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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Morphine for chronic neuropathic pain in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (91st percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (82nd percentile)

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69 X users
1 Facebook page
3 Wikipedia pages


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486 Mendeley
Morphine for chronic neuropathic pain in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011669.pub2
Pubmed ID

Tess E Cooper, Junqiao Chen, Philip J Wiffen, Sheena Derry, Daniel B Carr, Dominic Aldington, Peter Cole, R Andrew Moore


Neuropathic pain, which is caused by a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system, may be central or peripheral in origin. Neuropathic pain often includes symptoms such as burning or shooting sensations, abnormal sensitivity to normally painless stimuli, or an increased sensitivity to normally painful stimuli. Neuropathic pain is a common symptom in many diseases of the nervous system. Opioid drugs, including morphine, are commonly used to treat neuropathic pain. Most reviews have examined all opioids together. This review sought evidence specifically for morphine; other opioids are considered in separate reviews. To assess the analgesic efficacy and adverse events of morphine for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, and Embase for randomised controlled trials from inception to February 2017. We also searched the reference lists of retrieved studies and reviews, and online clinical trial registries. We included randomised, double-blind trials of two weeks' duration or longer, comparing morphine (any route of administration) with placebo or another active treatment for neuropathic pain, with participant-reported pain assessment. Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed trial quality and potential bias. Primary outcomes were participants with substantial pain relief (at least 50% pain relief over baseline or very much improved on Patient Global Impression of Change scale (PGIC)), or moderate pain relief (at least 30% pain relief over baseline or much or very much improved on PGIC). Where pooled analysis was possible, we used dichotomous data to calculate risk ratio (RR) and number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNT) or harmful outcome (NNH). We assessed the quality of the evidence using GRADE and created 'Summary of findings' tables. We identified five randomised, double-blind, cross-over studies with treatment periods of four to seven weeks, involving 236 participants in suitably characterised neuropathic pain; 152 (64%) participants completed all treatment periods. Oral morphine was titrated to maximum daily doses of 90 mg to 180 mg or the maximum tolerated dose, and then maintained for the remainder of the study. Participants had experienced moderate or severe neuropathic pain for at least three months. Included studies involved people with painful diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia criteria, phantom limb or postamputation pain, and lumbar radiculopathy. Exclusions were typically people with other significant comorbidity or pain from other causes.Overall, we judged the studies to be at low risk of bias, but there were concerns over small study size and the imputation method used for participants who withdrew from the studies, both of which could lead to overestimation of treatment benefits and underestimation of harm.There was insufficient or no evidence for the primary outcomes of interest for efficacy or harm. Four studies reported an approximation of moderate pain improvement (any pain-related outcome indicating some improvement) comparing morphine with placebo in different types of neuropathic pain. We pooled these data in an exploratory analysis. Moderate improvement was experienced by 63% (87/138) of participants with morphine and 36% (45/125) with placebo; the risk difference (RD) was 0.27 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.16 to 0.38, fixed-effects analysis) and the NNT 3.7 (2.6 to 6.5). We assessed the quality of the evidence as very low because of the small number of events; available information did not provide a reliable indication of the likely effect, and the likelihood that the effect will be substantially different was very high. A similar exploratory analysis for substantial pain relief on three studies (177 participants) showed no difference between morphine and placebo.All-cause withdrawals in four studies occurred in 16% (24/152) of participants with morphine and 12% (16/137) with placebo. The RD was 0.04 (-0.04 to 0.12, random-effects analysis). Adverse events were inconsistently reported, more common with morphine than with placebo, and typical of opioids. There were two serious adverse events, one with morphine, and one with a combination of morphine and nortriptyline. No deaths were reported. These outcomes were assessed as very low quality because of the limited number of participants and events. There was insufficient evidence to support or refute the suggestion that morphine has any efficacy in any neuropathic pain condition.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 69 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 486 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 486 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 79 16%
Student > Bachelor 60 12%
Student > Ph. D. Student 42 9%
Researcher 38 8%
Other 34 7%
Other 62 13%
Unknown 171 35%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 142 29%
Nursing and Health Professions 59 12%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 18 4%
Neuroscience 17 3%
Psychology 15 3%
Other 46 9%
Unknown 189 39%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 55. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 December 2022.
All research outputs
of 25,390,692 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,521 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 313,592 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 245 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,390,692 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,521 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 37.2. This one has done well, scoring higher than 87% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 313,592 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 245 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 82% of its contemporaries.