Effects of pregabalin on acute herpetic pain and postherpetic neuralgia incidence
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Acute zoster pain usually disappears with regression of the rash but may be of significant intensity and prolonged duration leading to postherpetic neuralgia. We evaluated the effect of pregabalin on alleviation of acute zoster pain and onset of postherpetic neuralgia.
METHODS: The prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study included 29 outpatients who had had acute zoster pain for a period of 7–14 days. Patients were treated for three weeks with 150–300 mg pregabalin daily or with a placebo. Pain was treated with naproxen, tramadol or oxycodone, as necessary. During the treatment we assessed pain, allodynia, hyperalgesia, severity of burning, prickling and tingling sensations, quality of sleep, physical activity, consumption of analgesics, manifestation of adverse events and postherpetic neuralgia.
RESULTS: There were no statistically significant differences with respect to patients' demographic data, dermatomal distribution and severity of rash, use of antiviral therapy or duration of acute zoster pain. Standard statistical analyses found no significant differences between the two treatment groups in intensity of pain, allodynia, hyperalgesia, burning, prickling and tingling sensations, consumption of analgesics, or the quality of sleep and physical activity; there was also no significant difference in development of postherpetic neuralgia. However, there were statistically significant differences between the groups in the occurrence of dizziness and somnolence in relation to pregabalin.
CONCLUSION: The study did not prove any statistically significant effect of pregabalin in pain relief in patients with acute zoster pain or in the onset of postherpetic neuralgia in comparison with the placebo. The use of pregabalin was related to a statistically significant increase in the appearance of adverse effects.