Refractory Pain Management in Amyloid-Associated Peripheral Neuropathy

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Abstract

Objective

Systemic amyloidosis is a disease that often involves multiple organ systems, including the peripheral nervous system. Patients may present with severe, refractory neuropathic pain; however, the optimal treatment approach for pain for these patients remains unclear.

Case Report

A man with severe, refractory neuropathic pain in his bilateral upper and lower extremities and the trunk secondary to amyloid neuropathy is presented. Multiple medication trials, including neuropathic and opioid agents, produced considerable adverse effects and minimal relief. Scrambler therapy, a novel electrical stimulation modality, was used and was associated with substantial short-term but nonsustained benefit. Spinal cord stimulation was considered, but given his diffuse symptoms, it was deemed a less-than-optimal approach. Ultimately, an intrathecal drug delivery system was placed with infusion of hydromorphone, resulting in substantial pain reduction in all involved areas and with an improved adverse effect profile. This intervention resulted in immense improvement in the patient's quality of life, despite progression of his systemic amyloidosis.

Conclusions

Severe pain in the setting of amyloid neuropathy is often difficult to treat. To our knowledge, this represents the first report of Scrambler therapy or an implanted intrathecal drug delivery system used for a patient with refractory amyloidosis-related neuropathic pain, resulting in substantial analgesic benefit and improved quality of life.

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