Adherence of French GPs to chronic neuropathic pain clinical guidelines: results of a cross-sectional, randomized, "e" case-vignette survey.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The French Pain Society published guidelines for neuropathic pain management in 2010. Our aim was to evaluate the compliance of GPs with these guidelines three years later. METHODS: We used "e" case vignette methodology for this non interventional study. A national panel of randomly selected GPs was included. We used eight "e" case-vignettes relating to chronic pain, differing in terms of the type of pain (neuropathic/non neuropathic), etiology (cancer, postoperative pain, low back pain with or without radicular pain, diabetes) and symptoms. GPs received two randomly selected consecutive "e" case vignettes (with/without neuropathic pain). We analyzed their ability to recognize neuropathic pain and to prescribe appropriate first-line treatment. RESULTS: From the 1265 GPs in the database, we recruited 443 (35.0%), 334 of whom logged onto the web site (26.4%) and 319 (25.2%) of whom completed the survey. Among these GPs, 170 (53.3%) were aware of the guidelines, 136 (42.6%) were able to follow them, and 110 (34.5%) used the DN4 diagnostic tool. Sensitivity for neuropathic pain recognition was 87.8% (CI: 84.2%; 91.4%). However, postoperative neuropathic pain was less well diagnosed (77.9%; CI: 69.6%; 86.2%) than diabetic pain (95.2%; CI: 90.0%; 100.0%), cancer pain (90.6%; CI: 83.5%; 97.8%) and typical radicular pain (90.7%; CI: 84.9%; 96.5%). When neuropathic pain was correctly recognized, the likelihood of appropriate first-line treatment prescription was 90.6% (CI: 87.4%; 93.8%). The treatments proposed were pregabaline (71.8%), gabapentine (43.9%), amiptriptylline (23.2%) and duloxetine (18.2%). However, ibuprofen (11%), acetaminophen-codeine (29.5%) and clonazepam (10%) were still prescribed. CONCLUSIONS: The compliance of GPs with clinical practice guidelines appeared to be satisfactory, but differed between etiologies.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Adequate pain assessment is critical for evaluating the efficacy of analgesic treatment in clinical practice and during the development of new therapies. Yet the currently used scores of global pain intensity fail to reflect the diversity of pain manifestations and the complexity of underlying biological mechanisms. We have developed a tool for a standardized assessment of pain-related symptoms and signs that differentiates pain phenotypes independent of etiology.<h4>Methods and findings</h4>Using a structured interview (16 questions) and a standardized bedside examination (23 tests), we prospectively assessed symptoms and signs in 130 patients with peripheral neuropathic pain caused by diabetic polyneuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, or radicular low back pain (LBP), and in 57 patients with non-neuropathic (axial) LBP. A hierarchical cluster analysis revealed distinct association patterns of symptoms and signs (pain subtypes) that characterized six subgroups of patients with neuropathic pain and two subgroups of patients with non-neuropathic pain. Using a classification tree analysis, we identified the most discriminatory assessment items for the identification of pain subtypes. We combined these six interview questions and ten physical tests in a pain assessment tool that we named Standardized Evaluation of Pain (StEP). We validated StEP for the distinction between radicular and axial LBP in an independent group of 137 patients. StEP identified patients with radicular pain with high sensitivity (92%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 83%-97%) and specificity (97%; 95% CI 89%-100%). The diagnostic accuracy of StEP exceeded that of a dedicated screening tool for neuropathic pain and spinal magnetic resonance imaging. In addition, we were able to reproduce subtypes of radicular and axial LBP, underscoring the utility of StEP for discerning distinct constellations of symptoms and signs.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We present a novel method of identifying pain subtypes that we believe reflect underlying pain mechanisms. We demonstrate that this new approach to pain assessment helps separate radicular from axial back pain. Beyond diagnostic utility, a standardized differentiation of pain subtypes that is independent of disease etiology may offer a unique opportunity to improve targeted analgesic treatment.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Varied and complicated etiology of low back pain radiating distally to the extremities is still causing disagreement and controversy around the issue of its diagnosis and treatment. Most clinicians believe that the source of that pain is generally radicular. While some of them postulate the clinical significance of the sacroiliac joint syndrome, others demonstrate that almost one in five people with back pain experience symptoms indicative of the neuropathic pain component. To date, neuropathic involvement has not been completely understood, and different mechanisms are thought to play an important role. It has been established that muscle pain (myofascial pain) e.g. active trigger points from the gluteus minimus, can mimic pain similar to sciatica, especially in the chronic stage. This paper describes patients presenting with radicular sciatica (case one and two) and sciatica-like symptoms (case three). For the first time, intensive short-term vasodilation in the pain area following needle infiltration of the gluteus minimus trigger point was recorded. CASE PRESENTATION: Three Caucasian, European women suffering from radicular sciatica (case one and two) and sciatica-like symptoms (case three) at the age of 57, 49 and 47 respectively underwent infrared camera observation during needle infiltration of the gluteus minimus trigger point. The patients were diagnosed by a neurologist; they underwent magnetic resonance imaging, electromyography, neurography and blood test analysis. Apart from that, the patients were diagnosed by a clinician specializing in myofascial pain diagnosis. CONCLUSION: In the examined cases, trigger points-related short-term vasodilation was recorded. Confirmation of these findings in a controlled, blinded study would indicate the existence of a link between the pain of sciatica patients (radicular or sciatica-like pain) and the activity of the autonomic nervous system. Further studies on a bigger group of patients are still needed.
