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The anticonvulsant levetiracetam for the treatment of pain in polyneuropathy: a randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial.

Author(s): Holbech JV, Otto M, Bach FW, Jensen TS, Sindrup SH

Affiliation(s): Department of Neurology, Odense University Hospital, Denmark. Holbech@dadlnet.dk

Publication date & source: 2011-07, Eur J Pain., 15(6):608-14. Epub 2010 Dec 22.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

Levetiracetam is an anticonvulsant which is assumed to act by modulating neurotransmitter release via binding to the vesicle protein SV2A. This could have an impact on signaling in the nociceptive system, and a pilot study indicated relief of neuropathic pain with levetiracetam. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to test the analgesic effect of levetiracetam in painful polyneuropathy. METHODS: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial with levetiracetam 3000 mg/day versus placebo (6-week treatment periods). Patients with diagnosed polyneuropathy and symptoms for more than 6 months, age between 20 and 80 years, pain intensity of more than 4 on a 0-10-point numeric rating scale, and pain at least 4 days a week were included in the study. The primary outcome measure was pain relief at the end of each treatment period as measured on a 6-point verbal scale. RESULTS: Ninety-three patients were screened for participation and 39 patients entered the study. Thirty-five patients were included in the data analysis. There were no differences in the ratings of pain relief (levetiracetam 2.29 versus placebo 2.28, p=0.979), total pain intensity (levetiracetam 5.5 versus placebo 5.3, p=0.293) or any of the other outcome measures (p=0.147-1.00). CONCLUSION: This study indicates that the anticonvulsant levetiracetam has no clinically relevant effect on painful polyneuropathy. Copyright (c) 2010 European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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