Current Issue - May/June 2024 - Vol 27 Issue 4


  1. 2024;27;203-212Short-Term Supraorbital Nerve Stimulation and Pain Relief for Acute and Subacute Ophthalmic Herpetic Neuralgia: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial
    Randomized Controlled Trial
    Yan Liu, MD, Han Yan, BS, Chengfu Wan, PhD, Qi Xi, PhD, Ming Huang, PhD, Yanwei Wang, BS, Liang Qi, BS, Jingmei Zhang, BS, and Song Tao, PhD.

BACKGROUND: Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) is a kind of refractory disease, and treating it is important for preventing postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). But the evidence surrounding the current treatment options for these conditions is controversial, so exploring reasonable clinical treatment strategies for HZO is necessary. Neuromodulation is an excellent modality for the treatment of various neuropathic pain conditions. This trial was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of short-term supraorbital nerve stimulation (SNS) and the supraorbital nerve block (SNB) for HZO.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether short-term SNS relieves acute and subacute ophthalmic herpetic neuralgia.

STUDY DESIGN: This prospective randomized controlled crossover trial compared short-term SNS to SNB.

Setting: The operating room of a pain clinic.

METHODS: Patients with acute or subacute ophthalmic herpetic neuralgia were recruited. The patients were randomly assigned to receive either SNS or SNB. The primary outcome being measured was each patient’s Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score at 4 weeks. The secondary outcomes under measurement were the proportion of patients who achieved >= 50% pain relief, sleep quality, medicine consumption, and adverse events. Crossover after 4 weeks was permitted, and patients were followed up to 12 weeks.

RESULTS: Overall, 50 patients were included (n = 25/group). At 4 weeks, the patients who received SNS achieved greater pain relief, as indicated by their significantly different VAS scores from those of the SNB group (mean difference: -1.4 [95% CI, -2.29 to -0.51], P < 0.05). Both groups showed a significant decrease in pain level from the baseline (all P < 0.05). Overall, 72% and 44% of the SNS and SNB patients experienced >= 50% pain relief, respectively (OR: 0.31 [95% CI, 0.09 to 0.99], P < 0.05), and 68% and 32% of SNS and SNB patients, respectively, had VAS scores < 3 (OR: 0.22 [95% CI, 0.07 to 0.73], P < 0.05). Compared to the SNB group, the SNS group had better sleep quality, lower ophthalmic neuralgia, a lower proportion of further treatment, and lower analgesic intake. Overall, 18 patients received SNS alone, and 16 patients crossed over from SNB to SNS. The VAS scores, sleep quality, ophthalmic neuralgia, and trend of medicine intake were not significantly different between the groups (all P > 0.05). No serious complications occurred.

LIMITATIONS: This study was nonblind.

CONCLUSIONS: Short-term SNS is effective for controlling acute or subacute ophthalmic herpetic neuralgia. Combining SNS with SNB yields no additional benefits.

KEY WORDS: Herpes zoster ophthalmicus, postherpetic neuralgia, ophthalmic herpetic neuralgia, supraorbital nerve, neuromodulation, peripheral nerve stimulation, supraorbital nerve stimulation, supraorbital nerve block