Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Der Internist
The causes for neuropathic pain are manifold and remain unexplained in the majority of cases. In recent years a growing number of pain syndromes have been attributed to mutations in genes encoding voltage-gated sodium channels. Hence, this group of rare diseases should be considered in the differential diagnostics of neuropathic pain. Evaluation of topic-related literature and discussion of own experiences as well as consideration of current guidelines. Alterations in the electrical excitability of nociceptive neurons by pathogenic mutations in sodium channels lead to disease patterns, such as small fiber neuropathy and various pain syndromes. This article summarizes the knowledge on these genetic diseases and discusses the differential diagnosis of neuropathic pain. Current treatment concepts are presented and the predominantly experimental approaches to targeted modulation of sodium channels are discussed. The treatment of patients with chronic neuropathic pain requires interdisciplinary cooperation and is often difficult due to an unsatisfactory treatment response. Increasing knowledge on rare genetically determined channelopathies can contribute to the development of novel pharmaceuticals since ion channels are central players in the processing of pain.