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, 10 (2), 127-35

The Burden of Neuropathic Pain: Results From a Cross-Sectional Survey


The Burden of Neuropathic Pain: Results From a Cross-Sectional Survey

Anne M McDermott et al. Eur J Pain.


Background: There are few published data on the treatment patterns and burden of neuropathic pain. We have investigated this in a large, observational, cross-sectional survey.

Methods: We surveyed 602 patients with neuropathic pain recruited from general practitioners in six European countries. Physicians recorded demographic and treatment information, including prescription medications. Patients completed Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) severity and interference questions, the EuroQol (EQ-5D), and questions about their productivity, non-prescription treatments, and frequency of physician visits. The BPI Pain Severity score (range: 0-10) is the mean of worst, least, average, and current pain ratings, with scores of 4-6 and 7-10 considered moderate and severe, respectively. We evaluated the impact of pain severity on functioning using analysis of variance models and chi2 tests.

Results: Mean (SD) age was 62.9 (14.4) years (50% female). Most patients reported moderate (54%) or severe (25%) pain. Nearly all patients (93%) were prescribed medications for their neuropathic pain: analgesics (71%); anti-epileptics (51%); antidepressants (29%); sedatives/hypnotics (15%). Seventy-six percent visited their physician at least once in the past month. Employment status was affected in 43% of patients; those employed missed a mean (SD) of 5.5 (9.8) workdays during the past month. Pain severity was associated significantly (P<0.001) with poorer EQ-5D scores (mild=0.67, moderate=0.46, severe=0.16), greater disruption of employment status (mild=24%, moderate=48%, severe=54%), and more frequent physician visits (% with one or more visits: mild=66%, moderate=79%, severe=83%).

Conclusions: Patients with neuropathic pain visit their physician frequently and report substantial pain that interferes with daily functioning despite receiving treatment.

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