Pain and Multiple Sclerosis: Pathophysiology and Treatment

  • Claudio SolaroEmail author
  • Erika Trabucco
  • Michele Messmer Uccelli
Demyelinating Disorders (DN Bourdette and V Yadav, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Demyelinating Disorders


Pain is a common symptom in multiple sclerosis (MS) and has recently been estimated to be experienced by up to 75 % of patients. Pain can be present at any point in the course of the disease and patients may experience pain from various causes simultaneously. Pain in MS can also be secondary to other symptoms, such as spasticity, fatigue, and mood disorder. Of all drug use to treat MS symptoms, treatment for pain accounts for nearly 30 % of total use. At the same time, patients report low satisfaction with pain management. Pain affects quality of life and can influence a person’s participation in family life and work and affect mood. Most of the pain literature in the field of MS is based on open-label studies involving small numbers of subjects. Placebo-controlled trials in severe pain syndromes such as trigeminal neuralgia are unethical but for other types of MS-related pain conditions, placebo-controlled trials are ethical and necessary to establish efficacy, particularly given the well-documented placebo effect for various painful conditions This review discusses available data and emphasizes areas of pain research that require further attention


Antiepileptic drugs Baclofen Cannabinoids Carbamazepine Central pain Gabapentin Lamotrigine Levetiracetam Multiple sclerosis Neuropathic pain treatment Opioid analgesics Painful tonic spasms Pain treatment Pregabalin Topiramate Tricyclic antidepressants Trigeminal neuralgia treatment 



No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Solaro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erika Trabucco
    • 1
  • Michele Messmer Uccelli
    • 2
  1. 1.Head and Neck Department, Neurology UnitASL 3 GenoveseGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Department of ResearchGenoaItaly

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