Contemporary approaches to classification of chronic pain conditions suffer from the absence of a systematically implemented and evidence-based taxonomy. Moreover, existing diagnostic approaches typically fail to incorporate available knowledge regarding the biopsychosocial mechanisms contributing to pain conditions. To address these gaps, the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations Innovations Opportunities and Networks (ACTTION) public-private partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Pain Society (APS) have joined together to develop an evidence-based chronic pain classification system called the ACTTION-APS Pain Taxonomy. This paper describes the outcome of an ACTTION-APS consensus meeting, at which experts came to an agreement on a structure for this new taxonomy of chronic pain conditions. Several major issues around which discussion revolved are presented and summarized, and the structure of the taxonomy is presented. ACTTION-APS Pain Taxonomy will include the following dimensions: 1) core diagnostic criteria; 2) common features; 3) common medical comorbidities; 4) neurobiological, psychosocial, and functional consequences; and 5) putative neurobiological and psychosocial mechanisms, risk factors, and protective factors. In coming months, expert working groups will apply this taxonomy to clusters of chronic pain conditions, and in so doing develop a set of diagnostic criteria that have been consistently and systematically implemented across nearly all common chronic pain conditions. It is expected that the availability of this evidence-based and mechanistic approach to pain classification will be of substantial benefit to chronic pain research and treatment.
The ACTTION-APS Pain Taxonomy is an evidence-based chronic pain classification system designed to classify chronic pain along these parameters: 1) core diagnostic criteria; 2) common features; 3) common medical comorbidities; 4) neurobiological, psychosocial, and functional consequences; and 5) putative neurobiological and psychosocial mechanisms, risk factors, and protective factors.