JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Evidence-based guideline for neuropathic pain interventional treatments: spinal cord stimulation, intravenous infusions, epidural injections and nerve blocks

Angela Mailis, Paul Taenzer
Pain Research & Management: the Journal of the Canadian Pain Society 2012, 17 (3): 150-8
22606679

BACKGROUND: The Special Interest Group of the Canadian Pain Society has produced consensus-based guidelines for the pharmacological management of neuropathic pain. The society aimed to generate an additional guideline for other forms of neuropathic pain treatments.

OBJECTIVE: To develop evidence-based recommendations for neuropathic pain interventional treatments.

METHODS: A task force was created and engaged the Institute of Health Economics in Edmonton, Alberta, to survey the literature pertaining to multiple treatments. Sufficient literature existed on four interventions only: spinal cord stimulation; epidural injections; intravenous infusions; and nerve blocks. A comprehensive search was conducted for systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines; a critical review was generated on each topic. A modified United States Preventive Services Task Force tool was used for quality rating and grading of recommendations.

RESULTS: Investigators reviewed four studies of spinal cord stimulation, 19 studies of intravenous infusions, 14 studies of epidural injections and 16 studies of nerve blocks that met the inclusion criteria. The task force chairs rated the quality of evidence and graded the recommendations. Feedback was solicited from the members of the task force.

CONCLUSION: There is sufficient evidence to support recommendations for some of these interventions for selected neuropathic pain conditions. This evidence is, at best, moderate and is often limited or conflicting. Pain practitioners are encouraged to explore evidence-based treatment options before considering unproven treatments. Full disclosure of risks and benefits of the available options is necessary for shared decision making and informed consent.

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