American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

July 31, 2017

Don’t choose opioids or narcotics as the first choice of treatment for neuropathic pain.

Opioids and narcotics include drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl and others. Risks related to the use of these drugs include uncontrollable sleepiness and slow or stopped breathing. They are a leading cause of addiction and avoidable death. Opioids may be less risky when used for a short time after some surgeries or when used for pain related to deadly cancers. There are many effective, safer options for neuropathic pain.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The Professional Practice Committee (PPC) of the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) developed this list of recommendations. The PPC includes both neurologists and physical medicine and rehabilitation (PMR) physicians who come from varying practice settings and also includes the AANEM’s representatives to the American Medical Association (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology Panel and Relative Value Update Committee. The PPC members identified areas to be included on this list based on the greatest potential for overuse/misuse, quality improvement and availability of strong evidence-based research/support in the literature. The committee’s recommendations were discussed at an AANEM Board meeting that included chairs from AANEM committees. The PPC reviewed the feedback from this group and voted on the final Top Ten recommendations. These were then approved by the AANEM Board of Directors.

AANEM’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at


Scholten PM, Harden RN. Assessing and Treating Patients With Neuropathic Pain. PM R. 2015;7(11Suppl):S257-69.