Gabapentin alleviates affective pain after traumatic nerve injury

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Gabapentin reduces behavioral signs of stimulus-evoked allodynia and hyperalgesia in preclinical studies of traumatic nerve injury, but its effects on more clinically relevant measures of stimulus-independent pain are unclear. To address this gap, we determined whether gabapentin would relieve affective pain after spared nerve injury (SNI). Twelve days after sham or SNI surgery, we administered gabapentin over three consecutive conditioning days and then evaluated conditioned place preference. Gabapentin produced conditioned place preference and reversed mechanical hypersensitivity in SNI but not sham rats at a dose (100 mg/kg) that did not change open-field activity. These results show for the first time that gabapentin provides relief from affective pain without producing sedation, and add to the limited clinical literature suggesting that its use can be extended to treat pain arising from traumatic nerve injury.

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