Occurrence and characterization of Pain in immune-mediated neuropathies: a multicentre prospective study


C. Pazzaglia, Institute of Neurology, Catholic University, L.go F. Vito 1 00168, Rome, Italy (tel.: +39 06 3015 6623; fax: +39 06 3550 1909; e-mail: costanza.pazzaglia@rm.unicatt.it).


Background:  Pain is a common symptom of peripheral neuropathies that may severely affect patients’ Quality of Life. Pain questionnaires, based on verbal descriptors, are a useful way to investigate it.

Methods:  We performed a multicentre study through validated measures to characterize pain in a sample of consecutive patients affected by immune-mediated neuropathies.

Results:  Ninety-three patients were enrolled in 16 Italian centres. Based on the numeric rating scale, almost half of the patients complained of moderate pain and one-third of the patients severe pain. Overall, up to 50% of our patients with immune-mediated neuropathies complained of neuropathic pain. The most common neuropathic symptoms were paraesthesia/dysesthesia and superficial spontaneous pain. Surprisingly, also patients with neuropathies commonly thought to be painless (such as multifocal motor neuropathy) reported discomfort and painful symptoms.

Conclusions:  Pain questionnaires should be considered in the clinical evaluation of immune-mediated neuropathies, also when evaluating therapy efficacy, because they may provide clinicians with useful information on painful symptoms and patients’ quality of life.