Introduction Neuropathic extremity pain is reported in 26% (95% CI 7-53%) of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS),1 causing significant morbidity. Evidence for pharmaceutical management is limited and medications may cause prominent adverse effects. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an effective treatment for central neuropathic pain and has demonstrated efficacy in MS.2–4 Limitations to use include lack of awareness, expense and the consequent inability to perform MRI for MS surveillance.4
Methods We report four patients from a regional MS clinic with refractory neuropathic pain referred for SCS. Quality of life scores using the multiple sclerosis impact scale (MSIS-29) and medications requirements prior to SCS and at most recent review were assessed.
Results Four female patients, aged 48 to 55, were referred for SPS. All patients had a positive response to trial stimulation and proceeded to SCS implantation. Mean MSIS-29 score was 101/145 (range 91–121) prior to SCS and 54.5/145 (range 40-83) at most recent review. Three patients were able to reduce or cease analgesic medications. There was no associated operative morbidity.
Conclusions Three of the 4 patients in this series with refractory neuropathic pain experienced significant improvement in quality of life, measured by MSIS-29, after SCS implantation and were able to reduce or discontinue analgesic medications. SCS is a potentially effective treatment for refractory neuropathic pain in MS however is under-utilised for this indication. These 4 individuals, identified from a regional MS service, represent the only MS patients referred to this tertiary pain centre in recent year for consideration of SCS.
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