JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Advances in topical analgesics

Magdalena Anitescu, Honorio T Benzon, Charles E Argoff
Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology 2013, 26 (5): 555-61
23995062

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The recent increase in opioid consumption in the modern world prompted pain physicians to find new and improved solutions to tackle chronic, refractory pain syndromes. Topical analgesics are emerging as a valued multimodal analgesic arm in the fight against chronic pain.

RECENT FINDINGS: New and improved topical formulations have emerged as effective tools to treat chronic refractory pain. In addition to formulations manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry, there has been a recent interest in mixed topical products by local, regional and national compounding pharmacies. This review will focus on advances in topical analgesics, especially their role as an effective analgesic in nociceptive and neuropathic refractory pain states. We will explore topical analgesics' mechanisms of action and their efficacy as opioid-sparing formulations.

SUMMARY: This review will allow physicians to understand the role of topical agents in the treatment of intractable pain syndromes. Increasing medical providers' familiarity with these agents will allow their incorporation as part of a complex analgesic regimen for an improved pain management plan benefiting the patient population at large.

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