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      Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management (submit here)

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      Building a diagnostic algorithm on localized neuropathic pain (LNP) and targeted topical treatment: focus on 5% lidocaine-medicated plaster


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          Within the broad definition of neuropathic pain, the refinement of clinical diagnostic procedures has led to the introduction of the concept of localized neuropathic pain (LNP). It is characterized by consistent and circumscribed area(s) of maximum pain, which are associated with negative or positive sensory signs and/or spontaneous symptoms typical of neuropathic pain. This description outlines the clinical features (currently lacking in guidelines and treatment recommendations) in patients for whom topical targeted treatment with 5% lidocaine-medicated plaster is suggested as first-line therapy. Few epidemiologic data are present in the literature but it is generally estimated that about 60% of neuropathic pain conditions are localized, and therefore identifiable as LNP. A mandatory clinical criterion for the diagnosis of LNP is that signs and symptoms must be present in a clearly identified and defined area(s). Cartographic recordings can help to define each area and to assess variations. The diagnosis of LNP relies on careful neurological examination more than on pain questionnaires, but it is recognized that they can be extremely useful for recording the symptom profiles and establishing a more targeted treatment. The most widely studied frequent/relevant clinical presentations of LNP are postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, and neuropathic postoperative pain. They successfully respond to treatment with 5% lidocaine-medicated plaster with equal if not better pain control but with fewer side effects versus conventional systemic treatments. Generally, the more localized the pain (ie, the area of an A4 sheet of paper) the better the results of topical treatment. This paper proposes an easy-to-understand algorithm to identify patients with LNP and to guide targeted topical treatments with 5% lidocaine medicated plaster.

          Most cited references45

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          The burden of neuropathic pain: results from a cross-sectional survey.

          There are few published data on the treatment patterns and burden of neuropathic pain. We have investigated this in a large, observational, cross-sectional survey. We surveyed 602 patients with neuropathic pain recruited from general practitioners in six European countries. Physicians recorded demographic and treatment information, including prescription medications. Patients completed Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) severity and interference questions, the EuroQol (EQ-5D), and questions about their productivity, non-prescription treatments, and frequency of physician visits. The BPI Pain Severity score (range: 0-10) is the mean of worst, least, average, and current pain ratings, with scores of 4-6 and 7-10 considered moderate and severe, respectively. We evaluated the impact of pain severity on functioning using analysis of variance models and chi2 tests. Mean (SD) age was 62.9 (14.4) years (50% female). Most patients reported moderate (54%) or severe (25%) pain. Nearly all patients (93%) were prescribed medications for their neuropathic pain: analgesics (71%); anti-epileptics (51%); antidepressants (29%); sedatives/hypnotics (15%). Seventy-six percent visited their physician at least once in the past month. Employment status was affected in 43% of patients; those employed missed a mean (SD) of 5.5 (9.8) workdays during the past month. Pain severity was associated significantly (P<0.001) with poorer EQ-5D scores (mild=0.67, moderate=0.46, severe=0.16), greater disruption of employment status (mild=24%, moderate=48%, severe=54%), and more frequent physician visits (% with one or more visits: mild=66%, moderate=79%, severe=83%). Patients with neuropathic pain visit their physician frequently and report substantial pain that interferes with daily functioning despite receiving treatment.
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            Neuropathic pain: are there distinct subtypes depending on the aetiology or anatomical lesion?

            Neuropathic pain can be caused by a variety of nerve lesions and it is unsettled whether it should be categorised into distinct clinical subtypes depending on aetiology or type of nerve lesion or individualised as a specific group, based on common symptomatology across aetiologies. In this study, we used a multivariate statistical method (multiple correspondence analyses) to investigate associations between neuropathic positive symptoms (assessed with a specific questionnaire, the Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory [NPSI]) and aetiologies, types of nerve lesion and pain localisations. We also examined the internal structure of the NPSI and its relevance to evaluation of symptoms of evoked pains by exploring their relationships with clinician-based quantified measures of allodynia and hyperalgesia. This study included 482 consecutive patients (53% men; mean age: 58+/-15 years) with pain associated with peripheral or central lesions. Factor analysis showed that neuropathic symptoms of the NPSI can be categorised into five dimensions. Spearman correlation coefficients indicated that self-reported pain evoked by brush, pressure and cold stimuli strongly correlated to allodynia/hyperalgesia to brush, von Frey hairs and cold stimuli (p<0.0001, n=90). Multiple correspondence analyses indicated few associations between symptoms (or dimensions) and aetiologies, types of lesions, or pain localisations. Exceptions included idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia and postherpetic neuralgia. We found that there are more similarities than differences in the neuropathic positive symptoms associated with a large variety of peripheral and central lesions, providing rationale for subgrouping aetiologically diverse neuropathic patients into a specific multidimensional category for therapeutic management.
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              Risk factors for postherpetic neuralgia in patients with herpes zoster.

              To identify risk factors for postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) using a validated definition of this chronic neuropathic pain syndrome, to determine combinations of risk factors that identify patients with a high risk of developing PHN, and to examine the characteristics of patients with subacute herpetic neuralgia, that is, pain that persists beyond the acute phase of herpes zoster but that resolves before PHN can be diagnosed. The authors examined baseline and follow-up data from 965 herpes zoster patients enrolled within 72 hours of rash onset in two clinical trials of famciclovir. Univariate and multivariate analyses indicated that older age, female sex, presence of a prodrome, greater rash severity, and greater acute pain severity made independent contributions to identifying which patients developed PHN. Patients with subacute herpetic neuralgia who did not develop PHN were significantly younger and had less severe acute pain than PHN patients but were significantly more likely to have severe and widespread rash than patients without persisting pain. The independent contributions to the prediction of PHN made by older age, female sex, presence of a prodrome, greater rash severity, and greater acute pain severity suggest that these risk factors reflect different mechanisms that each contribute to the development of PHN. Subacute herpetic neuralgia that does not progress to PHN may reflect peripheral tissue damage and inflammation caused by a particularly severe or widespread rash.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                16 April 2014
                : 10
                : 259-268
                [1 ]Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and Pain Rehabilitation Unit, Foundation “Salvatore Maugeri”, Research and Care Institute, IRCCS, Pavia, Italy
                [2 ]EFIC Montescano Pain School, Montescano, Italy
                [3 ]Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences, Section of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Roberto Casale, Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and Pain Rehabilitation Unit, Foundation “Salvatore Maugeri”, Research and Care Institute, IRCCS, Pavia, 27040 Montescano, Italy, Email roberto.casale@ 123456fsm.it
                © 2014 Casale and Mattia. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Expert Opinion

                pain treatment,posterpethic neuralgia,diabetic polineuropathy,postsurgical neuropathic pain


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