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[Update on preemptive analgesia : options and limits of preoperative pain therapy].

Der Anaesthesist 2013 October
BACKGROUND: Wall created the term preemptive analgesia in 1988 and in doing so set in motion a movement to prevent acute and chronic postsurgical pain. The concept of preemptive analgesia implies the administration of analgesic drugs or an intervention before a surgical procedure. A preemptive analgesic approach can comprise non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors (coxibs) used to decrease the production of prostaglandins, local anesthetics (e.g. epidural) to reduce nociceptive input to the spinal cord as well as opioids, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists, antidepressants and anticonvulsants, all of which have an inhibitory influence on the central nervous system.

AIM: The aim of this article is to present the current possibilities and limits of preoperative pain therapy.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Since 2002 several meta-analyses on the effectiveness of preemptive analgesia have been published which came to varying conclusions on the supportive use of preemptive analgesia. The S3 guidelines on current perioperative pain management developed by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Pain Management (DIVS) specify the preemptive analgesic interventions found to be effective and will be discussed in detail in this article. Furthermore, the results of a current meta-analysis which follows the principle of preventive analgesia will be presented and which have not yet been considered in the S3 guidelines.

RESULTS: Preemptive analgesia can reduce acute postoperative pain; however, minimizing the development of chronic pain conditions can only be successful in combination with intraoperative and postoperative pain therapy as well as social and psychological support when indicated (preventive analgesia).

CONCLUSION: Reduction of chronic postoperative pain is an important medical function which is also justified from socioeconomic perspectives. Future studies should combine several procedures for perioperative pain therapy in order to do justice to the multifactorial aspects of pain chronification and should also be planned over a sufficiently long observation time period.

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