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Treatment of Postherpetic Neuralgia with Intravenous Administration of Vitamin C *

A 78-yr-old male suffered from intractable T3-6 postherpetic neuralgia. He reported 8 mo of constant, aching pain and intermittent, spontaneous, shooting pain over his right anterior chest and upper back. His pain did not respond to multiple trials of antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Pain intensity ranged from 4 to 8 on an 11-point numerical pain rating scale. The pain he rated 8 occurred in 5-min episodes for about 8–10 times per day. His appetite was poor, he bruised easily, and his gums were swollen. Laboratory data were normal except for a low concentration of plasma vitamin C (4.9 mg/L), consistent with poor nutrition.
We treated this patient with IV 2.5 g ascorbate daily on days 1, 3, and 5. His intermittent, spontaneous, shooting pain completely resolved within 1 wk, and his baseline pain decreased to a level of 3 (his plasma vitamin C level reached 14.9 mg/L). We advised him to increase his intake of fruits and vegetables. On follow-up examination 3 mo later he has had no recurrence of the extreme intermittent pain, and his plasma vitamin C level was 11.6 mg/L.
Hanck and Weiser  reported a dose-dependent pain reduction by oral vitamin C in rats. Ascorbate is an antioxidant that scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS play a crucial role in neuropathic pain. By enhancing adenylyl cyclase-cAMP, ascorbic acid can also augment the production and the release of ß-endorphin from rat hypothalamic neurons. ß-Endorphin appears to be effective in alleviating neuropathic pain.
Formal studies are required to determine whether treatment with vitamin C may prove useful in patients with low plasma vitamin C and neuropathic pain.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 05-26-2008