Background: Chronic neuropathic pain is a common condition which is challenging to treat. Many people with neuropathic pain are managed in the community, so primary care records may allow more appropriate subjects to be recruited for clinical studies.
Objective: We investigated whether primary care records can be used to identify patients with diseases associated with neuropathic pain.
Method: We analysed demographic, diagnostic and prescribing data from over 100 000 primary care electronic patient records in one part of London, UK.
Results: The prevalence of diagnoses associated with chronic neuropathic pain was 13 per 1000, with the elderly, women and white patients experiencing the greatest burden of disease.
Conclusion: Computerised health records offer an excellent opportunity to improve the identification of patients for clinical research in complex conditions like chronic neuropathic pain. To make full use of data from these records, standardisation of clinical coding and consensus on diagnostic criteria are needed.