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More MS news articles for March 2004

Neuropathic pain: experimental advances and clinical applications

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2004 Feb;160(2):199-203
Attal N, Bouhassira D.
Centre d'Evaluation et de Traitement de la Douleur et INSERM E-332 Hopital Ambroise Pare, AP-HP, Boulogne-Billancourt et Universite Versailles Saint-Quentin

Neuropathic pain is a clinical entity designating the different types of pain associated with a lesion of the nervous system including a wide range of pathological conditions from painful peripheral lesions (for example diabetic neuropathy, post-zoster pain, trauma-induced nerve injury) and central pain (particularly stroke-induced pain, spinal lesions, and multiple sclerosis).

Despite this wide range of etiologies, neuropathic pain has well characterized clinical features which generally allow distinction from other types of pain: continuous often burn-like pain, paroxysmal pain (electrical discharge, knife stab), evoked pain, highly invalidating pain (allodynia, hyperalgesia), and associated dysethesia and/or paresthesia.

Over the last ten Years, very little work has been published on neuropathic pain, which is now becoming a very active domain of research in neurobiology.

Advances to date have not been spectacular although better tolerated agents have been recently marketed.

Future progress should enable an appropriate response to the therapeutic challenge of neuropathic pain.