Lack of Evidence for Treating Chronic Pain in Children

Evidence from 23 reviews could not be combined in meta-analysis; quality of evidence low

WEDNESDAY, July 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- There is a lack of evidence on the efficacy and safety of pharmacological treatments for chronic pain in children, according to research published online June 19 in PAIN.

Christopher Eccleston, Ph.D., from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted an overview review of systematic reviews of pharmacologic interventions that aim to reduce pain in children aged 0 to 18 years with chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) or chronic cancer-related pain (CCRP). Data were included from 23 systematic reviews investigating children with CNCP or CCRP.

The researchers found that seven of the 23 reviews included six trials involving children with CNCP. No randomized controlled trials were identified in reviews relating to pain reduction in CCRP. The data could not be combined in a meta-analysis. The quality of evidence was low overall, inspiring little confidence in the effect estimates.

"More than ever before, we need to better understand the barriers to evidence production in childhood chronic pain, improve the classification and assessment of chronic pain, integrate clinical trials as part of routine clinical care, explore alternative randomized controlled trial methods, and urgently establish the case for national or transnational registries of patients treated for chronic pain, with a primary focus on analgesic medicines, benefits, harms, and harm reduction," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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