Project description:Neuropathic pain encompasses a diverse array of clinical entities affecting 7-10% of the population, which is challenging to adequately treat. Several promising therapeutics derived from molecular discoveries in animal models of neuropathic pain have failed to translate following unsuccessful clinical trials suggesting the possibility of important cellular-level and molecular differences between animals and humans. Establishing the extent of potential differences between laboratory animals and humans, through direct study of human tissues and/or cells, is likely important in facilitating translation of preclinical discoveries to meaningful treatments. Patch-clamp electrophysiology and RNA-sequencing was performed on dorsal root ganglia taken from patients with variable presence of radicular/neuropathic pain. Findings establish that spontaneous action potential generation in dorsal root ganglion neurons is associated with radicular/neuropathic pain and radiographic nerve root compression. Transcriptome analysis suggests presence of sex-specific differences and reveals gene modules and signalling pathways in immune response and neuronal plasticity related to radicular/neuropathic pain that may suggest therapeutic avenues and that has the potential to predict neuropathic pain in future cohorts.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The best management of hypertension in frail oldest-old (?80 years of age) remains unclear and we still lack guidelines that provide specific recommendations. Our study aims to investigate guideline use in general practitioners (GPs) and to examine if guideline use relates to different decisions when managing hypertension in frail oldest-old. DESIGN/SETTING:Cross-sectional study among currently active GPs from 29 countries using a case-vignettes survey. METHODS:GPs participated in a survey with case-vignettes of frail oldest-olds varying in systolic blood pressure (SBP) levels and cardiovascular disease (CVD). GPs from 26 European countries and from Brazil, Israel and New Zealand were invited. We compared the percentage of GPs reporting using guidelines per country and further stratified on the most frequently mentioned guidelines. To adjust for patient characteristics (SBP, CVD and GPs' sex, years of experience, prevalence of oldest-old and location of their practice), we used a mixed-effects regression model accounting for clustering within countries. RESULTS:Overall, 2,543 GPs from 29 countries were included. 59.4% of them reported to use guidelines. Higher guideline use was found in female (p = 0.031) and less-experienced GPs (p<0.001). Across countries, we found a large variation in self-reported guideline use, ranging from 25% to 90% of the GPs, but there was no difference in hypertension treatment decisions in frail oldest-old patients between GPs that did not use and GPs that used guidelines, irrespective of the guidelines they used. CONCLUSION:Many GPs reported using guidelines to manage hypertension in frail oldest-old patients, however guideline users did not decide differently from non-users concerning hypertension treatment decisions. Instead of focusing on the fact if GPs use guidelines or not, we as a scientific community should put an emphasis on what guidelines suggest in frail and oldest-old patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Statins are widely used to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). With advancing age, the risks of statins might outweigh the potential benefits. It is unclear which factors influence general practitioners' (GPs) advice to stop statins in oldest-old patients. OBJECTIVE:To investigate the influence of a history of CVD, statin-related side effects, frailty and short life expectancy, on GPs' advice to stop statins in oldest-old patients. DESIGN:We invited GPs to participate in this case-based survey. GPs were presented with 8 case vignettes describing patients >?80 years using a statin, and asked whether they would advise stopping statin treatment. MAIN MEASURES:Cases varied in history of CVD, statin-related side effects and frailty, with and without shortened life expectancy (<?1 year) in the context of metastatic, non-curable cancer. Odds ratios adjusted for GP characteristics (ORadj) were calculated for GPs' advice to stop. KEY RESULTS:Two thousand two hundred fifty GPs from 30 countries participated (median response rate 36%). Overall, GPs advised stopping statin treatment in 46% (95%CI 45-47) of the case vignettes; with shortened life expectancy, this proportion increased to 90% (95CI% 89-90). Advice to stop was more frequent in case vignettes without CVD compared to those with CVD (ORadj 13.8, 95%CI 12.6-15.1), with side effects compared to without ORadj 1.62 (95%CI 1.5-1.7) and with frailty (ORadj 4.1, 95%CI 3.8-4.4) compared to without. Shortened life expectancy increased advice to stop (ORadj 50.7, 95%CI 45.5-56.4) and was the strongest predictor for GP advice to stop, ranging across countries from 30% (95%CI 19-42) to 98% (95% CI 96-99). CONCLUSIONS:The absence of CVD, the presence of statin-related side effects, and frailty were all independently associated with GPs' advice to stop statins in patients aged >?80 years. Overall, and within all countries, cancer-related short life expectancy was the strongest independent predictor of GPs' advice to stop statins.
