Gabapentin Does Not Lower Pain Scores in Chronic Pelvic Pain

TUESDAY, Sept. 29, 2020 — For women with chronic pelvic pain, gabapentin treatment does not result in significantly lower pain scores and is associated with more side effects than placebo, according to a study published online Sept. 26 in The Lancet.

Andrew W. Horne, Ph.D., from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the efficacy and safety of gabapentin in a multicenter randomized trial involving 306 women with chronic pelvic pain and no obvious pelvic pathology. Participants were randomly assigned to 16 weeks of gabapentin or matching placebo.

The researchers found that at 13 to 16 weeks after randomization, the mean worst numerical rating scale (NRS) pain score was 7.1 and 7.4 in the gabapentin and placebo groups, respectively (adjusted mean difference, −0.20). The mean average NRS pain score was 4.3 and 4.5 in the gabapentin and placebo groups (adjusted mean difference, −0.18). Compared with the placebo group, more women in the gabapentin group experienced a serious adverse event (10 of 153 versus three of 153). The gabapentin group also more often had dizziness, drowsiness, and visual disturbances.

“Similar to many clinical trials for treatments for pain, we observed a potential placebo effect,” the authors write. “Nonetheless, the placebo effect observed is very relevant, because of the side-effect profile of gabapentin and its potential addictive properties.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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