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Minerva Medica 2021 August;112(4):492-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4806.21.07486-3


language: English

Efficacy of a fixed combination of palmitoylethanolamide and acetyl-l-carnitine (PEA+ALC FC) in the treatment of neuropathies secondary to rheumatic diseases

Simone PARISI , Maria C. DITTO, Richard BORRELLI, Enrico FUSARO

Unit of Rheumatology, Città della Salute e della Scienza, Turin, Italy

BACKGROUND: The neurologic complications of rheumatic diseases (RDs) are highly variable, and their manifestations are linked to the pathogenesis and clinical phenotype of the specific RDs. In rheumatoid arthritis, for example, the peripheral nervous system is most commonly involved and mononeuritis multiplex, nerve entrapment and vasculitic sensorimotor neuropathies are not uncommon. Often the therapy for these disorders is not easy and is characterized by the use of different drugs. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) has been tested in a wide variety of animal models and has been evaluated in several clinical studies for nerve compression syndromes, demonstrating that PEA acts as an effective and safe analgesic compound. Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) has also been shown to be an effective and safe treatment in painful peripheral neuropathy. In the last years the synergistic effect between PEA and ALC has been demonstrated. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of supplementation of standard therapy (STh) with Kalanit® (Chiesi Italia Spa; Parma, Italy) in patients with peripheral neuropathy secondary to RDs.
METHODS: Patients at the time of enrollment were affected by RDs with neuropathy from <12 months, documented by electromyography. The analyzed patients were treated with the STh chosen according to their rheumatic disease (RA or SpA) and for their neuropathy (e.g. analgesic, NSAIDs, pregabalin or gabapentin) as per clinical practice. The sample was divided into 2 groups: group 1, patients treated with STh, to which a fixed combination of PEA (600 mg) + ALC (500 mg) (Kalanit®) was added twice a day for 2 weeks and then once a day for 6 months; group 2, patients treated only with STh. Each patient underwent clinical evaluations and questionnaires were administered in order to evaluate their neuropathy and the efficacy of the therapy.
RESULTS: In group 1, 18 patients suffering from sciatic pain, 16 patients from carpal tunnel syndrome and 8 patients with peripheral neuropathy of the lower limbs were included and PEA + ALC FC was added to STh. These patients were compared with patients from group 2, who had the same pathology and demographic characteristics: 20 patients with sciatic pain, 15 with carpal tunnel syndrome and 5 with peripheral neuropathy of the lower limbs, respectively; this group was treated with STh only. Patients treated with PEA + ALC FC had a significant improvement in pain VAS compared to patients treated with group 2 in all the diseases analyzed (P value: sciatic pain 0.032, carpal tunnel syndrome 0.025 and lower limbs neuropathy 0.041). Patients in group 1 showed a significant improvement compared to patients treated in group 2 also from a specific score. Specifically, LBP-IQ showed significant improvement in group one (P value: 0.031), as did CHFD (P=0.011) and NPQ (P=0.025).
CONCLUSIONS: The synergistic effect of PEA and ALC seems to have a further advantage in the treatment of this type of pathology, including the anti-inflammatory effect but also in terms of therapy optimization and therefore of better adherence to treatments. Our study shows that it is important to identify the type of pain to follow an accurate diagnostic algorithm, considering the clinical characteristics of the patient and carefully evaluate the indication, preferring a multimodal approach.

KEY WORDS: Nerve compression syndromes; Rheumatic diseases; Complications

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