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Pain Manag. 2017 Nov;7(6):537-558. doi: 10.2217/pmt-2017-0020. Epub 2017 Nov 10.

Management of chronic neuropathic pain with single and compounded topical analgesics.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60657, USA.
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
Department of Surgery, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


The goal of our review was to emphasize important aspects that physicians should take into consideration when prescribing topical analgesics as part of chronic neuropathic pain treatment. We discuss the dermatopharmacokinetics and microstructural components of the skin, differences between topical and transdermal drug delivery, and topical medication effects on peripheral neuropathy and central sensitization. Even though the US FDA approved topical analgesics are 8%-capsaicin and 5%-lidocaine patches for treating postherpetic neuralgia, there are many other studies conducted on the efficacy of topical ketamine cream, clonidine gel, topical gabapentin, topical baclofen and topical phenytoin for peripheral neuropathic pain, either alone or in combination with other formulations. Furthermore, we discuss new compounded topical analgesics that are becoming more popular and that are showing promising results in the management of chronic peripheral neuropathies. However, more studies are needed for elucidation of the role of topical analgesics and their effects, especially when combined with other treatments.


capsaicin; clonidine; compounded creams; cream; ketamine; lidocaine; neuropathic pain; patch; topical analgesia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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