The objective of this study was to identify the differences in medication effect according to pain characteristics in spinal cord-injured patients.
This study is a prospective, randomized, crossover study. Fifty-five patients and 66 locations of neuropathic pain were included. Pain was classified into four spontaneous characteristics and three evoked pain characteristics. Oxcarbazepine (Na+ channel blocker) and pregabalin (calcium channel α2-δ ligand medication) were tried. Patients were divided into two groups: evoked pain present and evoked pain absent. Overall average visual analog scale was obtained.
Oxcarbazepine was significantly more effective for patients without evoked pain than in those with it for electrical, burning, and pricking pain. The effect of pregabalin was not different regarding the presence or absence of evoked pain for all pain categories, except burning pain. In patients with evoked pain, pregabalin was shown to be significantly more effective for electrical pain, allodynia, and heat hyperalgesia than oxcarbazepine. In the evoked pain absent group, oxcarbazepine showed greater improvement than pregabalin but was not significant.
In summary, the phenotype of neuropathic pain was associated with the efficacy of different pharmacologic treatments. Symptom-based treatment, therefore, can lead to more efficient analgesia.