Treatment of neuropathic pain: an overview of recent guidelines

Am J Med. 2009 Oct;122(10 Suppl):S22-32. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.04.007.

Abstract

A number of different treatments for neuropathic pain have been studied, but the literature is sizable, rapidly evolving, and lacks important information about practical aspects of patient management. Under the auspices of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group (NeuPSIG), a consensus process was used to develop evidence-based guidelines for the pharmacologic management of neuropathic pain that take into account clinical efficacy, adverse effects, impact on health-related quality of life, convenience, and costs. On the basis of randomized clinical trials, medications recommended as first-line treatments for neuropathic pain included certain antidepressants (i.e., tricyclic antidepressants and dual reuptake inhibitors of both serotonin and norepinephrine), calcium channel alpha(2)-delta ligands (i.e., gabapentin and pregabalin), and topical lidocaine. Opioid analgesics and tramadol were recommended as second-line treatments that can be considered for first-line use in selected clinical circumstances. Other medications that generally would be used as third-line treatments include certain other antidepressant and antiepileptic medications, topical capsaicin, mexiletine, and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonists. Two other national and international associations recently published pharmacologic treatment guidelines for neuropathic pain, which are summarized and contrasted with the NeuPSIG recommendations. Recent guidelines for the use of neurostimulation for the treatment of neuropathic pain also are summarized. For all treatments for neuropathic pain, long-term studies, head-to-head comparisons, and studies of treatment combinations are a priority for future research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amines / therapeutic use
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Canada
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Europe
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Gabapentin
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Pregabalin
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Societies, Medical
  • Tramadol / therapeutic use
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use

Substances

  • Amines
  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Tramadol
  • Pregabalin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Gabapentin
  • Lidocaine