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Neuropathic Pain in Pediatric Oncology: A Clinical Decision Algorithm

Journal title
Paediatric drugs
Publication year
Anghelescu, D. L.; Tesney, J. M.

Neuropathic pain in pediatric oncology can be caused by distinct lesions or disease processes affecting the somatosensory system, including chemotherapy-related neuronal injury, solid tumor-related involvement of neural structures, post-surgical neuropathic pain-including phantom limb pain and pain after limb-sparing surgery-and the complex circumstances of neuropathic pain at the end of life. Treatment algorithms reflect the general treatment principles applied for adult neuropathic pain, but the dose regimens applied in children are modest and rarely escalated to the maximum doses to optimize analgesic efficacy. Pharmacological management of neuropathic pain should be based on a stepwise intervention strategy, as combinations of medications are the most effective approach. Gabapentinoids and tricyclic antidepressants are recommended as first-line therapy. Methadone, ketamine, and lidocaine may be useful adjuvants in selected patients. Prospective studies extended over a substantial length of time are recommended because of the nature of neuropathic pain as persistent, chronic pain and based on the need for sufficient time to escalate medication dose regimens to full analgesic efficacy.

Research abstracts