Scientists Predict Neuropathic Pain Treatment Response

Scientists are able to predict the body's response to neuropathic pain treatment, according to a study presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Scientists are able to predict who will respond well to neuropathic pain treatment by assessing the nervous system’s ability to regulate pain using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

In a study presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), patients whose testing indicated superior conditioned pain modulation (CPM) had less pain and fewer neuropathic symptoms. After analyzing quantitative sensory testing (QST) data, researchers were able to correctly predict changes in pain intensity.

The scientists observed 44 patients treated with diclofenac topical gel, an NSAID, for knee osteoarthritis (OA) for 5 weeks. Patients were tested for genetically and environmentally influenced physical characteristics, including the Neuropathic Pain Questionnaire, the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, an exercise performance task, and QST.

At 4 weeks, there was 30% improvement in pain on average, as well as significant response for neuropathic symptoms and improved function. After 5 weeks, the results showed that of 38 participants who completed the study, 40% had significant neuropathic symptoms. The mean score on a pain scale was 35/100, which included burning or shooting sensations and sensitivity to touch.

The researchers also noted that changes in pain intensity could derive from endogenous pain modulators or outside forces, including past memories, stress, anxiety, distraction, or attention.