Coanalgesics for Chronic Pain Therapy:

A Narrative Review

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Matthew J. Bair, MD, MS and Tamara R. Sanderson, BS

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Postgraduate Medicine:

Volume 123 No. 6


Clinical Features

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DOI: 10.3810/pgm.2011.11.2504
Abstract: Chronic pain is inadequately treated in many patients, which has led clinicians and researchers to investigate new indications for existing medications with pain-relieving or adjuvant properties. These medications are known as coanalgesics. This review provides an evidence-based overview of select coanalgesics that are used in clinical practice for a variety of neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain disorders. The coanalgesics include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, topical agents, skeletal muscle relaxants, and antispasmodic agents. An update on emergent treatments and uses is also presented. The goals of this article are to highlight coanalgesic treatment options that are currently available for patients with chronic pain as well as provide guidelines for their use in clinical practice.

Keywords: coanalgesics; chronic pain; adjuvant analgesics; neuropathic pain; musculoskeletal pain; antidepressants