Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Potential Management With Prostaglandin E1 Analogs

Austin Marcolina, Kevin Vu, Thiru M. Annaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: Lumbar spinal stenosis is one of the most commonly diagnosed spinal disorders worldwide and remains a major cause for surgery in older adults. Lumbar spinal stenosis is clinically defined as a progressive degenerative disorder with low back pain and associated neurogenic intermittent claudication. Conservative and surgical management of lumbar spinal stenosis has been shown to be minimally effective on its symptoms. A treatment option that has not been investigated in the United States is the utilization of prostaglandin E1 analogs, which have been used primarily in Japan for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis since the 1980s. The vasodilatory and antiplatelet aggregation effects of prostaglandin E1 presumably improve symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis by increasing blood flow to the spinal nerve roots. This brief report examines the potential vascular pathology of lumbar spinal stenosis, reviews evidence on the use of prostaglandin E1 analog limaprost in Japan for lumbar spinal stenosis, and briefly discusses misoprostol as a possible alternative in the United States. The studies summarized in this report suggest that prostaglandin E1 analogs may provide benefit as a conservative treatment option for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. However, higher-quality studies conducted in the United States and comparison with other currently used conservative treatments are required before it can be recommended for routine clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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