LAM Extra for General Practicioners

[A holistic approach to neuropathic pain]

KISS Gábor

JUNE 20, 2010

LAM Extra for General Practicioners - 2010;2(03)

[Neuropathic pain is a chronic pain disorder due to a primary lesion and/or dysfunction of the peripheral or central nervous system. This tormenting condition causes a lot of distress to the patients, impairs their quality of life, and demands significant expenses. Chronic neuropathic pain is frequently under-diagnosed and mistreated. Explanations for these problems are the complex underlying pathomechanism, variability of symptoms, difficulties in diagnosis, and the differences between the treatment of this and other painful disorders. In addition, comorbid conditions such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are often overlooked. Apart from the diagnostic difficulties, also treatment is usually unsatisfactory. Frequently NSAIDs are used, but they are usually not effective. Undoubtedly, even with the use of evidence-based treatment - such as duloxetine and pregabalin - complete pain relief is not always possible. Lack of proper medical education also contributes to problems in diagnosis and treatment. In western countries, diabetes is the most common cause of polyneuropathy. Painful diabetic neuropathy is the most intensely studied neuropathic pain condition; a lot of evidence comes from randomized controlled trials of this type of neuropathy. The same drugs as in the case of other neuropathic pain conditions are used for the symptomatic treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy. Etiological therapy is based on the best achievable glycemic control. A combination of etiological and symptomatic therapy can be a future treatment, but proving this will require further studies.]

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[Secondary hyperaldosteronism resulting from a feeding disorder]

TÓTH Géza, RÁCZ Károly, FŰTŐ László

[INTRODUCTION - A number of diseases can cause hyperreninaemia and secondary hyperaldosteronism due to the stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). The authors present a case of a patient suffering from a feeding disorder, whose secondary hyperaldosteronism verified by hormone examinations recovered after resolution of the feeding disorder. CASE REPORT - The authors found that the patient, who had been on an extreme vegetarian diet and avioded all forms of common salt as well as natural sodium intake for 8 years, had consistently normal electrolite levels, normal blood pressure, elevated plasma renin activity (PRA) and plasma aldosterone levels. Salt loading and postural tests verified secondary hyperaldosteronism. All known diseases that might lead to elevated RAS activity were excluded. After cessation of the salt-restricted diet, the patient’s PRA and plasma aldosteron levels returned to the normal range, which confirmed the possibility that the secondary hyperaldosteronism developed because of the feeding disorder. CONCLUSION - The authors have not found similar hormon alterations due to alimentary causes in humans in the literature. According to their hypothesis, the feeding disorder might lead to secondary hyperaldosteronism via affecting the system or systems that regulate RAS activity.]

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Cerebral vasomotor reactivity in fibromyalgia patients and its relationship to central neuropathic pain

GULER Sibel, KURTOGLU S. Hakan, KEHAYA Sezgin, PAMUK Nuri, CELIK Yahya

Background - Cerebral vasomotor reactivity, defined as the cerebral vasculature response to hypoxia, is not wellunderstood in fibromyalgia (FM) patients. This study investigated the difference in the cerebrovascular reactivity (i.e., responsiveness to hypercapnia was evaluated by use of breath- holding index) to the breath-holding index (BHI) between patients with fibromyalgia and a group of normal controls. Methods - The study included 40 FM patients and 40 healthy subjects. Cerebrovascular reactivity was evaluated using the BHI, which is a nonaggressive, well-tolerated, real-time, reproducible screening method to study cerebral haemodynamics. Insonation depth and basal velocity were symmetrical and not significantly different between the two groups (p>0.05). All patients completed the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), visual analogue scale (VAS), and the somatization subscale of the SCL-90-R symptom checklist. Results - The BHI ranged from 0.30 to 2.20 (mean 1.11±0.45) in the FM patients and 1.10 to 2.80 (mean 1.90±0.35) in the control group (p<0.001). Disease duration and right BHIaverage and left BHIaverage values exhibited a significant negative correlation (r=-0.877; p<0.001, r=-0.842; p<0.001, respectively). As pain and fatigue scores increased, the right BHIaverage and left BHIaverage values decreased (r=-0.431; p=0.005, r=-0.544; p<0.001, r=-0.341; p=0.031, r=-0.644; p<0.001, respectively). Conclusions - BHI values showed that cerebrovascular reactivity in FM patients decreased in comparison to healthy individuals. BHI decreased as disease duration and severity increased. Cerebrovascular reactivity decreased in FM patients, and this phenomenon should be accepted as an abnormality. Additionally, this outcome may have been the result of a mechanism responsible for central neuropathic pain.

