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HRB Open Res


Topical interventions for the management of pain in chronic wounds: A protocol for a systematic review.


Ivory JD, Finn DP, Vellinga A, Butler K, Sezgin D, O'Loughlin A, Carr P, Healy C, Gethin G
HRB Open Res. 2022; 5:58.
PMID: 36106311.


Venous, arterial, diabetic and pressure ulcers, collectively known as chronic wounds, negatively impact individuals across psychological, social and financial domains. Chronic wounds can be painful and the nature, frequency and impact of pain can differ depending on wound aetiology, wound state and on numerous patient factors. While systemic pharmaceutical agents have some effect in managing pain, there is a need to examine topical agents applied to the wound bed for pain relief. The objective of this study is to examine and synthesise existing literature on the effectiveness of topical agents in managing pain in venous, diabetic, pressure, arterial and mixed venous/arterial ulcers. We will use Cochrane Systematic Review methodology to identify and synthesise eligible randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effectiveness of topical agents in reducing pain in chronic wounds. Embase, Medline, PubMed, CENTRAL, CINAHL, Scopus and Web of Science will be searched from inception to end of June 2022 without language limits. We will independently extract data on the pharmaceutical agent, participant demographics, aetiology, condition of the wound, and type, nature and frequency of pain using a pre-designed data extraction form. Subgroup and sensitivity analysis will be performed to address heterogeneity across studies if appropriate. Further stratification and analyses will be based on included study variables and outcomes. Wound pain is primarily managed systemic pharmaceutical agents. However, patients express reluctance regarding systemic analgesic drugs, fearing addiction. Additionally, persons with chronic wounds have co-morbidities including hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease and are already taking multiple medications. Topical analgesia can potentially mitigate some of the perceived disadvantages of systemic agents but the available range of these agents and their effectiveness in managing pain in chronic wounds is not so well understood. This review will focus on such agents across a range of the most common chronic wounds.