Sudden amnesia resulting in pain relief: The relationship between memory and pain.

Choi D, Choi D, Wittington R, Nedeljkovic S.

This study describes the pain experiences and treatment of two patients suffering from chronic pain who were heavily relient on analgesia who developed sudden amnesia resulting in a reduction in medication reqested and required.

One patient was requiring the constant use of mophine as well as other analgesics. After a series of seizures and an episode of status epilepticus the patient had a change in metal status. The patient was weaned from all opiods over a period of three days. The patient was found to have significant shorter term memory loss and no longer complained of abdominal pain. The patient described now lives at home in a stable condition and now only suffers from memory loss of her period in hospital and suffers from only minimal pain symptoms (1-2 on an 11 point scale which is not defined).

The second patient was also on high level of pain medication when he underwent a partial memory loss which resulted in reduced pain levels and use of analgesia. Eight months later the patient suffered from a profound level of memory loss for which he required placement in a nursing home. However he no longer reported any of his pain symptoms. Over a period of two years he gradually regained patial memory and his pain symptoms began to return however the patient continued to not require opiod therapy.

This article further discusses the use of electroconvulsive therapy and its possibiltity of use in chronic pain. With the authors postulating that this controvesal treatment could have an effect on reported pain in chronic pain patients.

Pain 132 (2007) 206-210

Link to abstract