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Gabapentin for complex regional pain syndrome in Machado-Joseph disease: a case report

Yang-Ching Lo*, Kwong-Kum Liao, Yi-Chung Lee and Bing-Wen Soong

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Section 2, Shih-Pai Road, Beitou District, Taipei, Taiwan, 112

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2011, 5:268  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-268

Published: 1 July 2011



Chronic pain is a common problem for patients with Machado-Joseph disease. Most of the chronic pain in Machado-Joseph disease has been reported to be of musculoskeletal origin, but now there seems to be different chronic pain in patients with Machado-Joseph disease.

Case presentation

A 29-year-old man (Han Chinese, Hoklo) with Machado-Joseph disease experienced severe chronic pain in both feet, cutaneous thermal change, thermal hypersensitivity, focal edema, and sweating and had a history of bone fracture. These symptoms were compatible with a diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome. After common analgesics failed to relieve his pain, gabapentin was added and titrated to 2000 mg/day (500 mg every six hours) in less than two weeks. This relieved 40% of his pain and led to significant clinical improvement.


The pathophysiology of complex regional pain syndrome includes peripheral and central sensitizations, the latter of which might be associated with the neurodegeneration in Machado-Joseph disease. In this report, we suggest that gabapentin could inhibit central sensitization as an adjunct for complex regional pain syndrome in patients with Machado-Joseph disease.