Validation and reliability of the Neuropathic Pain Scale (NPS) in multiple sclerosis

DJ  Rog, TJ Nurmikko, T Friede, CA Young

The objective of this UK-based study was to validate the Neuropathic Pain Scale (NPS) in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with central pain conditions of more than 6 months duration.    The NPS tool, developed to assess the quantitative and qualitative aspects of neuropathic pain, was administered to 141 patients with MS, together with the Short Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SFMPQ), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36).  The NPS showed a high degree of internal consistency.

Scores of the 10 NPS descriptors correlated with the SFMPQ 15-item total score, its Visual Analog Scale, the transformed Pain domain of the SF-36, but not with its remaining seven health domains, or with either the HADS anxiety or the depression scores. The authors also assessed the short and long-term test or re-test reliability which was good.  The authors concluded that the NPS is a useful tool in the assessment of neuropathic pain in MS patients which is largely free of floor or ceiling effects, and that it could be administered postally and in hospital.  Whilst it may be useful in  measuring outcomes of therapeutic interventions, further work is required to assess its responsiveness to clinically significant changes in central pain.

Clinical Journal of Pain, 2007, 23(6), 473-81

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