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      Options for treating postherpetic neuralgia in the medically complicated patient

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          Abstract

          Patients with postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) are often of advanced age or immunocompromised and likely to have ≥1 comorbid medical condition for which they receive ≥1 medication (polypharmacy). Comorbidities affecting renal or hepatic function can alter pharmacokinetics, thereby impacting the efficacy or tolerability of PHN analgesic therapies. Cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, or psychiatric comorbidities may increase patient vulnerability to potential adverse events associated with some PHN analgesic therapies. Because PHN is a localized condition, localized therapy with a topical analgesic (lidocaine patch 5% and capsaicin 8% patch or cream) may provide adequate efficacy while mitigating the risk of systemic adverse events compared with oral analgesics (eg, tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids). However, combined therapy with a topical and an oral analgesic or with >1 oral analgesic may be needed for optimal pain management in some patients. This review summarizes how comorbidities and concomitant medications should be taken into account when selecting among available pharmacotherapies for PHN and provides recommendations for the selection of therapies that will provide analgesia while minimizing the risk of adverse events.

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          Most cited references 112

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          Algorithm for neuropathic pain treatment: an evidence based proposal.

          New studies of the treatment of neuropathic pain have increased the need for an updated review of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials to support an evidence based algorithm to treat neuropathic pain conditions. Available studies were identified using a MEDLINE and EMBASE search. One hundred and five studies were included. Numbers needed to treat (NNT) and numbers needed to harm (NNH) were used to compare efficacy and safety of the treatments in different neuropathic pain syndromes. The quality of each trial was assessed. Tricyclic antidepressants and the anticonvulsants gabapentin and pregabalin were the most frequently studied drug classes. In peripheral neuropathic pain, the lowest NNT was for tricyclic antidepressants, followed by opioids and the anticonvulsants gabapentin and pregabalin. For central neuropathic pain there is limited data. NNT and NNH are currently the best way to assess relative efficacy and safety, but the need for dichotomous data, which may have to be estimated retrospectively for old trials, and the methodological complexity of pooling data from small cross-over and large parallel group trials, remain as limitations.
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            A population-based study of the incidence and complication rates of herpes zoster before zoster vaccine introduction.

            To establish accurate, up-to-date, baseline epidemiological data for herpes zoster (HZ) before the introduction of the recently licensed HZ vaccine. Using data from January 1, 1996, to October 15, 2005, we conducted a population-based study of adult residents (Greater than or equal to 22 years) of Olmsted County, MN, to determine (by medical record review) the incidence of HZ and the rate of HZ-related complications. Incidence rates were determined by age and sex and adjusted to the US population. A total of 1669 adult residents with a confirmed diagnosis of HZ were identified between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 2001. Most (92%) of these patients were immunocompetent and 60% were women. When adjusted to the US adult population, the incidence of HZ was 3.6 per 1000 person-years (95% confidence interval, 3.4-3.7), with a temporal increase from 3.2 to 4.1 per 1000 person-years from 1996 to 2001. The incidence of HZ and the rate of HZ-associated complications increased with age, with 68% of cases occurring in those aged 50 years and older. Postherpetic neuralgia occurred in 18% of adult patients with HZ and in 33% of those aged 79 years and older. Overall, 10% of all patients with HZ experienced 1 or more nonpain complications. Our population-based data suggest that HZ primarily affects immunocompetent adults older than 50 years; 1 in 4 experiences some type of HZ-related complication.
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              Opioid metabolism.

              Clinicians understand that individual patients differ in their response to specific opioid analgesics and that patients may require trials of several opioids before finding an agent that provides effective analgesia with acceptable tolerability. Reasons for this variability include factors that are not clearly understood, such as allelic variants that dictate the complement of opioid receptors and subtle differences in the receptor-binding profiles of opioids. However, altered opioid metabolism may also influence response in terms of efficacy and tolerability, and several factors contributing to this metabolic variability have been identified. For example, the risk of drug interactions with an opioid is determined largely by which enzyme systems metabolize the opioid. The rate and pathways of opioid metabolism may also be influenced by genetic factors, race, and medical conditions (most notably liver or kidney disease). This review describes the basics of opioid metabolism as well as the factors influencing it and provides recommendations for addressing metabolic issues that may compromise effective pain management. Articles cited in this review were identified via a search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PubMed. Articles selected for inclusion discussed general physiologic aspects of opioid metabolism, metabolic characteristics of specific opioids, patient-specific factors influencing drug metabolism, drug interactions, and adverse events.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                2013
                2013
                19 August 2013
                : 9
                : 329-340
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Graduate Studies in Advanced Practice Nursing, Stony Brook University School of Nursing, Stony Brook, NY, USA
                [2 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, and Pharmacology, Rush University Medical College, Chicago, IL, USA
                [3 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Northshore University Health System Pain Centers, Skokie and Evanston Hospitals, Skokie and Evanston, IL, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Patricia Bruckenthal, Stony Brook University School of Nursing, Department of Graduate Studies in Advanced Practice Nursing, Stony Brook University, HSC L2, Room 209, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8240, USA, Tel +1 631 444 3268, Fax +1 631 444 3136, Email patricia.bruckenthal@ 123456stonybrook.edu
                Article
                tcrm-9-329
                10.2147/TCRM.S47138
                3753169
                23990726
                f88d9b25-9bb5-40c7-852c-6fed0f234329
                © 2013 Bruckenthal and Barkin. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Ltd, 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 Ltd, provided the work is properly attributed

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