ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: Effective pain management in the terminally ill patient requires an understanding of pain control strategies. Ongoing assessment of pain is crucial and can be accomplished using various forms and scales. It is also important to determine if the pain is nociceptive (somatic or visceral pain) or neuropathic (continuous dysesthesias or chronic lancinating or paroxysmal pain). Nociceptive pain can usually be controlled with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs or corticosteroids, whereas neuropathic pain responds to tricyclic antidepressants or anticonvulsants. Relief of breakthrough pain requires the administration of an immediate-release analgesic medication. If a significant amount of medication for breakthrough pain is already being given, the baseline dose of sustained-release analgesic medication should be increased. If pain does not respond to one analgesic medication, physicians should use an equianalgesic dose chart when changing the medication or route of administration. Opioid rotation can be used if pain can no longer be controlled on a specific regimen. The impact of unresolved psychosocial or spiritual issues on pain management may need to be addressed.
Tension-Type Headache - Article
ABSTRACT: Tension-type headache typically causes pain that radiates in a band-like fashion bilaterally from the forehead to the occiput. Pain often radiates to the neck muscles and is described as tightness, pressure, or dull ache. Migraine-type features (unilateral, throbbing pain, nausea, photophobia) are not present All patients with frequent or severe headaches need careful evaluation to exclude any occult serious condition that may be causing the headache. Neuroimaging is not needed in patients who have no worrisome findings on examination. Treatment of tension-type headache typically involves the use of over-the-counter analgesics. Use of pain relievers more than twice weekly places patients at risk for progression to chronic daily headache. Sedating antihistamines or antiemetics can potentiate the pain-relieving effects of standard analgesics. Analgesics combined with butalbital or opiates are often useful for tension-type pain but have an increased risk of causing chronic daily headache. Amitriptyline is the most widely researched prophylactic agent for frequent headaches. No large trials with rigorous methodologies have been conducted for most non-medication therapies. Among the commonly employed modalities are biofeedback, relaxation training, self-hypnosis, and cognitive therapy.
ABSTRACT: Physicians most often recommend or prescribe oral medication for relief of acute pain. This review of the available evidence supports the use of acetaminophen in doses up to 1,000 mg as the initial choice for mild to moderate acute pain. In some cases, modest improvements in analgesic efficacy can be achieved by adding or changing to a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The safest NSAID is ibuprofen in doses of 400 mg. Higher doses may offer somewhat greater analgesia but with more adverse effects. Other NSAIDs have failed to demonstrate consistently greater efficacy or safety than ibuprofen. Although they may be more expensive, these alternatives may be chosen for their more convenient dosing. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors provide equivalent efficacy to traditional NSAIDs but lack a demonstrable safety advantage for the treatment of acute pain. For more severe acute pain, the evidence supports the addition of oral narcotic medications such as hydrocodone, morphine, or oxycodone. Specific oral analgesics that have shown poor efficacy and side effects include codeine, propoxyphene, and tramadol.
Trigeminal Neuralgia - Article
ABSTRACT: Trigeminal neuralgia is an uncommon disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of lancinating pain in the trigeminal nerve distribution. Typically, brief attacks are triggered by talking, chewing, teeth brushing, shaving, a light touch, or even a cool breeze. The pain is nearly always unilateral, and it may occur repeatedly throughout the day. The diagnosis is typically determined clinically, although imaging studies or referral for specialized testing may be necessary to rule out other diseases. Accurate and prompt diagnosis is important because the pain of trigeminal neuralgia can be severe. Carbamazepine is the drug of choice for the initial treatment of trigeminal neuralgia; however, baclofen, gabapentin, and other drugs may provide relief in refractory cases. Neurosurgical treatments may help patients in whom medical therapy is unsuccessful or poorly tolerated.
Newer Intranasal Migraine Medications - Article
ABSTRACT: Two new intranasal migraine medications, sumatriptan and dihydroergotamine mesylate, may offer specific advantages for patients who are seeking alternatives to various oral or parenteral migraine abortive therapies. Placebo-controlled clinical studies demonstrate that both intranasal forms are effective in relieving migraine headache pain, but published clinical trial information comparing these two intranasal medications with current abortive therapies is lacking. Both agents are generally well tolerated by patients, with the exception of mild, local adverse reactions of the nose and throat.
ABSTRACT: Interstitial cystitis is a chronic, severely debilitating disease of the urinary bladder. Excessive urgency and frequency of urination, suprapubic pain, dyspareunia, chronic pelvic pain and negative urine cultures are characteristic of interstitial cystitis. The course of the disease is usually marked by flare-ups and remissions. Other conditions that should be ruled out include bacterial cystitis, urethritis, neoplasia, vaginitis and vulvar vestibulitis. Interstitial cystitis is diagnosed by cystoscopy and hydrodistention of the bladder. Glomerulations or Hunner's ulcers found at cystoscopy are diagnostic. Oral treatments of interstitial cystitis include pentosan polysulfate, tricyclic antidepressants and antihistamines. Intravesicular therapies include hydrodistention, dimethyl sulfoxide and heparin, or a combination of agents. Referral to a support group should be offered to all patients with interstitial cystitis.
ABSTRACT: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) play a major role in the management of inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. A new class of NSAIDs that selectively inhibit the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme has been developed. The first COX-2 inhibitors, celecoxib and rofecoxib, are said to provide therapeutic benefit with less toxicity than traditional NSAIDs. A third COX-2-selective inhibitor, meloxicam, has recently been introduced. COX-2 inhibitors and traditional NSAIDs do not appear to differ significantly in their effectiveness in alleviating pain or inflammation. They have similar gastrointestinal side effects, including abdominal pain, dyspepsia and diarrhea. However, short-term studies show fewer gastrointestinal ulcers in patients treated with COX-2 inhibitors compared with traditional NSAIDs.
ABSTRACT: Chronic low back pain is a common problem in primary care. A history and physical examination should place patients into one of several categories: (1) nonspecific low back pain; (2) back pain associated with radiculopathy or spinal stenosis; (3) back pain referred from a nonspinal source; or (4) back pain associated with another specific spinal cause. For patients who have back pain associated with radiculopathy, spinal stenosis, or another specific spinal cause, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography may establish the diagnosis and guide management. Because evidence of improved outcomes is lacking, lumbar spine radiography should be delayed for at least one to two months in patients with nonspecific pain. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are first-line medications for chronic low back pain. Tramadol, opioids, and other adjunctive medications may benefit some patients who do not respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Acupuncture, exercise therapy, multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs, massage, behavior therapy, and spinal manipulation are effective in certain clinical situations. Patients with radicular symptoms may benefit from epidural steroid injections, but studies have produced mixed results. Most patients with chronic low back pain will not benefit from surgery. A surgical evaluation may be considered for select patients with functional disabilities or refractory pain despite multiple nonsurgical treatments.
Managing Pain at the End of Life - Editorials