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An open-label, non-randomized comparison of venlafaxine and gabapentin as monotherapy or adjuvant therapy in the management of neuropathic pain in patients with peripheral neuropathy

Authors William Eardley, Cory Toth

Published 1 April 2010 Volume 2010:3 Pages 33—49


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William Eardley, Cory Toth

Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

Abstract: Although many therapies are used in the management of neuropathic pain (NeP) due to polyneuropathy (PN), few comparison studies exist. We performed a prospective, non-randomized, unblended, efficacy comparison of the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor venlafaxine, as either monotherapy or adjuvant therapy, with a first-line medication for NeP, gabapentin, in patients with PN-related NeP. VAS pain scores were assessed after 3 and 6 months in intervention groups and in a cohort of patients receiving no pharmacotherapy. In a total of 223 patients, we analyzed pain quantity and quality (visual analogue scale [VAS] score, Brief Pain Inventory [BPI]), quality of life and health status measures [EuroQol 5 Domains, EQ-5D], Medical Outcomes Sleep Study Scale [MOSSS], Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS] and Short Form 36 Health Survey [SF-36]) after 6 months of therapy. Significant improvements in VAS pain scores occurred for all treatment groups after 6 months. Improvements in aspects of daily life and anxiety were identified in all treatment groups. Our data suggest that monotherapy or adjuvant therapy with venlafaxine is comparable to gabapentin for NeP management. We advocate for head-to-head, randomized, double-blinded studies of current NeP therapies.

Keywords: peripheral neuropathy, neuropathic pain, pharmacotherapy, venlafaxine, gabapentin

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