|Classification and external resources|
Neuropathic pain is pain caused by damage or disease affecting the somatosensory nervous system. Neuropathic pain may be associated with abnormal sensations called dysesthesia or pain from normally non-painful stimuli (allodynia). It may have continuous and/or episodic (paroxysmal) components. The latter resemble stabbings or electric shocks. Common qualities include burning or coldness, "pins and needles" sensations, numbness and itching.
Up to 7% to 8% of the European population is affected, and in 5% of persons it may be severe. Neuropathic pain may result from disorders of the peripheral nervous system or the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Thus, neuropathic pain may be divided into peripheral neuropathic pain, central neuropathic pain, or mixed (peripheral and central) neuropathic pain.
- 1 Cause
- 2 Mechanisms
- 3 Treatments
- 4 Research directions
- 5 History
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Central neuropathic pain is found in spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and some strokes. Aside from diabetes (see diabetic neuropathy) and other metabolic conditions, the common causes of painful peripheral neuropathies are herpes zoster infection, HIV-related neuropathies, nutritional deficiencies, toxins, remote manifestations of malignancies, immune mediated disorders and physical trauma to a nerve trunk. Neuropathic pain is common in cancer as a direct result of cancer on peripheral nerves (e.g., compression by a tumor), or as a side effect of chemotherapy (chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy), radiation injury or surgery.
After a peripheral nerve lesion, aberrant regeneration may occur. Neurons become unusually sensitive and develop spontaneous pathological activity, abnormal excitability, and heightened sensitivity to chemical, thermal and mechanical stimuli. This phenomenon is called "peripheral sensitization".
The (spinal cord) dorsal horn neurons give rise to the spinothalamic tract (STT), which constitutes the major ascending nociceptive pathway. As a consequence of ongoing spontaneous activity arising in the periphery, STT neurons develop increased background activity, enlarged receptive fields and increased responses to afferent impulses, including normally innocuous tactile stimuli. This phenomenon is called central sensitization. Central sensitization is an important mechanism of persistent neuropathic pain.
Other mechanisms, however, may take place at the central level after peripheral nerve damage. The loss of afferent signals induces functional changes in dorsal horn neurons. A decrease in the large fiber input decreases activity of interneurons inhibiting nociceptive neurons i.e. loss of afferent inhibition. Hypoactivity of the descending antinociceptive systems or loss of descending inhibition may be another factor. With loss of neuronal input (deafferentation) the STT neurons begin to fire spontaneously, a phenomenon designated "deafferentation hypersensitivity."
The phenomena described above are dependent on changes at the cellular and molecular levels. Altered expression of ion channels, changes in neurotransmitters and their receptors as well as altered gene expression in response to neural input are at play.
Neuropathic pain can be very difficult to treat with only some 40-60% of people achieving partial relief.
Favored treatments are certain antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressant and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), anticonvulsants ( pregabalin and gabapentin), and topical lidocaine. Opioid analgesics are recognized as useful agents but are not recommended as first line treatments.
Dual serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as duloxetine, venlafaxine, and milnacipran, as well as tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and desipramine are considered first-line medications for this condition. While amitriptyline and desipramine has been used as a first line treatment, the quality of evidence to support their use is poor.[needs update]
Botulinum toxin type A
Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) is best known by its trade name, Botox. Local intradermal injection of BTX-A is helpful in chronic focal painful neuropathies. The analgesic effects are not dependent on changes in muscle tone. Benefits persist for at least 14 weeks from the time of administration.
The utility of BTX-A in other painful conditions remains unproven.
The predominant adverse effects are CNS depression and cardiovascular effects—which are mild and well tolerated, but psychoactive side effects limit their use.
Long-term studies are needed to assess the probability of weight gain and possible harmful psychological effects.
