OBJECTIVE: Chronic pain is frequently irreversible, representing a major health problem. A survey has shown that 19% of European adults experience chronic pain which is not adequately managed. Innovative interventional techniques for the treatment of chronic pain have been developed, as a further step beyond the three-layer WHO analgesic ladder. Among these techniques, continuous and pulsed radiofrequency (RF) are very effective in the management of radicular pain syndrome. Usually, these techniques are associated with a pharmacologic approach with a wide-spectrum analgesic. Tapentadol has a double mechanism of action, as a μ-opioid receptor agonism (MOR) and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (NRI), contributing synergistically to its analgesic efficacy on both nociceptive and neuropathic pain.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We aimed to test the efficacy of tapentadol prolonged release (PR) combined with pulsed RF in improving neuropathic symptoms and disability in 50 patients with moderate-to-severe chronic pain due to lumbar radiculopathy.
RESULTS: The responders to treatment, showing at least a 30% reduction in pain intensity on the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), were 38 (76%). Both average NRS at rest and during loading were statistically significantly reduced compared with baseline (p<0.0001). Other parameters investigated (sleep quality, neuropathic symptoms, the degree of disability) were all statistically better with tapentadol PR. Patients requiring RF intervention dropped dramatically from 98% at baseline to 10% at the end of the study (p<0.01). Adverse events were reported in 14 patients (28%), four of which required therapy discontinuation. However, patients’ satisfaction and overall tolerability of tapentadol PR treatment were high.
CONCLUSIONS: Tapentadol PR is effective in reducing pain intensity at rest and during loading, with a favorable safety and tolerability profile. Moreover, the use of tapentadol PR decreases the degree and severity of disability, as well as the intensity of neuropathic symptoms.
To cite this article
C. Visconti, A. Mastroluca, L. Varano, A. Del Gaudio
Tapentadol prolonged release in association with analgesic radiofrequency for the treatment of chronic lumbar radicular pain: an observational, prospective study
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 23 - N. 4 Suppl