Special Issue "New Advances in Pharmacological Targets for Pain"

A special issue of Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Kim Lawson

Department of Biosciences and Chemistry, Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: fibromyalgia; pain; potassium channels; drug design/discovery
Co-Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jan Keppel Hesselink

1. Institute Neuropathic Pain, Bosch en Duin, The Netherlands
2. Department of Health, University Witten/Herdecke, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: neuropathic pain; topical treatment; drug discovery; drug repositioning; targets; pharmacology; autacoids; pathogenesis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

Pain is the most common presenting physical symptom in medicine and accounts for a substantial burden to patients and healthcare. Current therapeutic approaches for pain, particularly chronic pain, often do not provide adequate relief and many therapeutic targets are often liable to various central side effects. As new ideas for analgesic drug design are urgently needed several potential targets for drug discovery with mechanisms, receptors, ion channels and enzymes, that are involved in the development and/or maintenance of pain have been identified and investigated in preclinical research. The range of proteins, cells and genetic changes involved in nociceptive signalling suggests targeting multiple events could help to determine the combination of drugs that yield effective analgesia for specific clinical conditions and diverse patients. Authors are invited to submit original and review articles of preclinical and clinical findings contributing to the understanding of novel drug targets and therapies for the treatment of pain to be published in this Special Issue of Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Kim Lawson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pharmaceuticals is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • pain
  • drug targets
  • pharmacology
  • drug repurposing
  • ion channels
  • TRPV1
  • cannabinoids
  • opioids
  • antidepressants
  • gabapentinoids

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Phenytoin Cream for the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain: Case Series
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11020053
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (529 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
BACKGROUND: Neuropathic pain can be disabling, and is often difficult to treat. Within a year, over half of all patients stop taking their prescribed neuropathic pain medication, which is most probably due to side effects or disappointing analgesic results. Therefore, new therapies are [...] Read more.
BACKGROUND: Neuropathic pain can be disabling, and is often difficult to treat. Within a year, over half of all patients stop taking their prescribed neuropathic pain medication, which is most probably due to side effects or disappointing analgesic results. Therefore, new therapies are needed to alleviate neuropathic pain. As such, topical analgesics could be a new inroad in the treatment of neuropathic pain. In 2014, we developed a new topical formulation containing either phenytoin or sodium phenytoin. After optimization of the formulation, we were able to reach a 10% concentration and combine phenytoin with other co-analgesics in the same base cream. OBJECTIVE: To describe a series of 70 neuropathic pain patients who were treated with phenytoin cream. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Cases treated with phenytoin 5% or 10% creams were gathered. The mean onset of pain relief, the duration of effect, and reduction in pain intensity measured on the 11-point numerical rating scale (NRS) were all studied. A single-blind response test with phenytoin 10% and placebo creams was conducted on 12 patients in order to select responders prior to prescribing the active cream. Plasma phenytoin concentrations were measured in 16 patients. RESULTS: Nine patients applied phenytoin 5% cream, and 61 patients used phenytoin 10% cream. After grouping the effects of all of the patients, the mean onset of pain relief was 16.3 min (SD: 14.8), the mean duration of analgesia was 8.1 h (SD: 9.1), and the mean pain reduction on the NRS was 61.2% (SD: 25.0). The mean pain reduction on the NRS while using phenytoin cream was statistically significant compared with the baseline, with a reduction of 4.5 (CI: 4.0 to 5.0, p < 0.01). The 12 patients on whom a single-blind response test was performed experienced a statistically significant reduction in pain in the area where the phenytoin 10% cream was applied in comparison to the area where the placebo cream was applied (p < 0.01). Thirty minutes after the test application, the mean pain reduction on the NRS in the areas where the phenytoin 10% cream and the placebo cream were applied was 3.3 (CI: 2.3 to 4.4, p < 0.01) and 1.1 (CI: 0.4 to 1.9, p < 0.05), respectively. In all 16 patients, the phenytoin plasma levels were below the limit of detection. So far, no systemic side effects were reported. Two patients only reported local side effects: a transient burning aggravation and skin rash. CONCLUSION: In this case series, the phenytoin cream had reduced neuropathic pain considerably, with a fast onset of analgesic effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Pharmacological Targets for Pain)

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