treatment periods of 5 weeks duration with levetiracetam increased from 500 mg b.i.d. to a maximum of 1500 mg b.i.d. separated by a 1-week washout period.Objectives:The objective of the study was primarily to evaluate the efficacy of the anticonvulsant levetiracetam in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) at- and below-level pain and secondarily to evaluate the effect on spasm severity.Setting:Outpatients at two spinal cord units and a pain center.Methods:Patients were allowed to continue their usual pain treatment at a constant dose. The primary outcome measure was the change in median daily pain score (on a 0-10 point numeric rating scale) from 1-week baseline period to the last week of each treatment period. Secondary outcome measures included pain relief of at- and below-level pain, allodynia, spasms and spasticity.Results:A total of 36 patients with SCI at- and or below-level pain were enrolled. Of these, 24 patients completed the trial. We found no effect of levetiracetam on the primary (P=0.46) or any of the secondary outcome measures. Only two patients continued levetiracetam treatment following the trial, and one patient was still in levetiracetam treatment at the 6-month follow-up. Levetiracetam was generally well tolerated with no serious adverse events.Conclusions:Levetiracetam does not relieve neuropathic pain or spasm severity following spinal cord injury.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 9 June 2009; doi:10.1038/sc.2009.55.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSpinal Cord
Pages (from-to)861-867
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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