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Eur J Pain. 2007 Aug;11(6):652-64. Epub 2006 Nov 27.

Clinical characteristics and pain management among patients with painful peripheral neuropathic disorders in general practice settings.

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  • 1Avalon Health Solutions Inc, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA.


Alleviating chronic pain is a global healthcare priority. Understanding the medical profile and current treatment patterns in patients with painful neuropathic disorders (PNDs) is crucial to the development of effective pain management strategies. Thus, our objective was to describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of persons with PNDs and their use of pain medications. Using the general practice research database, we categorized PNDs in two ways: Pure PNDs (which include diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, etc.; N=16,690) and Mixed PNDs (which include back/neck pain with neuropathic involvement; N=14,309). On average, PND patients were 55 years old (Pure, 55.4 [SD=16.9] years; Mixed, 54.3 [SD=16.4] years). Over a third had other chronic pain-related (Pure, 37.5%; Mixed, 37.1%) and nearly a quarter had non-pain related (Pure, 28.1%; Mixed, 24.1%) comorbidities. Use of medications with clinically demonstrated efficacy in PNDs was higher among patients with Pure PNDs (tricyclic antidepressants [Pure, 16.6%; Mixed, 10.1%]; 2nd generation antidepressants [Pure, 11.0%; Mixed, 9.7%]; and antiepileptics [Pure, 12.2%; Mixed, 2.6%]), whereas use of NSAIDs (Pure, 43.1%; Mixed, 65.2%) and opioids (Pure, 8.5%; Mixed, 14.3%) was higher among patients with Mixed PNDs. Average daily doses of select neuropathic pain-related medications among PND patients (Pure and Mixed) were lower than those recommended for neuropathic pain. Among both Pure and Mixed PND patients, use and doses of evidenced-based neuropathic pain-related medications was low, and lower than the use of NSAIDs (a medication class with no proven efficacy for PNDs) in each group, suggesting possible sub-optimal neuropathic pain management among these patients.

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