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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LAM Extra for General Practicioners

[A holistic approach to neuropathic pain]

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[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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