A Practical Guide for Treatment of Pain in Patients with Systemic Mast Cell Activation Disease

Pain Physician. 2017 Sep;20(6):E849-E861.


Systemic mast cell activation disease (MCAD, a subclass of mastocytosis), which has a prevalence of around 17% (at least in the German population), is characterized by accumulation of genetically altered dysfunctional mast cells with abnormal release of these cells' mediators. Since mast cells affect functions in potentially every organ system, often without causing abnormalities in routine laboratory or radiologic testing, this disease has to be considered routinely in the differential diagnosis of patients with chronic multisystem polymorbidity of a generally inflammatory and allergic theme. Pain in its different manifestations is a common symptom in MCAD found in more than three-quarters of the MCAD patients. Because of the specific mast cell-related causes of pain in MCAD it should be treated specifically, if possible, deduced from their putative mast cell mediator-related causes. As yet, there is no official guideline for treatment of MCAD at all. The present review focuses on mast cell mediator-induced acute and chronic pain and the current state of analgesic drug therapy options in MCAD. Due to the high prevalence of MCAD, many physicians are often faced with the issue of pain management in MCAD patients. Hence, our practical guide should contribute to the improvement of patient care.Key words: Pain therapy, mast cell activation disease, mast cell activation syndrome, systemic mastocytosis, mast cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Mast Cells / immunology
  • Mastocytosis / complications
  • Mastocytosis / immunology
  • Mastocytosis / therapy
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic / complications
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic / immunology
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic / therapy*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain* / drug therapy
  • Pain* / etiology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents