Individuals on methadone maintenance for the treatment of addiction (MM) are demonstrated to be hyperalgesic to cold-pressor pain in comparison to matched controls and ex-opioid addicts, a finding described as clinical evidence of opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH). Interestingly, opioids induce hyperalgesia via many of the same neuro-inflammatory and central sensitization processes that occur with the development of neuropathic pain. Evaluated in this study was the efficacy of a key pharmacotherapy for neuropathic pain, gabapentin (GPN), to reverse OIH in MM patients. Utilizing a clinical trial design and double blind conditions, changes in cold-pressor pain threshold and tolerance following a 5-week trial of GPN (titrated to 2400. mg/day) were evaluated at peak and trough methadone plasma levels in a well-characterized MM sample. Drug abstinence was encouraged via an escalating payment schedule, and compliance monitored via pill counts and GPN plasma levels; entered into the analyses were only those subjects compliant and abstinent throughout the study (approximately 45%). Utilizing change scores from baseline, significant improvements in cold-pressor pain threshold and pain tolerance were observed at both peak and trough methadone levels (p<0.05). Notably, drop-out rates due to medication side effects were low (2%) and the medication was well-tolerated. These results support that GPN, as prescribed for the treatment of neuropathic pain, is effective in decreasing OIH in patients who are abstinent and stable in methadone treatment.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Drug and Alcohol Dependence|
|State||Published - Jun 2010|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)