Gabapentin and improved health status in elderly patients with postherpetic neuralgia: A pooled analysis of three clinical studies

Brett Stacey, Bruce Parsons, Sue Huang, Shoshana Peyser, Ellen Dukes

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Background. The pain of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) that follows herpes zoster infection disproportionately affects the elderly. Objectives. The study aimed to determine the impact of gabapentin (Neurontin®, Pfizer) on the functioning of patients with PHN, with a particular emphasis placed on patient-reported outcome domains captured in the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form-36 (SF-36). This pooled analysis was undertaken to further elucidate the effect of gabapentin on health status outcomes obtained from the SF-36 measurements in each study. Methods. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the antiepileptic drug gabapentin for the treatment of PHN. Two randomized, placebo-controlled efficacy trials of this drug involved a total of 563 primarily elderly PHN patients (mean age, 72.3 years). Additional data were obtained from 40 PHN patients in a study of various neuropathic pain syndromes. Multiple efficacy measures were used, including pain assessments on the Likert and Visual Analogue Scales, patient-reported outcomes and functioning on the SF-36, and global change on the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGI-C) Questionnaire. Results. In a pooled data analysis, patients receiving at least 1,800 mg/day of gabapentin showed significant improvement in pain scores on both the Likert and Visual Analogue Scales compared with those taking placebo. Gabapentin produced statistically significant improvements in six of eight SF-36 subscales, including bodily pain, vitality, mental health, physical functioning, role-physical, and social functioning. Greater "overall relief" of symptoms was reported twice as often for patients taking gabapentin compared with those taking placebo. Conclusion. Gabapentin was consistently associated with improved patient outcomes across multiple domains in the elderly and produced significant improvements in six of eight SF-36 subscale domains compared with placebo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-651
Number of pages6
JournalP and T
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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