A 2007 review of studies found that injected (parenteral) administration of alpha lipoic acid (ALA) was found to reduce the various symptoms of peripheral diabetic neuropathy. While some studies on orally administered ALA had suggested a reduction in both the positive symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (dysesthesia including stabbing and burning pain) as well as neuropathic deficits (paresthesia), the meta-analysis showed "more conflicting data whether it improves sensory symptoms or just neuropathic deficits alone". There is some limited evidence that ALA is also helpful in some other non-diabetic neuropathies.
Implanted devices are expensive and carry the risk of complications. Available studies have focused on conditions having a different prevalence than neuropathic pain patients in general. More research is needed to define the range of conditions that they might benefit.
Deep brain stimulation
The best long-term results with deep brain stimulation have been reported with targets in the periventricular/periaqueductal grey matter (79%), or the periventricular/periaqueductal grey matter plus thalamus and/or internal capsule (87%). There is a significant complication rate, which increases over time.
Motor cortex stimulation
Stimulation of the primary motor cortex through electrodes placed within the skull but outside the thick meningeal membrane (dura) has been used to treat pain. The level of stimulation is below that for motor stimulation. As compared with spinal stimulation, which is associated with noticeable tingling (paresthesia) at treatment levels, the only palpable effect is pain relief.
Spinal cord stimulators and implanted spinal pumps
Spinal cord stimulators, use electrodes placed adjacent to, but outside the spinal cord. The overall complication rate is one-third, most commonly due to lead migration or breakage but advancements in the past decade have driven complication rates much lower. Lack of pain relief occasionally prompts device removal.
Intrathecal pumps deliver medication directly to the fluid filled (subarachnoid) space surrounding the spinal cord. Opioids alone or opioids with adjunctive medication (either a local anesthetic or clonidine) or more recently ziconotide are infused. Complications such as, serious infection (meningitis), urinary retention, hormonal disturbance and intrathecal granuloma formation have been noted with intrathecal infusion.
There are no randomized studies of infusion pumps. For selected patients 50% or greater pain relief is achieved in 38% to 56% at six months but declines with the passage of time. These results must be viewed skeptically since placebo effects cannot be evaluated.
The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor seems to play a major role in neuropathic pain and in the development of opioid tolerance. Dextromethorphan is an NMDA antagonist at high doses. Experiments in both animals and humans have established that NMDA antagonists such as ketamine and dextromethorphan can alleviate neuropathic pain and reverse opioid tolerance. Unfortunately, only a few NMDA antagonists are clinically available and their use is limited by a very short half life (dextromethorphan), weak activity (memantine) or unacceptable side effects (ketamine).
Opioids, also known as narcotics, are increasingly recognized as important treatment options for chronic pain. They are not considered first line treatments in neuropathic pain but remain the most consistently effective class of drugs for this condition. Due to the risk of addiction or diversion, opioids must be used only in appropriate individuals and under close medical supervision.
Several opioids, particularly methadone, and ketobemidone possess NMDA antagonism in addition to their µ-opioid agonist properties. Methadone does so because it is a racemic mixture; only the l-isomer is a potent µ-opioid agonist. The d-isomer does not have opioid agonist action and acts as an NMDA antagonist; d-methadone is analgesic in experimental models of chronic pain. Clinical studies are in progress to test the efficacy of d-methadone in neuropathic pain syndromes.
There is little evidence to indicate that one strong opioid is more effective than another. Expert opinion leans toward the use of methadone for neuropathic pain, in part because of its NMDA antagonism. It is reasonable to base the choice of opioid on other factors.
In some forms of neuropathy, especially post-herpetic neuralgia, the topical application of local anesthetics such as lidocaine is reported to provide relief. A transdermal patch containing lidocaine is available commercially in some countries.
Repeated topical applications of capsaicin, are followed by a prolonged period of reduced skin sensibility referred to as desensitization, or nociceptor inactivation. Capsaicin not only depletes substance P but also results in a reversible degeneration of epidermal nerve fibers. Nevertheless, benefits appear modest with standard (low) strength preparations, and topical capsaicin can itself induce pain.
- Gallium maltolate in a cream or ointment base has been studied in a case report as a treatment of refractory postherpetic trigeminal neuralgia.