Project description:Background:This study investigated whether current smoking and a higher nicotine dependency were associated with chronic low back pain (LBP), lumbar related leg pain (sciatica) and/or radicular neuropathic pain. Methods:A cross-sectional study was conducted on 150 patients (mean age, 60.1 ± 13.1 yr). Demographic data, the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) neuropathic pain grade, STarT Back tool, and the Fagerström test were completed. A control group (n = 50) was recruited. Results:There was a significant difference between current smokers and nonsmokers in the chronic LBP group in the mean pain score (P = 0.025), total STarT Back score (P = 0.015), worst pain location (P = 0.020), most distal pain radiation (P = 0.042), and in the IASP neuropathic pain grade (P = 0.026). There was a significant difference in the mean Fagerström score between the four IASP neuropathic pain grades (P = 0.005). Current smoking yielded an odds ratio (OR) of 3.071 (P = 0.011) for developing chronic LBP and sciatica, and an OR of 4.028 (P = 0.002) for obtaining an IASP "definite/probable" neuropathic pain grade, for both cohorts. The likelihood for chronic LBP and sciatica increased by 40.9% (P = 0.007), while the likelihood for an IASP neuropathic grade of "definite/probable" increased by 50.8% (P = 0.002), for both cohorts, for every one unit increase in the Fagerström score. Conclusions:A current smoking status and higher nicotine dependence increase the odds for chronic LBP, sciatica and radicular neuropathic pain.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in Australia. Guidelines suggest that patients with suspected lung cancer on thoracic imaging be referred for urgent specialist review. However, the term "suspected" is broad and includes the common finding of lung nodules, which often require periodic surveillance rather than urgent invasive investigation. The British Thoracic Society recommends that a lung nodule with a PanCan risk >?10% be considered for invasive investigation. This study aimed to assess which factors influence general practitioners (GPs) to request urgent review for a lung nodule and if these factors concur with PanCan risk prediction model variables. METHODS:A discrete choice experiment was developed that produced 32 individual case vignettes. Each vignette contained eight variables, four of which form the parsimonious PanCan risk prediction model. Two additional vignettes were created that addressed haemoptysis with a normal chest computed tomography (CT) scan and isolated mediastinal lymphadenopathy. The survey was distributed to 4160 randomly selected Australian GPs and they were asked if the patients in the vignettes required urgent (less than two weeks) specialist review. Multivariate logistic regression identified factors associated with request for urgent review. RESULTS:Completed surveys were received from 3.7% of participants, providing 152 surveys (1216 case vignettes) for analysis. The factors associated with request for urgent review were nodule spiculation (adj-OR 5.57, 95% CI 3.88-7.99, p?<?0.0001), larger nodule size, presentation with haemoptysis (adj-OR 4.79, 95% CI 3.05-7.52, p?<?0.0001) or weight loss (adj-OR 4.87, 95% CI 3.13-7.59, p?<?0.0001), recommendation for urgent review by the reporting radiologist (adj-OR 4.68, 95% CI 2.86-7.65, p?<?0.0001) and female GP gender (adj-OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.36-2.56, p 0.0001). In low risk lung nodules (PanCan risk <?10%), there was significant variability in perceived sense of urgency. Most GPs (83%) felt that a patient with haemoptysis and a normal chest CT scan did not require urgent specialist review but that a patient with isolated mediastinal lymphadenopathy did (75%). CONCLUSION:Future lung cancer investigation pathways may benefit from the addition of a risk prediction model to reduce variations in referral behavior for low risk lung nodules.
