Chronic abdominal pain is one of the major symptoms in people with chronic pancreatitis. The role of pregabalin in people with chronic pancreatic pain due to chronic pancreatitis is uncertain.
To assess the benefits and harms of pregabalin in people with chronic abdominal pain due to chronic pancreatitis.
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in The Cochrane Library 2015, issue 6, and MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded, trials registers until June 2015. We also searched the references of included trials to identify further trials.
We considered only randomised controlled trials (RCT) performed in people with chronic pancreatic pain due to chronic pancreatitis, irrespective of language, blinding, or publication status for inclusion in the review.
Two review authors independently identified trials and independently extracted data. We calculated the risk ratio (RR) or mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) with RevMan 5, based on intention-to-treat analysis.
Only one study, funded by Pfizer, met the inclusion criteria for the review. A total of 64 participants (with chronic pain due to chronic pancreatitis) were randomly assigned to receive escalating doses of pregabalin (150 mg per day to 600 mg per day; 34 participants) or matching placebo (30 participants). Participants received pregabalin or placebo for three weeks on an outpatient basis; the outcomes were measured at the end of the treatment (i.e. three weeks from commencement of treatment). Potential participants taking concomitant analgesic medication and expected to stay on a stable regime during the trial were allowed to enter the study. This trial was at low risk of bias. The overall quality of evidence was low or moderate.Only the short-term outcomes were available in this trial. The medium and long-term outcomes, number of work days lost, and length of hospital stay due to admissions for pain control were not available. This trial found that the changes in opiate use (MD -26.00 mg; 95% CI -47.36 to -4.64; participants = 64; moderate-quality evidence), and pain score percentage changes from baseline (MD -12.00; 95% CI -21.82 to -2.18; participants = 64; moderate-quality evidence) were better in participants taking pregabalin compared to those taking placebo. This trial also found that there were more adverse events in participants taking pregabalin compared to those taking placebo (RR 1.71; 95% CI 1.20 to 2.43; participants = 64). The differences between pregabalin and placebo were imprecise for short-term health-related quality of life measured with the EORTC CLQ-30 questionnaire (MD 11.40; 95% CI -3.28 to 26.08; participants = 64; moderate-quality evidence), proportion of people with serious adverse events (RR 1.76; 95% CI 0.35 to 8.96; participants = 64; low-quality evidence), and proportion of people requiring hospital admissions (RR 0.44; 95% CI 0.04 to 4.62; participants = 64; low quality evidence).
Based on low- to moderate-quality evidence, short-term use of pregabalin decreases short-term opiate use, and short-term pain scores, but increases the adverse events compared to placebo, in people with chronic pain due to chronic pancreatitis. The clinical implication of the decreases in short-term opiate use and short-term pain scores is not known.Future trials assessing the role of pregabalin in decreasing chronic pain in chronic pancreatitis should assess the medium- or long-term effects of pregabalin and should include outcomes such as, quality of life, treatment-related adverse events, number of work days lost, number of hospital admissions, and the length of hospital stay, in addition to pain scores, to assess the clinical and socioeconomic impact.