Study Title:

Effects of Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) on Nociceptive, Musculoskeletal and Neuropathic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Evidence.

Study Abstract

Some 30−50% of the global population and almost 20% of the European population actually suffer from chronic pain, which presents a tremendous burden to society when this pain turns into a disability and hospitalization. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) has been demonstrated to improve pain in preclinical contexts, but an appraisal of clinical evidence is still lacking. The present study aimed at addressing the working hypothesis for the efficacy of PEA for nociceptive musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain in the clinical setting. The systematic search, selection and analysis were performed in agreement with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2020 recommendations. The primary outcome was pain reduction, as measured by a pain assessment scale. The secondary outcome was improvement in quality of life and/or of parameters of function. The results obtained for a total of 933 patients demonstrate the efficacy of PEA over the control (p < 0.00001), in particular in six studies apart from the two randomized, double-blind clinical trials included. However, the results are downgraded due to the high heterogeneity of the studies (I2 = 99%), and the funnel plot suggests publication bias. Efficacy in achieving a reduction in the need for rescue medications and improvement in functioning, neuropathic symptoms and quality of life are reported. Therefore, adequately powered randomized, double-blind clinical trials are needed to deepen the domains of efficacy of add-on therapy with PEA for chronic pain. PROSPERO registration: CRD42022314395.

Study Information

Pharmaceutics. 2022 Aug 11;14(8):1672. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14081672. PMID: 36015298; PMCID: PMC9414729.

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