Topical amitriptyline-ketamine for treatment of rectal, genital, and perineal pain and discomfort

Timothy J. Poterucha, Sinead L. Murphy, Richard H. Rho, Paola Sandroni, Roger A. Warndahl, William T. Weiss, Mark D.P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Pain in the rectal, genital, and perineal area is a common condition treated by pain physicians. These chronic pain syndromes are therapeutically challenging because both interventional and drug therapies often are ineffective. Objectives: To determine if pelvic pain can be treated effectively with compounded topical amitriptyline-ketamine. Study Design: A retrospective review of medical records. Setting: A single academic medical center in the United States. Methods: We identified all patients treated with topical amitriptyline-ketamine from January 1, 2004, through November 28, 2011. Medical records were evaluated to determine the diagnosis for which the medication was prescribed. Treatment efficacy and any adverse effects were recorded. Results: Of the 1,068 patients who received amitriptyline-ketamine, 13 had the medication prescribed for genital, rectal, or perineal pain and had medication efficacy recorded. Of these 13 patients, one (8%) had complete relief, 6 (46%) had substantial relief, 4 (31%) had some relief, and 2 (15%) had no response. One patient reported occasional irritation while using topical amitriptyline-ketamine with lidocaine; no other patients reported local or systemic adverse effects. Limitations: Retrospective review; lack of uniform system for pain grading; concurrent use of other medications. Conclusions: Topical amitriptyline-ketamine provided a high rate of pain relief with a low adverse-effect burden in patients with pelvic pain. This topical medication could offer an effective, noninvasive, nonopioid therapy for pain in the rectum, perineum, and genitals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-488
Number of pages4
JournalPain physician
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Amitriptyline
  • Compounded medication
  • Genital
  • Ketamine
  • Pain
  • Pelvic
  • Perineal
  • Rectal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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