Tertiary Care Clinical Experience with Intravenous Lidocaine Infusions for the Treatment of Chronic Pain.

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the safety of and long-term pain relief due to intravenous lidocaine infusion for the treatment of chronic pain in a tertiary pain management clinic.

Design

Retrospective chart review.

Methods

Medical records were reviewed from 233 adult chronic pain patients who underwent one to three lidocaine infusions. The initial lidocaine challenge consisted of 1,000 mg/h administered intravenously for up to 30 minutes until infusion was complete, full pain resolution, the patient requested to stop, side effects (SEs) became intolerable, and/or if there were any safety concerns. Subsequent infusions were tailored to patient response. Data reviewed included pain diagnosis, lidocaine dose, SEs, and duration of pain relief documented at a follow-up visit.

Results

Patients primarily had neuropathic pain (80%), were 94% white, 58% were female, and there was an average pain duration of 7.9 years. SEs were usually mild and transient, including perioral tingling, dizziness, tinnitus, and nausea/vomiting, and they were uncommon after the initial infusion. Overall, 41% of patients showed long-lasting pain relief, with positive response to the initial infusion associated with receiving and benefitting from subsequent infusions. Benefit by pain diagnoses varied from 32% to 58%.

Conclusions

Our retrospective study in a heterogeneous population with chronic pain suggests that intravenous lidocaine is a safe treatment. Data also suggest long-term pain relief in a significant proportion of patients. Additional study is important in order to delineate patient selection, determine optimal dosing and treatment frequency, assess pain reduction and duration, and treatment cost-effectiveness.

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