Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2017; 21 (7): 1672-1683

From acute to chronic pain: tapentadol in the progressive stages of this disease entity

F. Coluzzi, D. Fornasari, J. Pergolizzi, P. Romualdi

Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Biotechnology, Unit of Anaesthesiology, Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care Medicine, and Pain Therapy, Faculty of Pharmacy and Medicine, Polo Pontino, Sapienza University of Rome, Latina, Italy.

OBJECTIVE: Chronic pain is now recognized as a neural disease, which results from a maladaptive functional and structural transformation process occurring over time. In its chronic phase, pain is not just a symptom but also a disease entity. Therefore, pain must be properly addressed, as many patients still report unsatisfactory pain control despite on-going treatment. The selection of the therapy – taking into account the pathophysiological mechanisms of pain – and the right timing can result in a successful analgesic outcome. This review will present the functional and structural modifications leading to chronification of pain, focusing on the role of tapentadol in this setting.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: For inclusion in this review, research studies were retrieved via a keyword-based query of multiple databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane). The search was last updated in November 2016; no limitations were applied.

RESULTS: Functional and structural abnormalities of the nervous system associated with pain chronification have been reported in several conditions, including osteoarthritis, chronic back pain, chronic pelvic pain and fibromyalgia. Correct identification and treatment of pain in recurrent/progressive stage is crucial to prevent chronification and related changes in neural structures. Among analgesic drugs, tapentadol, with its dual mechanism of action (opioid agonist and noradrenaline reuptake blocker), has recently resulted active in pain control at both central and spinal level.

CONCLUSIONS: Tapentadol represents a suitable candidate for patients at early progressive stage of pain who have developed neuroplasticity with modification of pain pathways. The availability of different doses of tapentadol may help clinicians to tailor treatment based on the individual need of each patient, with the aim to enhance therapeutic appropriateness in the treatment of musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain.

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To cite this article

F. Coluzzi, D. Fornasari, J. Pergolizzi, P. Romualdi
From acute to chronic pain: tapentadol in the progressive stages of this disease entity

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2017
Vol. 21 - N. 7
Pages: 1672-1683