Neuropathic pain encompasses a broad range of conditions associated with a lesion or disease of the peripheral or central somatosensory system and its prevalence in the general population may be as high as 7-8%. The interest in the pathophysiology of neuropathic pain has increased over the last two decades with an exponential increase in the number of experimental studies. However, despite the hopes raised by scientific discoveries, there has been no rational development of a truly new class of drugs. This situation revealing the limitations of certain experimental models, also results of limitations in clinical research. One of the reasons for the therapeutic difficulties in these patients is probably due to the fact that treatments are used in a uniform fashion whatever the clinical picture, while these syndromes are in fact highly heterogeneous. Clinical advances have recently been made in this field, following the validation of new specific clinical tools and the standardization of quantitative sensory testing paradigms facilitating improvements in the clinical characterization of these syndromes. It has been clearly demonstrated that neuropathic pain is a consistent clinical entity, but it is multidimensional in terms of its clinical expression, with different sensory profiles, potentially reflecting specific pathophysiological mechanisms. This new conceptualization of neuropathic pain should improve the characterization of the responder profiles in clinical trials and provide valuable information for the development of new and more clinically sound translational approaches in experimental models in animals.
Keywords: chronic pain; clinical research; translational research; treatment strategies.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.