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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 132-144

Pharmacological management of neuropathic pain in India: A consensus statement from Indian experts

1 Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, Delhi, India
2 Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Anesthesiology, Delhi Pain Management Centre, New Delhi, India
4 Department of Neurology, LH Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
5 Department of Anesthesiology, ESI Institute of Pain Management, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
6 Department of Anesthesiology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
7 Department of Diabetology, Shushrusha Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
8 Department of Orthopaedics, Sir H N Reliance Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
9 Department of Anesthesiology, G.B. Pant Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, New Delhi, India
10 Department of Anesthesiology, Shri M. P. Shah Government Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
11 Department of Anesthesiology, RUHS College of Medical Sciences, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
12 Department of Medical Affairs, Wockhardt Limited, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ashok Kumar Saxena
Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, Dilshad Garden, Delhi - 110 095
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpn.ijpn_47_18

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Neuropathic pain (NeP) constitutes a major pain-related disorder, which is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Adverse physical, psychological, and economic consequences associated with NeP lead to poor quality of life. Burden of NeP in developing countries like India is colossal. Various international guidelines provide effective approaches to diagnose and manage NeP. However, differences in the genetic makeup of Indian population can result in subtle differences in clinical response, considering their low body weight, drug metabolism ability, and pain perception. Similarly, treatment-related adverse effects may also vary. Practice of Indian physicians may also differ for choice of drugs based on their availability and affordability. In the absence of country-specific guidelines, this document could serve as a guiding tool for health-care providers, ensuring uniformity in the treatment of NeP. Thus, applicability of all recommendations from any of these guidelines in Indian setting demands careful evaluation. Clinical experience of Indian physicians suggests that there are lot many challenges (e.g., busy outpatient departments, nonavailability of screening questionnaires in regional languages, and availability and affordability of medications) faced by them when managing NeP. In addition, in India, there are no country-specific guidelines that would help them to address these challenges. The objective for this consensus was to develop an expert opinion guideline to harmonize the management of NeP in India. The expert panel consisted of experts from various specialties such as pain medicine, anesthesiology, diabetology, neurology, and orthopedics. The panel critically reviewed the existing literature evidence and guideline recommendations to provide India-specific consensus on the management of NeP. The final consensus document was reviewed and approved by all the experts. This expert opinion consensus will help health-care professionals as a guiding tool for effective management of NeP in India. Use of Douleur Neuropathique 4 (DN4) questionnaire for NeP screening should be routine in day-to-day clinical practice. For effective utilization of DN4 questionnaire, it should be converted to regional language. If DN4 questionnaire screening fails to identify NeP, it should not be disregarded and should not replace the sound clinical judgment from the treating physician. Diagnostic tests may be considered as a supplement to clinical judgment. Cost-effective treatment should be the initial choice. Dosing should be individualized based on efficacy and tolerability. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), gabapentinoids, and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) can be considered among initial choices. Tramadol can be considered as a second-line add-on treatment for NeP if there is partial response to the first-line agent either alone or in combination. Fixed-dose combination (FDC) of gabapentinoids such as pregabalin (75 mg) with TCA such as nortriptyline (10 mg) is synergistic and improves treatment adherence. Among other treatments, Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) can be used either alone or in combination for the management of NeP. Use of Vitamin D and steroids should be limited to specific NeP in individual cases. Referral to pain specialists can be considered if two drugs fail to provide relief in NeP.

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