19 December 2017
This pilot study was designed to compare the efficacy of ultramicronized palmitoylethanolamide (um-PEA) as add-on therapy to tapentadol (TP) with TP therapy only in patients suffering from chronic low back pain (LBP).
This pilot observational study consists in two arms: the prospective arm and the retrospective one. In the prospective arm patients consecutively selected received um-PEA as add-on therapy to TP for 6 months; in the retrospective arm patients were treated with TP only for 6 months. Pain intensity and neuropathic component were evaluated at baseline, during and after 6 months. The degree of disability and TP dosage assumption were evaluated at baseline and after 6 months.
Statistical analysis performed with generalized linear mixed model on 55 patients (30 in the prospective group and 25 in the retrospective group) demonstrated that um-PEA as add-on treatment to TP in patients with chronic LBP, in comparison to TP alone, led to a significantly higher reduction in pain intensity, in the neuropathic component, the degree of disability and TP dosage assumption. No serious side effects were observed.
Overall, the present findings suggest that um-PEA may be an innovative therapeutic intervention as add-on therapy to TP for the management of chronic LBP with a neuropathic component, as well as to improve patient quality of life. Additionally, this combination treatment allowed a reduction in TP dose over time and did not show any serious side effects.