Maximizing treatment efficacy through patient stratification in neuropathic pain trials.
Baron R., Dickenson AH., Calvo M., Dib-Hajj SD., Bennett DL.
Treatment of neuropathic pain remains inadequate despite the elucidation of multiple pathophysiological mechanisms and the development of promising therapeutic compounds. The lack of success in translating knowledge into clinical practice has discouraged pharmaceutical companies from investing in pain medicine; however, new patient stratification approaches could help bridge the translation gap and develop individualized therapeutic approaches. As we highlight in this article, subgrouping of patients according to sensory profiles and other baseline characteristics could aid the prediction of treatment success. Furthermore, novel outcome measures have been developed for patients with neuropathic pain. The extent to which sensory profiles and outcome measures can be employed in routine clinical practice and clinical trials and across distinct neuropathic pain aetiologies is yet to be determined. Improvements in animal models, drawing on our knowledge of human pain, and robust public-private partnerships will be needed to pave the way to innovative and effective pain medicine in the future.