Chronic Pain in Spinal Cord Injury


This trial tests the effectiveness of the drug amitriptyline vs placebo to relieve chronic pain in adults that have had a spinal cord injury.

Full Title of Study: “Management of Chronic Pain in Rehabilitation Project I – Management of Chronic Pain in Persons With Spinal Cord Injury”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Double
  • Study Primary Completion Date: May 2007

Detailed Description

This double masked placebo-controlled trial will randomize patients (n=100) with a greater than 6 month history spinal cord injury and a greater than 3 month history of associated pain to a daily dose of amitriptyline or placebo for 6 weeks. Patients will be examined before randomization by a study physician or nurse masked to their treatment assignment. They will be assessed by telephone interview before, during treatment, at the end of treatment and 4 months later to assess pain, pain interference with activities, physical and mental health, and number of health care visits for pain.


  • Drug: Amitriptyline

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Spinal Cord Injury six months ago or longer – Pain for 3 months or longer Exclusion Criteria:

  • History of cardiovascular disease, seizures, or glaucoma – Currently taking antidepressant medications – Currently hyperthyroid or taking thyroid medicine – Currently pregnant

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 65 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Diana Cardenas, M.D., Principal Investigator, University of Washington, Department of Rehabilitation


Leijon G, Boivie J. Central post-stroke pain–a controlled trial of amitriptyline and carbamazepine. Pain. 1989 Jan;36(1):27-36.

Max MB, Culnane M, Schafer SC, Gracely RH, Walther DJ, Smoller B, Dubner R. Amitriptyline relieves diabetic neuropathy pain in patients with normal or depressed mood. Neurology. 1987 Apr;37(4):589-96.

Sandford PR, Lindblom LB, Haddox JD. Amitriptyline and carbamazepine in the treatment of dysesthetic pain in spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1992 Mar;73(3):300-1.

Cardenas DD, Warms CA, Turner JA, Marshall H, Brooke MM, Loeser JD. Efficacy of amitriptyline for relief of pain in spinal cord injury: results of a randomized controlled trial. Pain. 2002 Apr;96(3):365-73.

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