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Eur J Pain. 2010 Aug;14(7):670-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2009.11.010. Epub 2010 Jan 21.

Cognitive and behavioral interventions for the management of chronic neuropathic pain in adults--a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus MC, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Chronic neuropathic pain is often associated with conditions such as depression and anxiety and strongly affects daily functioning and overall quality of life. It is argued, therefore, that psychosocial interventions should be added to traditional biomedical interventions. This systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of cognitive and behavioral interventions for the management of chronic neuropathic pain.


Electronic databases were searched for all types of studies. Studies were selected by predefined inclusion criteria. Methodological quality was assessed with the Health Technology Assessment-Disease Management instrument. Furthermore, an explorative meta-analysis of four selected studies was performed.


Fourteen studies were assessed: three randomized controlled trials, three controlled before-after studies, seven uncontrolled before-after studies and one time series analysis. The findings of the meta-analysis were not consistent with a significant effect on pain intensity. Only one study had good methodological quality; it showed some significant effects of the interventions, but only in female participants. Other studies of limited methodological quality did report positive effects on pain and quality of life.


This is the first systematic review that has evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive and behavioral techniques for the management of chronic neuropathic pain. Given the limited methodological quality, no informative conclusions can be drawn with respect to the study objective. However, this review does provide insight into the difficulties of this specific area, the need for a clear and widely accepted definition of neuropathic pain and the need for standardized multidimensional measurement instruments.

Copyright (c) 2009 European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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