This study compared the efficacy and safety of tramadol/acetaminophen (T/A) and gabapentin in the management of painful diabetic neuropathy.
An open, randomized, comparative study was conducted. Subjects with painful symmetric neuropathy in the lower limbs and mean pain-intensity score > or = 4 on a numeric rating scale were eligible. Subjects were randomized to receive either tramadol (37.5 mg)/acetaminophen (325 mg) or gabapentin (300 mg) for 6 weeks. After 2 weeks of the titration period (1200 mg/day for gabapentin and three tablets/day for T/A), the doses were maintained if the pain was relieved. The primary efficacy outcome was a reduction in pain intensity. Secondary measures evaluated a pain relief scale, a Brief Pain Inventory, a 36-item Short Form Health Survey, average pain intensity and sleep disturbance.
One hundred and sixty-three subjects (T/A 79; gabapentin 84) were included. At the final visit, the mean doses were 1575 mg/day for gabapentin and 4.22 tablets/day for T/A. Both groups were similar in terms of baseline pain intensity (mean intensity: T/A 6.7 +/- 1.6; gabapentin 6.3 +/- 1.6, P = 0.168). At the final visit, the mean reductions in pain intensity were similar in both groups (T/A -3.1 +/- 2.0; gabapentin -2.7 +/- 2.1, P = 0.744). Both groups had similar improvements in every Short Form Health Survey category and Brief Pain Inventory subcategory, and in the mean pain relief scores.
This study suggests that the T/A combination treatment is as effective as gabapentin in the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy in patients with Type 2 diabetes.