Neuropathic pain highly impacts quality of life, well-being and function. It has recently been shown based on cluster analysis studies that most patients with neuropathic pain may be categorized into one of three sensory phenotypes: sensory loss, mechanical hyperalgesia and thermal hyperalgesia. If these phenotypes reflect underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, they may be more relevant for patient management than underlying neurological diagnosis or pain intensity. The aim of this study was thus to examine the impact of these sensory phenotypes on mental health, functionality and quality of life.
Data of 433 patients from the IMI/EuroPain network database were analyzed and results of HADS-D/A, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, EQ-5D/-VAS, Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and Graded Chronic Pain Scale (GCPS) between the sensory phenotypes compared using multiple regression analysis.
There was no difference in chronic pain grade, pain intensity, depression or anxiety scores between phenotypes. Pain interference (BPI) was higher (p = 0.002), self-reported health state lower (EQ-5D VAS, p = 0.02) and problems regarding mobility (p = 0.008), usual activities (p = 0.004) and self-care (p = 0.039) more prominent (EQ5-D) in the sensory loss compared to the thermal hyperalgesia phenotype. Patients with sensory loss also showed higher pain catastrophizing scores (p = 0.006 and 0.022 resp.) compared with the two other groups.
Sensory phenotype is associated with the impact of neuropathic pain conditions on well-being, daily functionality and quality of life, but is less associated with pain intensity. These results suggest that the somatosensory phenotype should be considered for personalized pain management.