Hi everyone, my name is Mia and I am a 4th year neuroscience student. For my summer project, I conducted a scoping review on the pharmacological interventions for opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH). This means that I was searching the existing scientific literature for how increased pain sensitivity after opioid use could be prevented.
At the start of my project, I spent a lot of time identifying a suitable research question about OIH and refining my database searches. Once I figured out that I wanted to focus on the pharmacological interventions and that I needed to find all the relevant randomised controlled trials (RCTs), the work started to have a clear direction. Through the database searches, I identified 381 potentially relevant articles of which 35 were eligible for the review. These RCTs supported the use of 16 different interventions including ketamine, dexmedetomidine and flurbiprofen axetil. My other important findings included that most of the research was carried out using remifentanil as the hyperalgesia-inducing agent and that most of the subjects were postoperative patients or healthy volunteers.
Above you can see a table of the successful interventions classified by their mechanism of action. And it seemed fitting to add a picture of the library as I spent several weeks there working on my project!
This project gave me the chance to work as an independent researcher for the first time. I loved having the freedom to explore what I find fascinating and important. I was also able to learn new skills at my own pace and to stretch my abilities as far as possible. When I felt stuck, I could drop in for a conversation with my supervisor Professor Patrice Forget and get expert advice on the topic. Completing this review is a big milestone for me as it is my first project towards my career as a pain researcher. Currently, I am working towards getting my review article published and I am waiting to continue the research in my dissertation. My plan is to conduct a network meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions for remifentanil-induced hyperalgesia and to build an intervention guideline to help clinicians make evidence-based decisions.