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Papers of the Week


J Pain Res


Tapentadol: an effective option for the treatment of back pain.


Coluzzi F, Polati E, Freo U, Grilli M
J Pain Res. 2019; 12:1521-1528.
PMID: 31190963.


Back pain, including low back pain and neck pain, is the leading cause of disability worldwide. This type of pain is challenging to treat, since it presents both a nociceptive and a neuropathic component. The latter also contributes to the evolution of pain toward chronification. Treatment selection should therefore consider the ability to prevent this event. Tapentadol is characterized by a unique and innovative peculiar mechanism of action that makes it the first representative of a new class of central strong analgesics referred to as MOR-NRI. This molecule acts both on the nociceptive and neuropathic components of pain, and it can therefore be effective in the treatment of a mixed pain condition such as back pain. This narrative review discusses the rationale for the use of tapentadol in both low back pain and neck pain and presents available clinical data. Overall, data show that tapentadol prolonged release is a well-grounded treatment for chronic back pain, sustained by a strong mechanistic rationale and robust evidence. Given also the availability of long-term efficacy and safety data, we believe that this molecule should be considered as an elective therapy for chronic back pain.