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Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2014 Sep;19(3):329-41. doi: 10.1517/14728214.2014.915025. Epub 2014 May 3.

Emerging drugs for neuropathic pain.

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Queen's University, Kingston General Hospital, Departments of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine and Biomedical & Molecular Sciences , 76 Stuart St, Kingston, ON K7L 2V7 , Canada +1 613 548 1375 ;



Neuropathic pain is a costly and disabling condition, which affects up to 8% of the population. Available therapies often provide incomplete pain relief and treatment-related side effects are common. Preclinical neuropathic pain models have facilitated identification of several promising targets, which have progressed to human clinical phases of evaluation.


A systematic database search yielded 25 new molecular entities with specified pharmacological mechanisms that have reached Phase II or III clinical trials. These include calcium channel antagonists, vanilloid receptor antagonists, potassium channel agonists, NMDA antagonists, novel opioid receptor agonists, histamine H3 receptor antagonists, a novel sodium channel antagonist, serotonin modulators, a novel acetylcholine receptor agonist, α-2b adrenoreceptor agonist, cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist, nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, orexin receptor antagonist, angiotensin II 2 antagonist, imidazoline I2 receptor agonist, apoptosis inhibitor and fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor.


Although the diversity of pharmacological mechanisms of interest emphasise the complexity of neuropathic pain transmission, the considerable number of agents under development reflect a continued enthusiasm in drug development for neuropathic pain. Ongoing enhancements in methodology of both preclinical and clinical research and closer translation in both directions are expected to more efficiently identify new agents, which will improve the management of neuropathic pain.


chronic pain; clinical trials; experimental models; neuralgia; neuropathic pain; neuropathy; pharmaceutical development; preclinical research; radiculopathy

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