Phase I/II parallel double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial of perispinal etanercept for chronic stroke: improved mobility and pain alleviation Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Background: Previous open-label studies showed that chronic post-stroke pain could be abated by treatment with perispinal etanercept, although these benefits were questioned. A randomized double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial was conducted to test perispinal etanercept for chronic post-stroke pain.Research design and methods: Participants received two treatments, either perispinal etanercept (active) or saline (control). Primary outcomes were the differences in daily pain levels between groups analyzed by SPSS.Results: On the 0-100 points visual analog scale, perispinal etanercept reduced mean levels for worst and average daily pain from baseline after two treatments by 19.5 - 24 points (p < 0.05), and pain alleviation was maintained in the etanercept group, with no significant change in the control group. Thirty percent of etanercept participants had near complete pain abatement after first treatment. Goniometry of the paretic arm showed improved mean shoulder rotation by 55 degrees in active forward flexion for the etanercept group (p = 0.003) only.Conclusions: Perispinal etanercept can provide significant and ongoing benefits for the chronic post-stroke management of pain and greater shoulder flexion by the paretic arm. Effects are rapid and highly significant, supporting direct action on brain function.Trial registration: ACTRN12615001377527 and Universal Trial Number U1111-1174-3242.


  • Ralph, Stephen J
  • Weissenberger, Andrew
  • Bonev, Ventzislav
  • King, Liam D
  • Bonham, Mikaela D
  • Ferguson, Samantha
  • Smith, Ashley
  • Goodman-Jones, Adrienne A
  • Espinet, Anthony J

publication date

  • March 3, 2020