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Systemic administration of local anesthetic agents to relieve neuropathic pain

Challapalli V, Tremont-Lukats IW, McNicol ED, Lau J, Carr DB
Published Online: 
28 February 2013

Intravenous lidocaine and oral derivatives relieve pain from damage to the nervous system (neuropathic pain). In early reports, intravenous lidocaine and its oral analogs mexiletine and tocainide relieved neuropathic pain, a type of pain caused by disease in the nervous system. However, the evidence was conflicting. The authors reviewed all randomized studies comparing these drugs with placebo or with other analgesics and found that: local anesthetics were superior to placebo in decreasing intensity of neuropathic pain; limited data showed no difference in efficacy or adverse effects between local anesthetics and carbamazepine, amantadine, gabapentin or morphine; local anesthetics had more adverse effects than placebo; and local anesthetics were safe.