Pain management traces its history back to the ancient times. Galen also suggested nerve tissue as the transferring route of pain to the brain through the invisible psychic pneuma. The idea of origination of pain from the nerve itself, without any exciting pathology in other organs is presented by medieval medical scholars such as Rhazes, Haly Abbas and Avicenna. They named this type of pain specifically as "vaja al asab" [nerve originated pain], described its numbness, tingling and needling quality, discussed its etiology and the differentinting characteristics. The description of neuralgia was made by John Fothergill (1712-1780). In an medical article entitled “Clinical Lecture on Lead Neuropathy" published in 1924 the word "Neuropathy" was used for the first time by Gordon.
- "Taxonomy". International Association for the Study of pain. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Torrance N, Smith BH, Bennett MI, Lee AJ (April 2006). "The epidemiology of chronic pain of predominantly neuropathic origin. Results from a general population survey". J Pain 7 (4): 281–9. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2005.11.008. PMID 16618472.
- Bouhassira D, Lantéri-Minet M, Attal N, Laurent B, Touboul C (June 2008). "Prevalence of chronic pain with neuropathic characteristics in the general population". Pain 136 (3): 380–7. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2007.08.013. PMID 17888574.
- Foley P, Vesterinen H, Laird B, et al. (2013). "Prevalence and natural history of pain in adults with multiple sclerosis: Systematic review and meta-analysis". Pain 154 (5): 632–42. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2012.12.002. PMID 23318126.
- Portenoy RK (1989). "Painful polyneuropathy". Neurol Clin 7 (2): 265–88. PMID 2566901.
- Vaillancourt PD, Langevin HM (1999). "Painful peripheral neuropathies". Med. Clin. North Am. 83 (3): 627–42, vi. doi:10.1016/S0025-7125(05)70127-9. PMID 10386118.
-  Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet, Retrieved on 29 December 2008
-  Cancerbackup, Macmillan Cancer Support, Peripheral neuropathy, Retrieved on 29 December 2008
- Wieseler-Frank J, Maier SF, Watkins LR (2005). "Central proinflammatory cytokines and pain enhancement". Neuro-Signals 14 (4): 166–74. doi:10.1159/000087655. PMID 16215299.
- Truini A, Cruccu G (May 2006). "Pathophysiological mechanisms of neuropathic pain". Neurol. Sci. 27 Suppl 2: S179–82. doi:10.1007/s10072-006-0597-8. PMID 16688626.
- Dworkin RH, O'Connor AB, Backonja M, et al. (2007). "Pharmacologic management of neuropathic pain: evidence-based recommendations". Pain 132 (3): 237–51. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2007.08.033. PMID 17920770.
- Dworkin, RH; O'Connor, AB; Audette, J; Baron, R; Gourlay, GK; Haanpää, ML; Kent, JL; Krane, EJ; Lebel, AA; Levy, RM; Mackey, SC; Mayer, J; Miaskowski, C; Raja, SN; Rice, AS; Schmader, KE; Stacey, B; Stanos, S; Treede, RD; Turk, DC; Walco, GA; Wells, CD (Mar 2010). "Recommendations for the pharmacological management of neuropathic pain: an overview and literature update.". Mayo Clinic Proceedings 85 (3 Suppl): S3–14. doi:10.4065/mcp.2009.0649. PMC 2844007. PMID 20194146.
- Wiffen, PJ; Derry, S; Moore, RA (Dec 3, 2013). "Lamotrigine for chronic neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in adults.". The Cochrane database of systematic reviews 12: CD006044. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006044.pub4. PMID 24297457.
- Moore, RA; Derry, S; Aldington, D; Cole, P; Wiffen, PJ (Dec 12, 2012). "Amitriptyline for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in adults.". The Cochrane database of systematic reviews 12: CD008242. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008242.pub2. PMID 23235657.
- Hearn, L; Moore, RA; Derry, S; Wiffen, PJ; Phillips, T (Sep 23, 2014). "Desipramine for neuropathic pain in adults.". The Cochrane database of systematic reviews 9: CD011003. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011003.pub2. PMID 25246131.
