AbstractBackground and aimsPeripheral neuropathic pain (PNeP) is a chronic and disabling condition for which no predictors of response to treatment have yet been identified. Clinical studies show that while many patients with PNeP respond positively to treatment with the capsaicin 8% patch, others do not. This study used quantitative sensory testing (QST) to determine whether any patient characteristics can predict response to treatment with the capsaicin 8% patch.MethodsThis was a prospective, non-placebo-controlled, observational study. Patients used the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) to assess their pain at baseline and then on Days 1, 7–10 (from here referred to as Day 7/10), 28 and 84 following treatment with the capsaicin 8% patch. QST was undertaken at the same timepoints on the painful area at the region of maximum PNeP and on a contralateral, control area. In addition, the size of the painful area was assessed at baseline and Days 7/10, 28 and 84.ResultsA total of 57 patients were treated. Among 54 evaluable patients, 19 (35.2%) achieved a ≥30% reduction in VAS pain score at Day 7/10 post-treatment compared with baseline — these were defined as ‘responders’. Analysis of the QST data showed that the PNeP area in responders, but not in non-responders, had a significantly lower pressure pain threshold compared with the control area at baseline (median 320 kPa vs. 480 kPa, respectively; p = .004). Furthermore, non-responders had approximately three times greater degree of allodynia at baseline compared with responders across tests using brush, cotton wool and Q-tip. These differences were significant for tests using brush and cotton wool (p = .024 and p = .046, respectively) and approached significance in the test using Q-tip (p = .066). Following treatment with the capsaicin 8% patch, responders showed a trend towards a reduction in warm perception and also appeared to show normalization of the pinprick hyperalgesia at some stimulus levels. Responders to therapy had significantly greater reductions than non-responders in the size of the painful area at Day 28 (p = .011) and Day 84 (p = .005) following treatment. However, both responders and non-responders had meaningful reductions in the size of the painful area compared with baseline values.ConclusionsThis study suggests that differences can be identified in the sensory profiles of patients with PNeP who respond to the capsaicin 8% patch and those who do not, specifically pressure pain threshold and degree of allodynia. Notably, both responders and non-responders experienced meaningful reductions in the size of the painful area following treatment.ImplicationsThe findings warrant further investigation in a larger number of patients and in prospective trials.
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Jul 1, 2013
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