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Drugs. 2007;67(15):2121-33.

Recent advances in the pharmacological management of pain.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Pain is an unpleasant sensation that originates from ongoing or impending tissue damage. Management of different types of pain (acute, postoperative, inflammatory, neuropathic or cancer) is the most frequent issue encountered by clinicians and pharmacological therapy is the first line of approach for the treatment of pain. This review presents and discusses recent clinical advances regarding both the improvements in delivery of analgesic drugs and improvements in the design of analgesic molecules. The new modalities of administration of analgesics used in the clinic are reviewed, including skin patches, oral and mucosal sprays, transdermal delivery systems and intranasal administration. New insights are then presented on standard drugs used to relieve pain, such as opioids (including tramadol), NSAIDs including selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors, paracetamol (acetaminophen), local anaesthetics and adjuvant analgesics such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants (gabapentin and pregabalin), cannabinoids, ketamine and others (e.g. nefopam). Although the understanding of pain mechanisms has improved significantly recently, much more is yet to be discovered and awaited. Broadening of our knowledge is needed to improve basic and clinical research in this field in order to better alleviate pain in millions of people.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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