Background and objective: The 5% lidocaine medicated plaster is a topical treatment for peripheral neuropathic pain symptoms (e.g. burning, shooting and stabbing pain) and is registered for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia. This study examined the efficacy and tolerability of long-term treatment with the 5% lidocaine medicated plaster in patients with localized neuropathic pain conditions.
Methods: Twenty patients with localized neuropathic pain [postoperative neuropathic pain (n = 14); complex regional pain syndrome (n = 2); and postherpetic neuralgia (n = 4)], who had been successfully treated with 5% lidocaine medicated plaster, were followed up by telephone interview after 3 and 5 years. Questions were related to the efficacy, development of tolerance, tolerability, wear time and comfort of the plaster.
Results: At 3 years, 10 out of 20 (50%) initial responders were still using the plasters with no decline in analgesic efficacy. After 5 years, eight of the original 20 responders (40%) maintained treatment and continued to experience effective pain relief. The 12 responders who discontinued treatment did so because they no longer required analgesic therapy (n = 4); their health insurer refused to fund treatment (n = 2); they were lost to follow-up (n = 1); or had died from an illness unrelated to plaster treatment (n = 5). No patient discontinued because of inadequate analgesia or intolerable side effects. Reversible erythema occurred in two patients wearing the plaster for more than 16 h. There were no systemic side effects.
Conclusion: The 5% lidocaine medicated plaster provides sustained pain relief over long-term treatment in patients with neuropathic pain of various causes and is well tolerated.