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Community study demonstrates Keppra’s use in various pain types


New data shows that the antiepileptic drug Keppra (levetiracetam), when used alone and in combination with other treatments, provided relief to more than 90 percent of patients with a range of pain syndromes, from migraine headaches to neck and back pain. The study of 400 patients, conducted by the Statesville Pain Associates of Statesville, N.C., was presented today at the American Pain Society’s 22nd Annual Scientific Meeting.

"To date, studies of Keppra to treat pain have been conducted in small patient populations only. Our study of hundreds of patients showed that Keppra was well tolerated and has the potential to be an effective pain treatment alone or in combination with gabapentin, the current ’gold standard’ for the treatment of neuropathic pain," said Douglas Pritchard, M.D., pain specialist and lead investigator of the study. "As pain specialists, we’re always searching for more treatment options. It’s been encouraging to see this response to treatment in such a wide variety of pain states."

Each year chronic pain affects 70 million Americans, or approximately one in every four people, and contributes to 40 million doctor visits. The burden of pain also results in 515 million lost workdays, and accounts for $100 billion in medical expenses each year.1

Investigators determined that 372 of 400 patients involved in the study responded to Keppra, currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the adjunctive treatment of partial onset seizures in adults. Keppra was given as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with gabapentin, another antiepileptic drug (AED) used to treat pain, to 400 patients experiencing migraine headaches, neck, back, nerve, diabetic and complex regional pain syndromes.

This retrospective analysis was of 400 patients given Keppra over a six-month period as a stand-alone drug (n=30%) and in combination with gabapentin (n=70%). Five percent of the patients in this study were treated for migraine headaches and the others were treated for various types of pain including, neck pain (20%), back pain (40%), nerve pain (15%), diabetic pain (15%) and complex regional pain syndromes (5%). Keppra was titrated to dosages between 1,000 and 2,000 mg/day, throughout the duration of treatment (one to six months).

Participants also evaluated their own pain using the visual analog scale (VAS), in which pain is evaluated on a scale of 0-10, with 10 signifying the highest degree of pain. Before starting treatment with Keppra, patients rated their pain between 7 and 10, but within five to 10 days, their self-evaluated VAS scores fell to 5 and 6. The patients’ pain relief was also evaluated by a patient global assessment of pain indicating good pain relief as well as improved function and quality of life.

The most common side effects associated with the use of Keppra in this analysis were drowsiness and nausea.

About Statesville Pain Associates
The pain management team at Statesville Pain Associates strives to minimize patients’ pain, restore their ability to function and ultimately enable them to enjoy a better quality of life. Headed by Dr. Douglas Pritchard and Dr. Bobby Kearney, Statesville Pain Associates treats over 800 patients a month using a multidimensional and a multidisciplinary approach.

Jessica Balaban | EurekAlert!
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