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      An Open Randomized Comparison of Clinical Effectiveness of Protocol-Driven Opioid Analgesia, Celiac Plexus Block or Thoracoscopic Splanchnicectomy for Pain Management in Patients with Pancreatic and Other Abdominal Malignancies


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          In inoperable malignancy, pain relief with opioids is often inadequate. Nerve block procedures may improve symptom control. Our aim was to assess celiac plexus block (CPB) and thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy (TS) in patients receiving appropriate medical management (MM). Methods: Patients with confirmed irresectable malignancy of the pancreas or upper abdominal viscera who required opioid analgesia were randomized to MM alone, MM+CPB, or MM+TS. Randomization was stratified by treatment centre, tumour type and previous opioid medication. The primary endpoint was pain relief at 2 months. Results: 65 patients (58 pancreas cancer) were randomized, 18 withdrew or died within 2 months. Effective pain relief was achieved in only one third of subjects at 2 weeks, and just under half at 2 months (MM: 6/19 and 5/12 evaluable patients; CPB: 5/14 and 5/9; TS 4/14 and 4/11). There were no significant differences between the groups in pain scores or opioid consumption, and there was no correlation between continued use of opioids and effective pain relief. Discussion: Previous randomized studies have shown small differences in pain scores, but no difference in opioid consumption and quality of life. The absence of any benefit from interventions in the present study questions their value.

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          Most cited references 16

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          The validity and reliability of pain measures in adults with cancer.

           Leif P Jensen (2003)
          To be most useful, clinical trials of cancer pain treatments should use pain measures that are both reliable and valid. A great variety of measures are now available that may be used to assess cancer pain. However, there are not yet any clear guidelines for selecting one or more measures over the others. The purpose of this article is to summarize the evidence concerning the validity and reliability of cancer pain measures. One hundred sixty-four articles were identified that provided psychometric data of pain measures among patients with cancer. The results indicate that commonly used single-item ratings of pain intensity are all valid and adequately reliable as measures of pain intensity, although some scales appear to be easier for patients with cancer to understand and to use than others. Multiple-item measures of pain intensity are reliable, but evidence concerning their validity is lacking. There is a paucity of research examining the psychometric properties of measures of cancer pain interference, pain relief, pain site, the temporal aspects of pain, and pain quality. This lack of evidence limits the conclusions that may be drawn concerning the reliability and validity of these other pain measures. Composite measures that combine ratings of pain intensity and pain interference into a single score appear to be both valid and reliable for describing patient populations, although their usefulness in clinical trials may be limited because they can obscure the contributions of intensity and interference to the total score. Proxy measures of cancer pain (pain ratings made by someone other than the patient) may be useful when patients are not able to provide pain ratings, but they should not be used as replacements for patient ratings when patient self-report measures are available. The discussion includes specific recommendations for selecting from among the available pain measures, as well as recommendations for future research into the assessment of cancer pain.
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            Effect of neurolytic celiac plexus block on pain relief, quality of life, and survival in patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer: a randomized controlled trial.

            Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive tumor associated with high mortality. Optimal pain control may improve quality of life (QOL) for these patients. To test the hypothesis that neurolytic celiac plexus block (NCPB) vs opioids alone improves pain relief, QOL, and survival in patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer. Double-blind, randomized clinical trial conducted at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Enrolled (October 1997 and January 2001) were 100 eligible patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer experiencing pain. Patients were followed up for at least 1 year or until death. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either NCPB or systemic analgesic therapy alone with a sham injection. All patients could receive additional opioids managed by a clinician blinded to the treatment assignment. Pain intensity (0-10 numerical rating scale), QOL, opioid consumption and related adverse effects, and survival time were assessed weekly by a blinded observer. Mean (SD) baseline pain was 4.4 (1.7) for NCPB vs 4.1 (1.8) for opioids alone. The first week after randomization, pain intensity and QOL scores were improved (pain intensity, P .10), and QOL (P =.46) were not significantly different between groups. In the first 6 weeks, fewer NCPB patients reported moderate or severe pain (pain intensity rating of > or =5/10) vs opioid-only patients (14% vs 40%, P =.005). At 1 year, 16% of NCPB patients and 6% of opioid-only patients were alive. However, survival did not differ significantly between groups (P =.26, proportional hazards regression). Although NCPB improves pain relief in patients with pancreatic cancer vs optimized systemic analgesic therapy alone, it does not affect QOL or survival.
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              Persistent pain and depression: a biopsychosocial perspective.

              This review highlights recent research findings on the relationship between persistent pain and depression and discusses the implications of these findings for future research in persons who suffer from both pain and depression. First, we briefly discuss advances in theories of pain that underscore the important role that depression can play in the chronic pain experience. Second, we discuss depression in persons suffering from chronic pain from a biopsychosocial perspective that takes into account both biological and psychosocial mechanisms linking pain and depression. Third, we address biomedical, psychosocial, and combined medical-psychosocial approaches to treatment in persons with persistent pain and depression. We conclude by highlighting future directions for research related to screening and diagnosis of depression in persons having persistent pain, treatment of comorbid pain and depression, and individual and subgroup differences in the experience of persistent pain and depression.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                April 2010
                15 January 2010
                : 9
                : 6
                : 755-763
                aSouthampton General Hospital, Southampton, bLeicester General Hospital, Leicester, cUniversity of Southampton, Southampton, dGlasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, and eRoyal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK
                199441 Pancreatology 2009;9:755–763
                © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel and IAP

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 5, References: 23, Pages: 9
                Original Paper


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