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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Apr 2023 - 14 Apr 2023


Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Cancer Pain, Neuropathic Pain

2023 Apr 13

Pain Ther


Refractory Cancer Pain and Intrathecal Therapy: Critical Review of a Systematic Review.


Mercadante S


This critical review assessed the advantages of invasive procedures that were recently included in systematic reviews, to evaluate whether the definition of refractory pain condition was correctly followed to select patients for invasive interventions and to analyze how data were positively interpreted. A total of 21 studies were selected for the purpose of this review. Three were randomized controlled studies, ten were prospective studies, and eight were retrospective studies. Analysis of these studies showed evident lack of proper assessment before implantation for different reasons. These included an optimistic interpretation regarding the outcomes, poor consideration of complications, and inclusion of patients with short survival. Moreover, the indication of intrathecal therapy as a condition in which a patient has failed to respond to multiple therapies provided by a pain or palliative care physician or at sufficient doses for adequate durations, as suggested by a recent research group, has been disregarded. Regretfully, this can discourage the use of intrathecal therapy in patients who are unresponsive to multiple opioid strategies subtrahend a potent means to be used in a very selective population.