- Semenchuk MR, Davis B (March 2000). "Efficacy of sustained-release bupropion in neuropathic pain: an open-label study". The Clinical Journal of Pain 16 (1): 6–11. doi:10.1097/00002508-200003000-00002. PMID 10741812.
- Semenchuk MR, Sherman S, Davis B (November 2001). "Double-blind, randomized trial of bupropion SR for the treatment of neuropathic pain". Neurology 57 (9): 1583–8. doi:10.1212/WNL.57.9.1583. PMID 11706096.
- Shah TH, Moradimehr A (February 2010). "Bupropion for the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain". The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care 27 (5): 333–6. doi:10.1177/1049909110361229. PMID 20185402.
- Ranoux D, Attal N, Morain F, Bouhassira D (September 2008). "Botulinum toxin type A induces direct analgesic effects in chronic neuropathic pain". Annals of Neurology 64 (3): 274–83. doi:10.1002/ana.21427. PMID 18546285.
- Naumann M, So Y, Argoff CE, et al. (May 2008). "Assessment: Botulinum neurotoxin in the treatment of autonomic disorders and pain (an evidence-based review): report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology". Neurology 70 (19): 1707–14. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000311390.87642.d8. PMID 18458231.
- Grotenhermen, F; Müller-Vahl, K (Jul 2012). "The therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids.". Deutsches Arzteblatt international 109 (29-30): 495–501. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2012.0495. PMC 3442177. PMID 23008748.
- Leung, L (Jul–Aug 2011). "Cannabis and its derivatives: review of medical use.". Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM 24 (4): 452–62. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2011.04.100280. PMID 21737770.
- Campbell FA, Tramèr MR, Carroll D, Reynolds DJ, Moore RA, McQuay HJ (2001). "Are cannabinoids an effective and safe treatment option in the management of pain? A qualitative systematic review". BMJ 323 (7303): 13–6. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7303.13. PMC 34324. PMID 11440935.
- Vickers SP, Kennett GA (March 2005). "Cannabinoids and the regulation of ingestive behaviour". Curr Drug Targets 6 (2): 215–23. doi:10.2174/1389450053174514. PMID 15777191.
- Foster TS (2007). "Efficacy and safety of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation in the treatment of symptomatic diabetic neuropathy". Diabetes Educ 33 (1): 111–7. doi:10.1177/0145721706297450. PMID 17272797.
ALA appears to improve neuropathic symptoms and deficits when administered via parenteral supplementation over a 3-week period. Oral treatment with ALA appears to have more conflicting data whether it improves sensory symptoms or just neuropathic deficits alone.
- Ziegler D, Ametov A, Barinov A, et al. (2006). "Oral treatment with alpha-lipoic acid improves symptomatic diabetic polyneuropathy: the SYDNEY 2 trial". Diabetes Care 29 (11): 2365–70. doi:10.2337/dc06-1216. PMID 17065669.
- Patton LL, Siegel MA, Benoliel R, De Laat A (2007). "Management of burning mouth syndrome: systematic review and management recommendations". Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 103 Suppl: S39.e1–13. doi:10.1016/j.tripleo.2006.11.009. PMID 17379153.
- Stracke H, Lindemann A, Federlin K (1996). "A benfotiamine-vitamin B combination in treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy". Exp. Clin. Endocrinol. Diabetes 104 (4): 311–6. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1211460. PMID 8886748.
- Thornalley PJ (2005). "The potential role of thiamine (vitamin B(1)) in diabetic complications". Curr Diabetes Rev 1 (3): 287–98. doi:10.2174/157339905774574383. PMID 18220605.
- Krames ES (2006). "Neuromodulatory devices are part of our "Tools of the Trade"". Pain Med 7: S3–5. doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2006.00116.x.
- Bittar RG, Kar-Purkayastha I, Owen SL, et al. (2005). "Deep brain stimulation for pain relief: a meta-analysis". J Clin Neurosci 12 (5): 515–9. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2004.10.005. PMID 15993077.
