Topical amitriptyline versus lidocaine in the treatment of neuropathic pain.
OBJECTIVE: Oral amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, is effective for treating neuropathic pain. We conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study to evaluate the efficacy of topical 5% amitriptyline and 5% lidocaine in treating patients with neuropathic pain. METHODS: Thirty-five patients with postsurgical neuropathic pain, postherpetic neuralgia, or diabetic neuropathy with allodynia or hyperalgesia were assigned to receive 3 topical creams (5% amitriptyline, 5% lidocaine, or placebo) in random sequence. The primary outcome measure was change in pain intensity (baseline vs. posttreatment average pain) using a 0 to 100 mm Visual Analog Scale. Secondary outcome measures included the McGill Pain Questionnaire, requirement for rescue medication, and patient satisfaction. Primary statistical comparisons were made with paired t tests or signed-rank tests. RESULTS: A reduction in pain intensity was observed with topical lidocaine (P<0.05). No significant change in pain intensity was found with topical amitriptyline or placebo. In pairwise comparison of treatments, topical lidocaine and placebo each reduced pain more than topical amitriptyline (P<0.05). DISCUSSION: This randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study examining topical 5% amitriptyline and 5% lidocaine in the treatment of neuropathic pain showed that topical lidocaine reduced pain intensity but the clinical improvement is minimal and that topical 5% amitriptyline was not effective.
Ho, K-Y; Huh, BK; White, WD; Yeh, C-C; Miller, EJ
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