Intravenous Therapies in the Management of Neuropathic Pain

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Abstract Neuropathic Pain is a term referred to “pain arising as a direct consequence of a lesion affecting the somatosensory system”. As a first line option, oral medications are mostly used, as they are easily available, relatively safe, and do not need much resources. They include antidepressants in the form of tricyclics, newer selective reuptake inhibitors of serotonin and norepinephrine, gabapentin, pregabalin etc. Although neuropathic pain conditions do share some common clinical features, they are quite diverse when considered individually according to their etiology and pathogenesis. Hence not all patients and not all types of neuropathic pain respond to such oral therapy. In practice patients are given a form of such neuropathic pain medication along with or without an opioid, depending upon the extent of pain that the patient suffers. Opioids are potent analgesics but are not a good choice for neuropathic pain conditions. With time the clinician is left with fewer alternatives and furthermore, with the the increasing knowledge that escalation of opioid therapy will perhaps lead to hyperalgesia and tolerance, it becomes necessary to explore other options. Among the other options one can always consider to explore treatment with intravenous medication such as Ketamine, Lidocaine, and Magnesium etc. This chapter would highlight the use of ketamine and lidocaine in the form of drug profile, the pharmacological basis behind its use, strategies to use, important side effects and limitations and available evidence base, including a review of randomised controlled studies. Both are considered separately in two different parts. References for both the parts are given at the end, in separate sections.
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