When the pathophysiology of a medical condition is multimodal, ie, related to multiple physiological causes or mediated by multiple pathways, the optimal strategy can be to use a drug or a combination of drugs that contribute multiple mechanisms to the therapeutic endpoint. In such situations, a rational multimodal approach can also result in the fewest adverse effects. We discuss the quantitative analysis of multimodal action using the treatment of pain as a practical example and give examples of its application to some widely used analgesic drugs.
Perspective: This article reviews the medical relevance of the quantitative evaluation of drug combinations, using pain and combinations of analgesics as specific examples. Such measure can help clinicians who seek to maximize therapeutic effect while simultaneously minimizing adverse effects.
Copyright (c) 2010 American Pain Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.