Incidence rates and treatment of neuropathic pain conditions in the general population

Jeanne Dieleman, J Kerklaan, FJPM Huygen, PAD Bouma, MCJM Sturkenboom

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Incidence rate estimates of neuropathic pain are scanty and mostly address single types whereas the scope of the disease is wide. We aimed to calculate the incidence rates of neuropathic pain conditions in the Dutch general population and to assess treatment strategies in primary care. The study population included persons registered for at least one year in the Integrated Primary Care Information (IPCI) database between 1996 and 2003. Neuropathic pain was ascertained and classified by systematic review of computerized longitudinal medical records. Incidence rates (IR) were calculated, and the treatment for pain was compared to age and gender matched controls. Among 362,693 persons contributing 1, 116,215 person years (PY), we identified 9135 new cases of neuropathic pain (IR: 8.2/1000 PY, 95%CI: 8.0-8.4). Mononeuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome were the most frequent types with 4.3 and 2.3 cases/1000 PY followed by diabetic peripheral neuropathy and post-herpetic neuralgia at 0.72 and 0.42/1000 PY. Neuropathic pain was 63% more common in women than in men and peaked between the ages 70 and 79. More than 50% of cases received pain medication within 6 months after diagnosis, mostly consisting of NSAIDs or aspirin. Anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants were only used by 4.8 and 4.7% of cases. Neuropathic pain is a rather frequent condition with an annual incidence of almost 1% of the general population and affecting women and middle-aged persons more often. The treatment mostly consisted of regular analgesics suggesting that pharmacological treatment of neuropathic pain is suboptimal. (C) 2008 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)681-688
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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