Calcitonin for acute neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury
By DR STEPHEN HUMBLE MBChB MSc PhD FCARCSI, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at Medicolegal Associates Ltd
Neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury is caused by complex neural mechanisms and is often refractory to standard therapy. Salmon calcitonin was an effective treatment for neuropathic symptoms in this case series of three patients with recent spinal cord injuries. Salmon calcitonin is already used to help manage pain after limb amputation and also after vertebral fractures and it is perhaps surprising that it has not been trialled previously for spinal cord injury pain. Calcitonin is thought to exert its effect by modulation of the serotonergic system and is generally well tolerated and convenient to administer. This underutilised drug may be a very useful adjuvant for neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injuries.