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Allodynia is a common and disabling symptom in many patients with neuropathic pain. Whereas quantification of pain mostly depends on subjective pain reports, allodynia can also be measured objectively with quantitative sensory testing. In this pilot study, we investigated the clinical relevance of quantitative sensory testing with Von Frey monofilaments in patients with allodynia as a consequence of a neuropathic pain syndrome, by means of correlating subjective pain scores with pain thresholds obtained with quantitative sensory testing.
During a 4-week trial, we administered a cannabis extract to 17 patients with allodynia. We quantified the severity of the allodynia with Von Frey monofilaments before, during and after the patients finished the trial. We also asked the patients to rate their pain on a numeric rating scale at these three moments.
We found that most of the effect of the cannabis occurred in the last 2 weeks of the trial. In this phase, we observed that the pain thresholds, as measured with Von Frey monofilaments, were inversely correlated with a decrease of the perceived pain intensity.
These preliminary findings indicate clinical relevance of quantitative sensory testing with Von Frey monofilaments in the quantification of allodynia in patients with neuropathic pain, although confirmation of our data is still required in further studies to position this method of quantitative sensory testing as a valuable tool, for example, in the evaluation of therapeutic interventions for neuropathic pain.
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