Pregabalin for the treatment of syringomyelia-associated neuropathic pain in dogs : a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-masked clinical trial
Pregabalin is the first-line treatment for neuropathic pain (NeP) in humans. Dogs with Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia (CM/SM) associated with NeP could benefit from pregabalin. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of pregabalin for NeP in dogs with CM/SM. Eight dogs with symptomatic CM/SM were included in a double-masked, randomised, crossover placebo-controlled clinical trial. All dogs received anti-inflammatory drugs as base-line treatment during placebo or pregabalin phase of 14±4 days each. Analgesic efficacy was assessed with a daily numerical rating scale (NRS) recorded by dog owners (0-10, 10=worst pain) and quantitative sensory testing at baseline, placebo and pregabalin phases. Blood samples were collected to report pregabalin exposure and to assess renal function. Daily NRS scores recorded by dog owners in the pregabalin group were lower than in the placebo group (P=0.006). Mechanical thresholds were higher with pregabalin compared to baseline or placebo (P=0.037, P<0.001). Cold latency at 15°C was prolonged on the neck and humeri with pregabalin compared to baseline (P<0.001 for both) or placebo (P=0.02, P=0.0001). Cold latency at 0°C was longer on pregabalin compared to baseline and placebo (P=0.001, P=0.004). There was no pregabalin accumulation between first and last dose. This study demonstrates the efficacy of pregabalin for the treatment of NeP due to CM/SM on daily pain scores recorded by dog owners. Pregabalin significantly reduced mechanical hyperalgesia, cold hyperalgesia (0°C) and allodynia (15°C) compared to placebo. Pregabalin was non-cumulative and well tolerated with occasional mild sedation.