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Hopes for the Future of Pain Control

Bannister, K; Kucharczyk, M; Dickenson, AH; (2017) Hopes for the Future of Pain Control. Pain and Therapy , 6 (2) pp. 117-128. 10.1007/s40122-017-0073-6. Green open access

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Here we aim to present an accessible review of the pharmacological targets for pain management, and succinctly discuss the newest trends in pain therapy. A key task for current pain pharmacotherapy is the identification of receptors and channels orchestrating nociception. Notwithstanding peripheral alterations in the receptors and channels following pathophysiological events, the modulatory mechanisms in the central nervous system are also fundamental to the regulation of pain perception. Bridging preclinical and clinical studies of peripheral and central components of pain modulation, we present the different types of pain and relate these to pharmacological interventions. We firstly highlight the roles of several peripheral nociceptors, such as NGF, CGRP, sodium channels, and TRP-family channels that may become novel targets for therapies. In the central nervous system, the roles of calcium channels and gabapentinoids as well as NMDA receptors in generating excitability are covered including ideas on central sensitization. We then turn to central modulatory systems and discuss opioids and monoamines. We aim to explain the importance of central sensitization and the dialogue of the spinal circuits with the brain descending modulatory controls before discussing a mechanism-based effectiveness of antidepressants in pain therapy and their potential to modulate the descending controls. Emphasizing the roles of conditioned pain modulation and its animal's equivalent, diffuse noxious inhibitory controls, we discuss these unique descending modulations as a potential tool for understanding mechanisms in patients suffering from pain. Mechanism-based therapy is the key to picking the correct treatments and recent clinical studies using sensory symptoms of patients as surrogates for underlying mechanisms can be used to subgroup patients and reveal actions of drugs that may be lost when studying heterogenous groups of patients. Key advances in the understanding of basic pain principles will impact our thinking about therapy targets. The complexity of pain syndromes will require tailored pharmacological drugs, often in combination or through drugs with more than one action, and often psychotherapy, to fully control pain.

Type: Article
Title: Hopes for the Future of Pain Control
Location: New Zealand
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s40122-017-0073-6
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40122-017-0073-6
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2017. Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-nc/4.0/), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Analgesia, Anti-depressants, Central sensitization, Descending controls, Pain mechanisms, Pregabalin
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1558458
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