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      Usefulness of a Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Response Test to Demonstrate Rapid Onset Analgesia with Phenytoin 10% Cream in Polyneuropathy

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          Topical analgesics are an upcoming treatment option for neuropathic pain. In this observational study, we performed a double-blind placebo-controlled response test (DOBRET) in patients with polyneuropathy to determine the personalized analgesic effect of phenytoin 10% cream.

          Patients and Methods

          In a double-blind fashion, 12 consecutive adult patients with symmetrical painful polyneuropathy and equal pain intensity of ≥4 on the 11-point numerical rating scale (NRS) applied phenytoin10% cream on one painful area and a placebo cream on the corresponding contralateral area. We defined responders as patients who experienced a pain reduction ≥2 NRS points from baseline and ≥1 NRS point difference in pain reduction in favour of phenytoin 10% cream compared with placebo cream within 30 minutes after application. We also evaluated the percentage of pain reduction and frequency of 30% and 50% pain relief from baseline.


          Six patients (50%) were responders. Compared with placebo cream, pain reduction was higher in phenytoin 10% cream-applied areas with mean difference in pain reduction of 1.3 (95% CI: 1.1 to 1.8; p<0.001) on the NRS and mean percentage difference in pain reduction of 22% (95% CI: 13% to 32%; p =0.03). All responders had at least 30% pain reduction, and 4 out of 6 had at least 50% pain reduction in the phenytoin 10% cream applied area. All non-responders had less than 30% pain reduction. No side effects were reported.


          A DOBRET is easy to perform, quickly identifies an analgesic effect in responders and could be a useful tool to personalize neuropathic pain treatment with topical formulations.

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          Most cited references 15

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          The 500 Dalton rule for the skin penetration of chemical compounds and drugs.

          Human skin has unique properties of which functioning as a physicochemical barrier is one of the most apparent. The human integument is able to resist the penetration of many molecules. However, especially smaller molecules can surpass transcutaneously. They are able to go by the corneal layer, which is thought to form the main deterrent. We argue that the molecular weight (MW) of a compound must be under 500 Dalton to allow skin absorption. Larger molecules cannot pass the corneal layer. Arguments for this "500 Dalton rule" are; 1) virtually all common contact allergens are under 500 Dalton, larger molecules are not known as contact sensitizers. They cannot penetrate and thus cannot act as allergens in man; 2) the most commonly used pharmacological agents applied in topical dermatotherapy are all under 500 Dalton; 3) all known topical drugs used in transdermal drug-delivery systems are under 500 Dalton. In addition, clinical experience with topical agents such as cyclosporine, tacrolimus and ascomycins gives further arguments for the reality of the 500 Dalton rule. For pharmaceutical development purposes, it seems logical to restrict the development of new innovative compounds to a MW of under 500 Dalton, when topical dermatological therapy or percutaneous systemic therapy or vaccination is the objective.
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            Topical NSAIDs for chronic musculoskeletal pain in adults.

             Sheena Derry (corresponding) ,  Philip Conaghan,  José Da Silva (2016)
            Use of topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat chronic musculoskeletal conditions has become widely accepted because they can provide pain relief without associated systemic adverse events. This review is an update of 'Topical NSAIDs for chronic musculoskeletal pain in adults', originally published in Issue 9, 2012.
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              Topical Treatments for Localized Neuropathic Pain

              Purpose of Review Topical therapeutic approaches in localized neuropathic pain (LNP) syndromes are increasingly used by both specialists and general practitioners, with a potentially promising effect on pain reduction. In this narrative review, we describe the available compounds for topical use in LNP syndromes and address their potential efficacy according to the literature. Recent Findings Local anaesthetics (e.g., lidocaine, bupivacaine and mepivacaine), as well as general anaesthetic agents (e.g., ketamine), muscle relaxants (e.g., baclofen), capsaicin, anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., diclofenac), salicylates, antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline and doxepin), α2 adrenergic agents (e.g., clonidine), or even a combination of them have been tested in various applications for the treatment of LNP. Few of them have reached a sufficient level of evidence to support systematic use as treatment options. Summary Relatively few systemic side effects or drug–drug interactions and satisfactory efficacy seem to be the benefits of topical treatments. More well-organized and tailored studies are necessary for the further conceptualization of topical treatments for LNP.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                01 May 2020
                : 13
                : 877-882
                [1 ]Institute for Neuropathic Pain , Amsterdam, the Netherlands
                [2 ]Department of Neurology, Brain Centre University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University , Utrecht, the Netherlands
                [3 ]Institute for Neuropathic Pain , Bosch En Duin, the Netherlands
                [4 ]Biostatistics & Research Support, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht , Utrecht, the Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence: David J Kopsky Tel +31 6 28671847 Email info@neuropathie.nu
                © 2020 Kopsky et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 1, References: 23, Pages: 6
                Original Research


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