Author(s): Wallace MS, Ridgeway BM, Leung AY, Gerayli A, Yaksh TL
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Several lines of evidence suggest that neuropathic pain (including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome [CRPS] I and CRPS II) is mediated in part by an increase in the density of voltage-sensitive sodium channels in injured axons and the dorsal root ganglion of injured axons. This study sought to characterize the effects of intravenous lidocaine (a sodium channel blocker) on acute sensory thresholds within the painful area and the size of the painful area in patients suffering from CRPS I and II. METHODS: This study used a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design in 16 subjects suffering from CRPS I and II with a prominent allodynia. Each subject received an intravenous infusion of lidocaine and diphenhydramine separated by 1 week. A computer-controlled infusion pump targeted stair-step increases in plasma levels of lidocaine of 1, 2, and 3 microg/ml. At baseline and at each plasma level, spontaneous and evoked pain scores and neurosensory testing within the painful area were measured. The neurosensory testing consisted of thermal thresholds, tactile thresholds and the area of allodynia to punctate, and stroking and thermal stimuli. RESULTS: Intravenous lidocaine and diphenhydramine had no significant effect on the cool, warm, or cold pain thresholds. However, lidocaine caused a significant elevation of the hot pain thresholds in the painful area. Intravenous lidocaine caused a significantly decreased response to stroking and cool stimuli in the allodynic area. There was also a significant decrease in pain scores to cool stimuli at all plasma levels and the spontaneous pain at the highest plasma level. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that intravenous lidocaine affects pain in response to cool stimuli more than mechanical pain in subjects with neuropathic pain. There is a lesser effect on spontaneous pain and pain induced by stroking stimuli and no effect on the pain induced by punctate stimuli.
This article was published in Anesthesiology
and referenced in Journal of Pain & Relief