- Oh MY, Abosch A, Kim SH, Lang AE, Lozano AM (2002). "Long-term hardware-related complications of deep brain stimulation". Neurosurgery 50 (6): 1268–74; discussion 1274–6. doi:10.1097/00006123-200206000-00017. PMID 12015845.
- Brown JA, Pilitsis JG. Motor Cortex Stimulation Pain Medicine 2006; 7:S140.
- Osenbach, R. Neurostimulation for the Treatment of Intractable Facial Pain Pain Medicine 2006; 7:S126
- Turner JA, Loeser JD, Deyo RA, Sanders SB (2004). "Spinal cord stimulation for patients with failed back surgery syndrome or complex regional pain syndrome: a systematic review of effectiveness and complications". Pain 108 (1–2): 137–47. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2003.12.016. PMID 15109517.
- Lynch SS, Cheng CM, Yee JL (2006). "Intrathecal ziconotide for refractory chronic pain". Ann Pharmacother 40 (7–8): 1293–300. doi:10.1345/aph.1G584. PMID 16849624.
- Turner JA, Sears JM, Loeser JD (2007). "Programmable intrathecal opioid delivery systems for chronic noncancer pain: a systematic review of effectiveness and complications". Clin J Pain 23 (2): 180–95. doi:10.1097/01.ajp.0000210955.93878.44. PMID 17237668.
- Nelson KA, Park KM, Robinovitz E, Tsigos C, Max MB (1997). "High-dose oral dextromethorphan versus placebo in painful diabetic neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia". Neurology 48 (5): 1212–8. doi:10.1212/WNL.48.5.1212. PMID 9153445.
- Davis AM, Inturrisi CE (1999). "d-Methadone blocks morphine tolerance and N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced hyperalgesia". J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 289 (2): 1048–53. PMID 10215686.
- Bruera E, Palmer JL, Bosnjak S, et al. (2004). "Methadone versus morphine as a first-line strong opioid for cancer pain: a randomized, double-blind study". J. Clin. Oncol. 22 (1): 185–92. doi:10.1200/JCO.2004.03.172. PMID 14701781.
- Nolano M, Simone DA, Wendelschafer-Crabb G, Johnson T, Hazen E, Kennedy WR (1999). "Topical capsaicin in humans: parallel loss of epidermal nerve fibers and pain sensation". Pain 81 (1–2): 135–45. doi:10.1016/S0304-3959(99)00007-X. PMID 10353501.
- Finnerup NB, Otto M, Jensen TS, Sindrup SH (2007). "An Evidence-Based Algorithm for the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain". MedGenMed 9 (2): 36. PMC 1994866. PMID 17955091.
- Bernstein, L.R. (2013). "Gallium, therapeutic effects" (PDF). In Kretsinger, R.H.; Uversky, V.N.; Permyakov, E.A. Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins. New York: Springer. pp. 823–835. ISBN 978-1-4614-1532-9.
- Swidan, Sahar Z.; Mohamed, Hagar A. (February 2016). "Use of Topical Pain Medications in the Treatment of Various Pain Syndromes". Topics in Pain Management 31 (7): 1–8. doi:10.1097/01.TPM.0000480460.46614.c1.
- "Galen's ideas on neurological function". J Hist Neurosci 3: 263–71. 1994. doi:10.1080/09647049409525619. PMID 11618827.
- "The origin of the concept of neuropathic pain in Early Medieval Persia (9th - 12th century CE).". Acta Med Hist Adriat. 13 Suppl 1: 9–22. 2015. PMID 26959637.
- Scadding, JW (March 2004). "Treatment of neuropathic pain: historical aspects.". Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 5 Suppl 1: S3–8. doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2004.04018.x. PMID 14996226.
- Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE (UK). The Pharmacological Management of Neuropathic Pain in Adults in Non-Specialist Settings. NICE Clinical Guidelines. March 2010.