Pregabalin, the lidocaine plaster and duloxetine in patients with refractory neuropathic pain: A systematic review

Heron Evidence Development Ltd, Butterfield Technology Park, Luton, UK.
BMC Neurology (Impact Factor: 2.04). 11/2010; 10(116):116. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2377-10-116
Source: PubMed


Patients frequently fail to receive adequate pain relief from, or are intolerant of, first-line therapies prescribed for neuropathic pain (NeP). This refractory chronic pain causes psychological distress and impacts patient quality of life. Published literature for treatment in refractory patients is sparse and often published as conference abstracts only. The aim of this study was to identify published data for three pharmacological treatments: pregabalin, lidocaine plaster, and duloxetine, which are typically used at 2(nd) line or later in UK patients with neuropathic pain.
A systematic review of the literature databases MEDLINE, EMBASE and CCTR was carried out and supplemented with extensive conference and grey literature searching. Studies of any design (except single patient case studies) that enrolled adult patients with refractory NeP were included in the review and qualitatively assessed.
Seventeen studies were included in the review: nine of pregabalin, seven of the lidocaine plaster, and one of duloxetine. No head-to-head studies of these treatments were identified. Only six studies included treatments within UK licensed indications and dose ranges. Reported efficacy outcomes were not consistent between studies. Pain scores were most commonly assessed in studies including pregabalin; trials of pregabalin and the lidocaine plaster reported the proportion of responders. Significant improvements in the total, sensory and affective scores of the Short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire, and in function interference, sleep interference and pain associated distress, were associated with pregabalin treatment; limited or no quality of life data were available for the other two interventions. Limitations to the review are the small number of included studies, which are generally small, of poor quality and heterogeneous in patient population and study design.
Little evidence is available relevant to the treatment of refractory neuropathic pain despite the clinical need. There is a notable lack of high-quality comparative studies. It is evident that there is a need for future, high quality trials, particularly "gold-standard" RCTs in this refractory patient population.

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    • "Furthermore, pregabalin has been successfully used in patients with refractory NP [41, 42], which may be the case in some patients in the current study, since they were symptomatic despite using a mean 2.4 drugs. Specifically, in the Spanish primary care setting, pregabalin was shown to be an effective therapy for the treatment of peripheral NP in patients refractory to at least one previous analgesic in routine clinical practice [43, 44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Patients from a previous study of neuropathic pain (NP) in the Spanish primary care setting still had symptoms despite treatment. Subsequently, patients were treated as prescribed by their physician and followed up for 3 months. Since pregabalin has been shown to be effective in NP, including refractory cases, the objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of pregabalin therapy in patients with NP refractory to previous treatments. This was a post hoc analysis of pregabalin-naïve NP patients treated with pregabalin in a 3-month follow-up observational multicenter study to assess symptoms and satisfaction with treatment. Patients were evaluated with the Douleur Neuropathique en 4 questions (DN4), the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and the Treatment Satisfaction for Medication Questionnaire (SATMED-Q) overall satisfaction domain. 1,670 patients (mean age 58 years, 59 % women), previously untreated or treated with ≥1 drug other than pregabalin, were treated with pregabalin (37 % on monotherapy). At 3 months, pain intensity and its interference with activities decreased by half (p < 0.0001), while the number of days with no or mild pain increased by a mean of 4.5 days (p < 0.0001). Treatment satisfaction increased twofold (p < 0.0001). Patients with a shorter history of pain and those with neuralgia and peripheral nerve compression syndrome (PCS) as etiologies had the highest proportion on monotherapy and showed the greatest improvements in pain-related parameters in their respective group categories. Treatment with pregabalin (as monotherapy or combination therapy) provides benefits in pain and treatment satisfaction in patients with NP, including refractory cases. Shorter disease progression and neuralgia and PCS etiologies are favorable factors for pregabalin treatment response.
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