BMJ Case Reports 2017; doi:10.1136/bcr-2016-218614

Use of gabapentin in the treatment of chronic pain in an adolescent with sickle cell disease

  1. Maria João Palaré3
  1. 1 Pediatrics, Hospital de São Francisco Xavier, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental, Lisboa, Portugal
  2. 2 Pediatrics, Hospital Garcia de Orta, Almada, Portugal
  3. 3 Pediatrics, Hospital Santa Maria, Lisboa, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Cátia R Correia, catiarcorreia{at}
  • Accepted 2 April 2017
  • Published 21 April 2017


Vaso-occlusive crises are the most common manifestation of sickle cell disease (SCD) and the main cause of hospital admission in these patients. There is emerging evidence that vaso-occlusive pain has both nociceptive and neuropathic components. However, the treatment of SCD-related pain with neuropathic drugs has not yet been systematically studied, particularly in children. We describe a 14-year-old girl with SCD and multiple hospital admissions for pain management for severe acute vaso-occlusive pain episodes. The patient was evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of specialists which considered that the chronic, refractory pain she was experiencing for years was probably neuropathic in origin and it was decided to start oral gabapentin (300 mg/day). At 10 months follow-up, the patient reported remarkable improvement in her quality of life with a significant decrease in the number of hospital admissions (three admissions for acute vaso-occlusive pain episodes in 10 months versus the previously monthly recurrences).


  • Contributors CRC, ATS: Conception and design. CRC, ATS, LA: Drafting the article. MJP: Final approval of the version published.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Consent obtained from guardian.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Collaborators The authors would like to acknowledge Dra. Anabela Morais, Dra. Anabela Ferrão and Dra. Ana Sofia Paulino for the contribution.

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