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Treatment Modalities for Post-Mastectomy Pain Syndrome

Inside potential oral, topical and surgical applications

A PPM Brief

A recent paper on post-mastectomy pain syndrome (PMPS) reviewed the efficacy of antidepressants, anti-epileptics, topical capsaicin, and autologous fat grafting on patients experiencing pain after breast cancer surgery.

Using published data from February-April 2014, researchers found that tricyclic antidepressants, including amitriptyline and venlafaxine, have been shown effective in treating PMPS as well as in general neuropathic pain. Anti-epileptics such as levetiractam did not seem to benefit PMPS symptoms according to the literature. Topical application of capsaicin has been associated with adverse burning sensation among subjects, thus flawing some studies, reported the researchers. A high-concentration capsaicin skin patch, however, was shown to offer potential pain reduction for post-mastectomy patients as well as those with post-herpetic neuralgia. With regard to surgical treatment, fat injection has demonstrated some reduction of pain caused by scarring and tissue regeneration.

The authors pointed out that, as a result of study limitations found in the overall literature from the time period examined, larger studies of higher quality are needed to make definitive conclusions about these modalities. However, there seems to be a promise of pain relief for post-mastectomy pain syndrome patients on the horizon.

Last updated on: February 2, 2018
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