Minocycline is known to reduce microglial activation, suggesting that it may reduce neuropathic pain. We reviewed studies in humans that evaluated the effectiveness of minocycline in alleviating neuropathic pain.
We searched the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane library, and SCOPUS databases for papers published before January 06, 2021, using the search words minocycline and pain. The inclusion criteria for the selection of articles were (1) minocycline administered to humans and (2) minocycline administered to control neuropathic pain.
The primary literature search yielded 2299 relevant papers. Based on the assessment of the titles, abstracts, and full-text, nine publications were selected for this review. Only four of the nine studies showed a positive pain-reducing outcome after minocycline administration. Two of the three studies on chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain showed a positive pain-reducing effect. Minocycline was effective in controlling pain from diabetic and leprotic neuropathies. However, minocycline was not effective in controlling lumbar radicular pain and pain resolution after carpal tunnel release.