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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Venlafaxine for neuropathic pain in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2015
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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 (94th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (79th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
1 policy source
43 X users
2 Facebook pages
2 Wikipedia pages


103 Dimensions

Readers on

387 Mendeley
Venlafaxine for neuropathic pain in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011091.pub2
Pubmed ID

Helen C Gallagher, Ruth M Gallagher, Michelle Butler, Donal J Buggy, Martin C Henman


Neuropathic pain, which is caused by nerve damage, is increasing in prevalence worldwide. This may reflect improved diagnosis, or it may be due to increased incidence of diabetes-associated neuropathy, linked to increasing levels of obesity. Other types of neuropathic pain include post-herpetic neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, and neuralgia caused by chemotherapy. Antidepressant drugs are sometimes used to treat neuropathic pain; however, their analgesic efficacy is unclear. A previous Cochrane review that included all antidepressants for neuropathic pain is being replaced by new reviews of individual drugs examining chronic neuropathic pain in the first instance. Venlafaxine is a reasonably well-tolerated antidepressant and is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and weak noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor. Although not licensed for the treatment of chronic or neuropathic pain in most countries, it is sometimes used for this indication. To assess the analgesic efficacy of, and the adverse effects associated with the clinical use of, venlafaxine for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) via The Cochrane Library, and MEDLINE and EMBASE via Ovid up to 14 August 2014. We reviewed the bibliographies of any randomised trials identified and review articles, contacted authors of one excluded study and searched www.clinicaltrials.gov to identify additional published or unpublished data. We also searched the meta-Register of controlled trials (mRCT) (www.controlled-trials.com/mrct) and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (apps.who.int/trialsearch/) for ongoing trials but did not find any relevant trials. We included randomised, double-blind studies of at least two weeks' duration comparing venlafaxine with either placebo or another active treatment in chronic neuropathic pain in adults. All participants were aged 18 years or over and all included studies had at least 10 participants per treatment arm. We only included studies with full journal publication. Three review authors independently extracted data using a standard form and assessed study quality. We intend to analyse data in three tiers of evidence as described by Hearn 2014, but did not find any first-tier evidence (ie evidence meeting current best standards, with minimal risk of bias) or second-tier evidence, that was considered at some risk of bias but with adequate participant numbers (at least 200 in the comparison). Third-tier evidence is that arising from studies with small numbers of participants; studies of short duration, studies that are likely to be of limited clinical utility due to other limitations, including selection bias and attrition bias; or a combination of these. We found six randomised, double-blind trials of at least two weeks' duration eligible for inclusion. These trials included 460 participants with neuropathic pain, with most participants having painful diabetic neuropathy. Four studies were of cross-over design and two were parallel trials. Only one trial was both parallel design and placebo-controlled. Mean age of participants ranged from 48 to 59 years. In three studies (Forssell 2004, Jia 2006 and Tasmuth 2002), only mean data were reported. Comparators included placebo, imipramine, and carbamazepine and duration of treatment ranged from two to eight weeks. The risk of bias was considerable overall in the review, especially due to the small size of most studies and due to attrition bias. Four of the six studies reported some positive benefit for venlafaxine. In the largest study by Rowbotham, 2004, 56% of participants receiving venlafaxine 150 to 225 mg achieved at least a 50% reduction in pain intensity versus 34% of participants in the placebo group and the number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome was 4.5. However, this study was subject to significant selection bias. Known adverse effects of venlafaxine, including somnolence, dizziness, and mild gastrointestinal problems, were reported in all studies but were not particularly problematic and, overall, adverse effects were equally prominent in placebo or other active comparator groups. We found little compelling evidence to support the use of venlafaxine in neuropathic pain. While there was some third-tier evidence of benefit, this arose from studies that had methodological limitations and considerable risk of bias. Placebo effects were notably strong in several studies. Given that effective drug treatments for neuropathic pain are in current use, there is no evidence to revise prescribing guidelines to promote the use of venlafaxine in neuropathic pain. Although venlafaxine was generally reasonably well tolerated, there was some evidence that it can precipitate fatigue, somnolence, nausea, and dizziness in a minority of people.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 43 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 387 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Canada 2 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Japan 1 <1%
Unknown 383 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 72 19%
Student > Bachelor 53 14%
Researcher 35 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 30 8%
Other 24 6%
Other 70 18%
Unknown 103 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 135 35%
Nursing and Health Professions 34 9%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 27 7%
Psychology 15 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 13 3%
Other 51 13%
Unknown 112 29%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 36. 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 28 June 2022.
All research outputs
of 23,972,269 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,817 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 270,152 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 281 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 23,972,269 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,817 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 33.8. This one has done well, scoring higher than 82% 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 270,152 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 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 281 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 79% of its contemporaries.