Project description:Background:Radicular pain, caused by a lesion or autologous nucleus pulposus (NP) implantation, is associated with alteration in gene expression of the pain-signaling pathways. lncRNAs have been shown to play critical roles in neuropathic pain. However, the mechanistic function of lncRNAs in lumbar disc herniation (LDH) remains largely unknown. Identifying different lncRNA expression under sham and NP-implantation conditions in the spinal cord is important for understanding the molecular mechanisms of radicular pain. Methods:LDH was induced by implantation of autologous nucleus pulposus (NP), harvested from rat tail, in lumbar 5 and 6 spinal nerve roots. The mRNA and lncRNA microarray analyses demonstrated that the expression profiles of lncRNAs and mRNAs between the LDH and sham groups were markedly altered at 7 days post operation. The expression patterns of several mRNAs and lncRNAs were further proved by qPCR. Results:LDH produced persistent mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia. A total of 19 lncRNAs was differentially expressed (>1.5-folds), of which 13 was upregulated and 6 was downregulated. In addition, a total of 103 mRNAs was markedly altered (>1.5-folds), of which 40 was upregulated and 63 downregulated. Biological analyses of these mRNAs further demonstrated that the most significantly upregulated genes in LDH included chemotaxis, immune response, and positive regulation of inflammatory responses, which might be important mechanisms underlying radicular neuropathic pain. These 19 differentially expressed lncRNAs have overlapping mRNAs in the genome, which are related to glutamatergic synapse, cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, and the oxytocin-signalling pathway. Conclusion:Our findings revealed the alteration of expression patterns of mRNAs and lncRNAs in the spinal cord of rats in a radicular pain model of LDH. These mRNAs and lncRNAs might be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of radicular pain.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To assess the benefits and harms of pregabalin in the management of neuropathic pain. DESIGN:Rapid review and meta-analysis of phase III, randomised, placebo-controlled trials. PARTICIPANTS:Adults aged 18 years and above with neuropathic pain defined according to the International Association for the Study of Pain criteria. INTERVENTIONS:Pregabalin or placebo. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:Our primary outcomes were pain (as measured using validated scales) and adverse events. Our secondary outcomes were sleep disturbance, quality of life, Patient Global Impression of Change, Clinician Global Impression scale, anxiety and depression scores, overall discontinuations and discontinuations because of adverse events. RESULTS:We included 28 trials comprising 6087 participants. The neuropathic pain conditions studied were diabetic peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, herpes zoster, sciatica (radicular pain), poststroke pain and spinal cord injury-related pain. Patients who took pregabalin reported significant reductions in pain (numerical rating scale (NRS)) compared with placebo (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.49 (95% CI -0.66 to -0.32, p<0.00001), very low quality evidence). Pregabalin significantly reduced sleep interference scores (NRS) compared with placebo (SMD -0.38 (95% CI -0.50 to -0.26, p<0.00001), moderate quality evidence. Pregabalin significantly increased the risk of adverse events compared with placebo (RR 1.33 (95% CI 1.23 to 1.44, p<0.00001, low quality evidence)). The risks of experiencing weight gain, somnolence, dizziness, peripheral oedema, fatigue, visual disturbances, ataxia, non-peripheral oedema, vertigo and euphoria were significantly increased with pregabalin. Pregabalin was significantly more likely than placebo to lead to discontinuation of the drug because of adverse events (RR 1.91 (95% CI 1.54 to 2.37, p<0.00001), low quality evidence). CONCLUSION:Pregabalin has beneficial effects on some symptoms of neuropathic pain. However, its use significantly increases the risk of a number of adverse events and discontinuation due to adverse events. The quality of the evidence from journal publications is low.
Project description:The current study investigates whether milnacipran, an equipotent serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, is effective in reducing chronic radicular pain in patients (N = 11) with lumbosacral disc disease.This study is a 10-week randomized, parallel-group, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of milnacipran (100-200 mg/d, dosed twice a day). Subjects (enrolled from October 2010 to September 2011 through the Duke University Pain and Palliative Care Clinic, Durham, North Carolina) included patients with radiologically confirmed disc disease with nerve root compression. The primary outcome measure was radicular pain measured by visual analog scale score (VAS-Rad); patients were asked to specifically rate radicular pain ("shooting or electrical or prickly pain in 1 or both legs"). Secondary outcome measures included nociceptive low back pain by visual analog scale (VAS-Noc), Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire, Neuropathic Pain Questionnaire, Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey, Beck Depression Inventory, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Between-group changes in outcome measures between baseline and endpoint were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U nonparametric measure of central tendency.Milnacipran treatment yielded statistically significant reduction in radicular pain (VAS-Rad, P = .01) and nociceptive low back pain (VAS-Noc, P = .04) compared to placebo. No statistically significant between-group differences were observed in the other secondary outcome measures.In this small pilot study, milnacipran treatment was associated with reduction in radicular and nociceptive low back pain in patients with lumbosacral disc disease. Larger studies of milnacipran in this population are warranted.ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01777581.