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Minocycline for Controlling Neuropathic Pain: A Systematic Narrative Review of Studies in Humans

Authors Shin DA, Kim TU, Chang MC

Received 18 November 2020

Accepted for publication 13 January 2021

Published 26 January 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 139—145


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael A Überall

Dong Ah Shin,1 Tae Uk Kim,2 Min Cheol Chang3

1Department of Neurosurgery, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea; 3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, Taegu, Republic of Korea

Correspondence: Min Cheol Chang
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, 317-1, Daemyungdong, Namku, Taegu 705-717, Republic of Korea
Tel +82-53-620-4682

Objective: Minocycline is known to reduce microglial activation, suggesting that it may reduce neuropathic pain. We reviewed studies in humans that evaluated the effectiveness of minocycline in alleviating neuropathic pain.
Methods: We searched the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane library, and SCOPUS databases for papers published before January 06, 2021, using the search words minocycline and pain. The inclusion criteria for the selection of articles were (1) minocycline administered to humans and (2) minocycline administered to control neuropathic pain.
Results: The primary literature search yielded 2299 relevant papers. Based on the assessment of the titles, abstracts, and full-text, nine publications were selected for this review. Only four of the nine studies showed a positive pain-reducing outcome after minocycline administration. Two of the three studies on chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain showed a positive pain-reducing effect. Minocycline was effective in controlling pain from diabetic and leprotic neuropathies. However, minocycline was not effective in controlling lumbar radicular pain and pain resolution after carpal tunnel release.
Conclusion: Our review provides evidence that minocycline may have some potential for reducing neuropathic pain. Further high-quality studies need to be conducted to validate this potential.

Keywords: minocycline, microglia, neuropathic pain, pain, review

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