Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Pain Res Manag. 2012 Jan-Feb;17(1):10-4.

Pain catastrophizing predicts poor response to topical analgesics in patients with neuropathic pain.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.



Previous research suggests that high levels of pain catastrophizing might predict poorer response to pharmacological interventions for neuropathic pain.


The present study sought to examine the clinical relevance of the relation between catastrophizing and analgesic response in individuals with neuropathic pain. Clinically meaningful reductions were defined in terms of the magnitude of reductions in pain through the course of treatment, and in terms of the number of patients whose end-of-treatment pain ratings were below 4⁄10.


Patients (n=82) with neuropathic pain conditions completed a measure of pain catastrophizing at the beginning of a three-week trial examining the efficacy of topical analgesics for neuropathic pain.


Consistent with previous research, high scores on the measure of pain catastrophizing prospectively predicted poorer response to treatment. Fewer catastrophizers than noncatastrophizers showed moderate (≥ 2 points) or substantial reductions in pain ratings through the course of treatment. Fewer catastrophizers than noncatastrophizers achieved end-of-treatment pain ratings below 4⁄10.


The results of the present study suggest that the development of brief interventions specifically targeting catastrophic thinking might be useful for enhancing the effects of pharmacological interventions for neuropathic pain. Furthermore, failure to account for the level of catastrophizing might contribute to null findings in clinical trials of analgesic medication.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center