Analgesic effects of intravenous lidocaine and morphine on postamputation pain: a randomized double-blind, active placebo-controlled, crossover trial

Christopher L Wu, Prabhav Tella, Peter S Staats, Rachel Vaslav, Debra A Kazim, Ursula Wesselmann, Srinivasa N Raja
Anesthesiology 2002, 96 (4): 841-8

BACKGROUND: Phantom and stump pains, common sequelae of limb amputations, are significant impediments to rehabilitation of amputees. The pathophysiology and optimal treatment of postamputation pain states are unclear. While stump pain may result from neuromas in the stump, phantom pain is thought to be related to cortical reorganization. The authors hypothesized that morphine and lidocaine may have differential effectiveness on stump and phantom pains.

METHODS: The authors conducted a randomized double-blind, active-placebo-controlled, crossover trial to compare the analgesic effects of intravenous morphine and lidocaine on postamputation stump and phantom pains. An intravenous bolus followed by an intravenous infusion of morphine (0.05 mg/kg bolus + 0.2 mg/kg infusion over 40 min), lidocaine (1 mg/kg bolus + 4 mg/kg infusion) and the active placebo, diphenhydramine (10 mg bolus + 40 mg infusion), were performed on three consecutive days. Phantom and stump pain ratings and sedation scores were recorded at 5-min intervals using a 0-100 visual analog scale. Pain measures were initiated 30 min before drug infusion and continued until 30 min after the end of infusion. Subjects' self-reported pain relief and satisfaction were assessed at the end of each infusion.

RESULTS: Thirty-one of 32 subjects enrolled completed the study. Eleven subjects had both stump and phantom pains, 11 and 9 subjects had stump and phantom pain alone, respectively. Baseline pain scores were similar in the three drug groups. Compared with placebo, morphine reduced both stump and phantom pains significantly (P < 0.01). In contrast, lidocaine decreased stump (P < 0.01), but not phantom pain. The changes in sedation scores for morphine and lidocaine were not significantly different from placebo. Compared with placebo, self-reported stump pain relief was significantly greater for lidocaine (P < 0.05) and morphine (P < 0.01), while phantom pain relief was greater only for morphine (P < 0.01). Satisfaction scores were significantly higher for lidocaine (mean +/- SD: 39.3 +/- 37.8, P < 0.01) and morphine (45.9 +/- 35.5, P < 0.01) when compared with placebo (9.6 +/- 21.0).

CONCLUSIONS: Stump pain was diminished both by morphine and lidocaine, while phantom pain was diminished only by morphine, suggesting that the mechanisms and pharmacological sensitivity of stump and phantom pains are different.

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