Special Considerations and Recommendations for Interventions for Pediatric Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain Center, Division of Pain Management, Department of Anesthesia, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
International anesthesiology clinics 10/2012; 50(4):120-9. DOI: 10.1097/AIA.0b013e3182719235
Source: PubMed


In select cases, interventional pain management techniques can bean effective adjunct to the multidisciplinary care of pediatric patients with chronic pain. The secret to success stems in proper patient selection and in delineating clear goals and expectations—motivated patients do well. Comfort measures ranging from distraction through general anesthesia should be employed to alleviate anxiety and distress, and to provide optimal working conditions for the proceduralist. In the appropriate context, the occasion to provide interventional care can be a rewarding role for the anesthesiologist to play in chronic pediatric pain patient care.

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    ABSTRACT: Chronic pain in children and young adults occurs frequently and contributes to early disability as well as personal and familial distress. A biopsychosocial approach to evaluation and treatment is recommended. Within this approach, there is a role for pharmacologic intervention. A variety of medications are used for chronic pain conditions in pediatric patients. Medication classes include anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, opioids, local anesthetics, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Data is sparse, and most medications are used without condition-specific approval by national regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration in the US and the European Medicines Agency. In the absence of evidence on which to base practice, optimal drug therapy decisions rest on understanding proposed mechanisms of pain conditions, extrapolation from adult data-when such exists, and empirical and experiential knowledge. Drug delivery systems have evolved, and practitioners have to decide amongst not only medication classes, but also routes of delivery. Opioids are not recommended for use by non-pain specialists for the treatment of pediatric chronic pain, and even then the issues are more complex than can be addressed here. This article reviews the major medications used for pediatric chronic pain conditions.
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