Allodynia (pain due to a stimulus that does not usually provoke pain) and hyperalgesia (increased pain from a stimulus that usually provokes pain) are prominent symptoms in patients with neuropathic pain. Both are seen in various peripheral neuropathies and central pain disorders, and affect 15-50% of patients with neuropathic pain. Allodynia and hyperalgesia are classified according to the sensory modality (touch, pressure, pinprick, cold, and heat) that is used to elicit the sensation. Peripheral sensitisation and maladaptive central changes contribute to the generation and maintenance of these reactions, with separate mechanisms in different subtypes of allodynia and hyperalgesia. Pain intensity and relief are important measures in clinical pain studies, but might be insufficient to capture the complexity of the pain experience. Better understanding of allodynia and hyperalgesia might provide clues to the underlying pathophysiology of neuropathic pain and, as such, they represent new or additional endpoints in pain trials.
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