Lidocaine continuous subcutaneous infusion (L-CSCI) for neuropathic pain in hospice patients has limited evidence for its safety and efficacy, and guidelines are lacking. This study assesses a series of patients admitted to a hospice over a six-month period that had neuropathic pain and received L-CSCI. The primary outcome was improvement in patient-rated distress from pain following L-CSCI titration. Also assessed were changes in oral morphine equivalent dose (OME), frequency of breakthrough medication, functional status, adverse effects and perception of response. Fifteen patients received L-CSCI for an average of 6.7 days (range 1-92). Average pain distress score decreased by 2 or more in six patients. Positive responses to L-CSCI were documented in the clinical notes of 10 patients. Opioid down-titration occurred in four patients. Lidocaine levels were performed in 3 patients but did not change management. Five patients experienced adverse effects attributable to lidocaine and all responded to simple measures. In conclusion, L-CSCI can help manage neuropathic pain in hospice patients, particularly in those who cannot swallow oral medications. Further systematic research is warranted to establish efficacy and tolerability, and to inform guideline development.
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