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[Pain, on the basis of its anatomical origin, can be nociceptive (somatic, visceral) or neuropathic, that is, occuring as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system. The past few years’ epidemiological studies showed that chronic neuropathic pain affects 7-8% of the general population. Diagnosis of neuropathic pain can be established without instrumental examinations, with the help of validated tests that can be used by any physician. Neuropathic pain greatly deteriorates the patients’ quality of life, and the effect of traditional analgesics is insufficient for its treatment. Thus, it is important to know those treatment procedures and drugs that have been proved to be efficient for relieving neuropathic pain.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[A holistic approach to neuropathic pain]

KISS Gábor

[Neuropathic pain is a chronic pain disorder due to a primary lesion and/or dysfunction of the peripheral or central nervous system. This tormenting condition causes a lot of distress to the patients, impairs their quality of life, and demands significant expenses. Chronic neuropathic pain is frequently under-diagnosed and mistreated. Explanations for these problems are the complex underlying pathomechanism, variability of symptoms, difficulties in diagnosis, and the differences between the treatment of this and other painful disorders. In addition, comorbid conditions such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are often overlooked. Apart from the diagnostic difficulties, also treatment is usually unsatisfactory. Frequently NSAIDs are used, but they are usually not effective. Undoubtedly, even with the use of evidence-based treatment - such as duloxetine and pregabalin - complete pain relief is not always possible. Lack of proper medical education also contributes to problems in diagnosis and treatment. In western countries, diabetes is the most common cause of polyneuropathy. Painful diabetic neuropathy is the most intensely studied neuropathic pain condition; a lot of evidence comes from randomized controlled trials of this type of neuropathy. The same drugs as in the case of other neuropathic pain conditions are used for the symptomatic treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy. Etiological therapy is based on the best achievable glycemic control. A combination of etiological and symptomatic therapy can be a future treatment, but proving this will require further studies.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Drug therapy of neuropathic pain in mirror of latest reccommandations]

KISS Gábor

[Neuropathic pain is considered as a special type of different pain conditions. It’s pathophysiological basis and treatment is completely different from the nociceptive pain. The first comprehensive therapeutic guidelines published approximately a decade ago recommended tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants and opioids. The recent summary presents and evaluates national and international guidelines issued in the last five years. The most frequently suggested drugs by all guidelines are amitriptyline, duloxetine, gabapentin and pregabalin. Pregabalin is the only drug that is recommended first line in all guidelines referred. Opioids are in the second or third line. There seems to be no major development in the pharmacological treatment of the neuropathic pain compared to the earlier recommendations. High quality studies of head to head comparisons and effectiveness of combination therapy are still lacking.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Axillary mononeuropathy after herpes zoster infection misdiagnosed as neuropathic pain

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Zoster-associated extremity paresis is a rare complication of herpes zoster (HZ) and is usually due to zoster-associated mononeuropathy. Complaints of a 77-year-old man started with pain in his right arm and 4 days later he developed itchy red HZ lesions in the same area. One week later, the patient developed weakness in his right arm. The patient was diagnosed with isolated axillary mononeuropathy by physical examination and electromyography. Here, we present a case of axillary mononeuropathy which is a rare complication of HZ infection and needs particular attention.