Lege Artis Medicinae

[A holistic approach to neuropathic pain]

KISS Gábor

APRIL 01, 2009

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2009;19(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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[INTRODUCTION - Malignant tumours arising from the wall of the pulmonary artery or the aorta are very rare. Two types are known, leiomyosarcoma and intimal sarcoma. Intimal sarcoma is usually associated with a thrombus that may close the lumen, which complication being important in case of pulmonary artery tumours. Such tumours can be diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CASE REPORT - A 42-year-old woman was hospitalized with an anamnesis of three months of subfebrility/fever, dyspnea and hemoptysis. Right-sided pulmonary thromboembolism and exudative pleuritis were diagnosed. MRI findings suggested a tumour of the right pulmonary trunk. She underwent surgery with extracorporeal circulation; and a compact mass with a connected thrombus filling the right pulmonary trunk and its hilar branches were removed by thromboendarterectomy. Histology revealed intimal sarcoma of the pulmonary artery. The patient died of this tumour’s progression four years later. CONCLUSION - In case of pulmonary thromboembolism the possibility of intimal sarcoma has to be considered. Vascular tumours can be proven or excluded by MRI.]

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[Anemia observed in patients with infectious, inflammatory, or neoplastic diseases and persisting for more than one month is called anemia of chronic disease. The term anemia of chronic disease is far from perfect, the terms of anemia of inflammation, cytokine-mediated anemia, and anemia of defective iron reuse are also used. Anemia of chronic disease is more common than any other anemia syndrome - apart from anemia caused by iron deficiency secondary to blood loss. Erythrocytes usually are normocytic, but hypochromia and microcytosis may also be observed. In almost every case, this type of anemia is hypo-regenerative. Characteristic laboratory findings include hypoferremia, hyperferritinemia, and hypotransferrinemia. Cause of this anemia is complex; pathogenesis of this anemia includes moderate shortening of erythrocyte survival, blunted response to erythropoietin, reduced medullar erythropoiesis, and limited medullar iron availability. In addition to treating the underlying pathology, treatment opportunities are recombinant human erythropoietin, transfusions, and intravenous iron.]

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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.]

LAM Extra for General Practicioners

[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.]