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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 471835, 3 pages
Case Report

Central Neuropathic Pain in a Patient with Multiple Sclerosis Treated Successfully with Topical Amitriptyline

1Clinical Operations, Institute for Neuropathic Pain, Vespuccistraat 64-III, 1056 SN Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2Department of Anesthesiology, Pain and Palliative Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Postbus 9101, 6500 HP Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3Research and Development, Institute for Neuropathic Pain, Spoorlaan 2a, 3735 MV Bosch en Duin, The Netherlands

Received 4 June 2012; Accepted 26 June 2012

Academic Editor: Mamede de Carvalho

Copyright © 2012 David J. Kopsky et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Central neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common debilitating symptom, which is mostly treated with tricyclic antidepressants or antiepileptics. Unfortunately, the use of these drugs is often limited due to adverse events. We investigated the analgesic effect of topical amitriptyline 5% and 10% cream in a patient with central neuropathic pain due to MS. The analgesic effect of topical amitriptyline cream on neuropathic pain was dose related. To evaluate whether this analgesic effect is due to the active compound or placebo, we conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled n-of-1 study with amitriptyline 5% cream and placebo. The instruction was to alternate the creams every week following the pattern ABAB, with an escape possibility of amitriptyline 10% cream. The result was a complete pain reduction after application of cream B, while most of the time cream A did not reduce the pain. The patient could correctly unblind both creams, determining B as active. She noted that in the week of using the active cream no allodynia was present, with a carryover effect of one day.