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      Intrathecal pain management: a team-based approach

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          Physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), and registered nurses (RNs) provide professional services on pain management teams. This review provides an overview of the practical management of chronic pain with intrathecal (IT) therapy using an interprofessional approach (eg, physicians and other health care professionals), with a focus on the contributions of PAs, NPs, and RNs.


          Narrative review based on literature searches of the Medline database and treatment guidelines on the use of IT therapy in the management of patients with chronic pain.


          The specific roles and responsibilities of PAs, NPs, and RNs in the management of patients receiving IT therapy vary by practice. In many pain treatment centers, PAs, NPs, and RNs are responsible for patient education, postimplant maintenance, and ongoing supportive care of patients receiving IT therapy. Topics that we address include patient selection, patient expectations and goal setting, medication selection, outcome assessment, and treatment adjustment. Currently, morphine and ziconotide (a nonopioid, selective N-type calcium channel blocker) are the only agents approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for IT analgesia. We provide relevant information on the dosing, titration, and adverse effect management of these medications for PAs, NPs, and RNs responsible for administering IT therapy.


          PAs, NPs, and RNs are valuable members of IT pain management teams. Treatment success requires ongoing monitoring of efficacy and adverse effects, with corresponding adjustments to medication selection and dosing, in addition to good communication among the health care professionals involved in patient care.

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          Most cited references 74

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          A comparison of pain rating scales by sampling from clinical trial data.

          The goals of this study were to examine agreement and estimate differences in sensitivity between pain assessment scales. Multiple simultaneous pain assessments by patients in acute pain after oral surgery were used to compare a four-category verbal rating scale (VRS-4) and an 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS-11) with a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS). The sensitivity of the scales (i.e., their ability [power] to detect differences between treatments) was compared in a simulation model by sampling from true pairs of observations using varying treatment differences of predetermined size. There was considerable variability in VAS scores within each VRS-4 or NRS-11 category both between patients and for repeated measures from the same patient. Simulation experiments showed that the VAS was systematically more powerful than the VRS-4 in all simulations performed. The sensitivity of the VAS and NRS-11 was approximately equal. In this acute pain model, the VRS-4 was less sensitive than the VAS. The simulation results demonstrated similar sensitivity of the NRS-11 and VAS when comparing acute postoperative pain intensity. The choice between the VAS and NRS-11 can thus be based on subjective preferences.
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            Multidisciplinary treatment for chronic pain: a systematic review of interventions and outcomes.

            To provide an overview of the effectiveness of multidisciplinary treatments of chronic pain and investigate about their differential effects on outcome in various pain conditions and of different multidisciplinary treatments, settings or durations. In this article, the authors performed a systematic review of all currently available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) fulfilling the inclusion criteria, by using a recently developed rating system aimed to assess the strength of evidence with regard to the methodological quality of the trials. Compared with other non-disciplinary treatments, moderate evidence of higher effectiveness for multidisciplinary interventions was shown. In contrast to no treatment or standard medical treatment, strong evidence was detected in favour of multidisciplinary treatments. The evidence that comprehensive inpatient programmes were more beneficial that outpatient programmes was moderate. Fibromyalgia and chronic back pain patients tended to profit more substantially than patients with diverse origins or chronic pain diagnoses. No evidence was found that treatment variables, such as duration or programme components, were influential for the success of the intervention. A standard of multidisciplinary programmes should be internationally established to guarantee generally good outcomes in the treatment of chronic pain. Our results highlight the lack of quality of design, execution or reporting of many of the RCTs included in this article. Future studies should more specifically focus on differential effects of treatment components and patient variables, allowing the identification of subgroups, which most probably would profit from multidisciplinary pain programmes.
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              Intrathecal ziconotide in the treatment of refractory pain in patients with cancer or AIDS: a randomized controlled trial.

              Ziconotide (formerly SNX-111) selectively blocks N-type voltage-sensitive calcium channels and may be effective in patients with pain that is refractory to opioid therapy or those with intolerable opioid-related adverse effects. To assess the safety and efficacy of intrathecal ziconotide in patients with pain that is refractory to conventional treatment. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial conducted from March 12, 1996, to July 11, 1998, at 32 study centers in the United States, Australia, and the Netherlands. Patients were 111 individuals ages 24 to 85 years with cancer or AIDS and a mean Visual Analog Scale of Pain Intensity (VASPI) score of 50 mm or greater. Patients were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive ziconotide or placebo treatment. Intrathecal ziconotide was titrated over 5 to 6 days, followed by a 5-day maintenance phase for responders and crossover of nonresponders to the opposite treatment group. Mean percentage change in VASPI score from baseline to the end of the initial titration period. Of the evaluable population, 67 (98.5%) of 68 patients receiving ziconotide and 38 (95%) of 40 patients receiving placebo were taking opioids at baseline (median morphine equivalent dosage of 300 mg/d for the ziconotide group and 600 mg/d for the placebo group; P =.63, based on mean values), and 36 had used intrathecal morphine. Mean (SD) VASPI scores were 73.6 (1.8) mm in the ziconotide group and 77.9 (2.3) mm in the placebo group (P =.18). Mean VASPI scores improved 53.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 44.0%-62.2%) in the ziconotide group and 18.1% (95% CI, 4.8%-31.4%) in the placebo group (P<.001), with no loss of efficacy of ziconotide in the maintenance phase. Pain relief was moderate to complete in 52.9% of patients in the ziconotide group compared with 17.5% in the placebo group (P<.001). Five patients receiving ziconotide achieved complete pain relief, and 50.0% of patients receiving ziconotide responded to therapy compared with 17.5% of those receiving placebo (P =.001). Intrathecal ziconotide provided clinically and statistically significant analgesia in patients with pain from cancer or AIDS.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                03 November 2017
                : 10
                : 2565-2575
                [1 ]Pacific Pain Medicine Consultants, Encinitas
                [2 ]Cypress Ambulatory Surgery Center, Santa Maria, CA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jeremy A Adler, Pacific Pain Medicine Consultants, 477 North El Camino Real, Suite B301, Encinitas, CA 92024, USA, Tel +1 760 753 1104, Mob +1 619 829 1430, Fax +1 760 943 6494, Email jadler@ 123456pacificpainmed.com
                © 2017 Adler and Lotz. 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.



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