Pregabalin alleviates clinical signs of syringomyelia-related central neuropathic pain in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs: a randomized controlled trial

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Objective: We aimed to assess the efficacy and benefit-risk profile of pregabalin (PGN) to reduce the clinical signs of central neuropathic pain (CNeP) as reflected by scratching episodes in dogs with symptomatic syringomyelia (SM). Study design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. Animals: A total of 12 client-owned Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (age, 1.1–7.4 years, bodyweight, 8.2–10.8 kg) with magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed SM and clinical signs of CNeP. Methods: Dogs were randomized to either PGN 150 mg or placebo for 25 days, followed by 48 hour washout period before crossover to the alternate phase of 25 days. The primary outcome was defined as number of scratching events during 10 minutes of video-recorded physical activity. Treatment effect was estimated using a generalized estimation equation model. Benefit-risk and quality of life assessments were obtained through owner interviews focusing on potential adverse events. Results: The treatment effect estimate was an 84% (95% confidence interval = 75–89%) reduction in mean number of scratching events relative to baseline compared with placebo (p < 0.0001). Owner-assessed satisfactory quality of life was status quo and rated as ‘good’ or ‘could not be better’ in six/11 dogs and improved in four/11 dogs. The most prevalent adverse events were increased appetite in nine/12 dogs and transient ataxia in nine/12 dogs. There was one dog withdrawn by the owner 7 days after crossover to PGN owing to persistent ataxia. No dogs needed rescue analgesia during the trial. Conclusions and clinical relevance: PGN is superior to placebo in the reduction of clinical signs of SM-related CNeP in dogs. At a dose range of 13–19 mg kg–1 orally twice daily, the encountered adverse events were acceptable to all but one owner.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)238–248
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • analgesia, canine chronic pain, Chiari-like malformation, clinical pharmacology, neuralgia, spinal cord disorder

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